AMHERST, Mass. – For the second-consecutive day, the Houston Cougar Women’s Basketball team erased a double-digit deficit to come from behind and win, defeating Northeastern, 72-64, to wrap up the UMASS Thanksgiving Classic, on Saturday.
The Cougars started sluggish offensively, as Northeastern forced turnovers on the first four possessions of the game and built an early 4-0 lead. Houston had an answer however, to the tune of three, 3-point buckets from sophomore guard Angela Harris over the next five possessions to keep Houston in the contest at 11-9.
The Huskies pushed the lead back to four at 13-9 with a bucket from Claudia Ortiz with 4:33 remaining in the quarter, but Houston’s defense would lock down and propel the Cougars to a 6-0 run to claim the lead for the first time in the contest. After a Myyah West layup made the score 13-11, Houston picked up back-to-back steals and finishes by Harris and sophomore Dorian Branch to surge ahead.
The two squads traded buckets the remainder of the quarter, and the score sat tied at 21 apiece after one period. Houston and Northeastern each shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from the field in the opening frame, while Harris finished 4-of-4 from the floor and 3-of-3 from beyond the 3-point line.
Harris opened the second period with a layup to give Houston the lead at 23-21 just 13 seconds into the quarter. From there, the Huskies would clamp down on defense and hold the Cougars to just eight points for the remainder of the period.
With the game tied at 24 apiece, Northeastern opened up the game on the heels of a 9-0 run, which started with a Jess Genco 3-pointer with 8:28 to play. Genco pushed the lead to five with a jumper on the next possession, which was followed by a layup from Stella Clark. Gabby Giacone capped the run just 50 seconds later with a layup to make the score 33-24.
Northeastern would push the lead to their highest of the game at 12 points, when Ortiz struck again from beyond the 3-point line, making the score 38-26. The lead would stay at double digits until Serithia Hawkins’ jumper as time expired cut the lead to 40-31 heading into the locker room.
The Huskies pulled down eight offensive rebounds in the second quarter, leading to 10 second-chance points, to pull away through the first 20 minutes.
Houston’s defense came to life in the third quarter to help the Cougars claw their way back into the ballgame. Houston held the Huskies to just 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) shooting from the field and used an 8-0 run to cut into Northeastern’s lead.
Houston’s run began with a layup from West before Jasmyne Harris knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 44-39. After a missed 3-pointer from Ortiz, West worked her way to the rim again for another layup, before Hawkins capped the run with an offensive rebound and a putback to make the score 44-43 with 3:13 to play.
Northeastern picked up back-to-back buckets from Ortiz and Genco to push the margin back to six at 49-43, but the Cougars picked up a free throw and then a layup from Octavia Barnes, before Hawkins buried a 3-pointer as time expired to pull the Cougars even at 49 with 10 minutes to play.
Northeastern struck first in the final frame on a 3-pointer from Shannon Todd, but the Cougars answered on a layup by Dorian Branch. Stella Clark pushed the Huskies’ advantage back to four on a 3-pointer of her own to bring the score to 55-51, but two minutes later, Angela Harris made her fifth 3-pointer of the game to knot the score at 59.
Harris’ 3-pointer sparked a 9-0 run that would give the Cougars the lead for good at 65-59. Harris followed the trey with a layup, before Jasmyne Harris added a layup of her own. Angela Harris capped the run on a steal and a finish the other way to force a Northeastern timeout.
Northeastern cut the lead back to three on the next possession on a 3-pointer from Genco, but Houston scored seven of the next nine points, including a 5-of-6 stretch from the free throw line to seal the game 72-64.
Score: Houston 72 (4-2), Northeastern (3-3)
Date: Friday, Nov. 25, 2017
Location: Mullins Center (Amherst, Mass.) | UMASS Thanksgiving Classic
Houston changed the momentum in the second half by picking up the pressure defensively. The Cougars held Northeastern to 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Houston: Sophomore guard Angela Harris had a monster night for the Cougars, scoring a career-high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field including 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line. Jasmyne Harris added 17 points and six rebounds, while Dorian Branch finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Serithia Hawkins led the Cougars on the glass with eight rebounds.
Northeastern: The Huskies had five players finish in double figures including Claudia Ortiz who led the team with 15 points. Shannon Todd added 13 points, while Gabby Giacone tallied a double-double with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Jess Genco also added 12 points, while Stella Clark posted 10.
NEWS AND NOTES
- For the second-consecutive day, Houston came back from a double-digit deficit to win at the UMASS Thanksgiving Classic. Houston defeated Liberty after being down 11 points early in the first half on Friday, and the Cougars were the only 2-0 team in the tournament.
- Houston continued to be a force down low, outscoring the Huskies 38-28 in the points in the paint battle.
- With her eight rebounds, junior Serithia Hawkins moved into a tie for 18th on the all-time Houston rebounding list, matching Monica Lamb (1983-85) and Brittany Mason (2007-11) with 516.
- Seven of Hawkins’ rebounds came on the defensive end, giving her 318 in her career and passing Arlene Brown (316; 1987-91) and Brittany Mason (315; 2007-11) to move into 14th all-time.
- Angela Harris’ 25-point night gives her 405 points in her career.
- With six rebounds in the contest, Jasmyne Harris now has 200 boards in her career.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
Houston begins the final week of its month-long, season-opening road trip, with a matchup against Texas State, on Tuesday. Tipoff against the Bobcats is set for 7 p.m., in San Marcos, Texas.
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