HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Women’s Basketball team used a late 10-0 run in the final minutes of the contest to come from behind and beat George Mason 82-73 on Thursday, inside H&PE Arena.
Houston struck first on a 3-pointer from sophomore Dorian Branch just 24 seconds into the contest, and after the Cougars forced back-to-back turnovers, they grabbed a 5-0 lead on a jumper from junior Myyah West.
The Patriots would work the score back to even at 7-7, thanks to seven straight points from senior center Natalie Butler, but the Cougars would spark a 10-2 run over the next 1:34 to take a 17-9 advantage. The run started with a jumper from West and was followed by a 3-pointer from sophomore Angela Harris. The Cougars then forced a turnover which led to a Jasmyne Harris layup, and after Butler picked up another basket, Angela Harris capped the run with another triple.
The Cougars pushed the lead to double digits for the first time on a 3-point play from Serithia Hawkins, that put Houston on top 21-11 with 3:55 remaining in the quarter, but George Mason would score seven of the last 11 points in the quarter to pull within six at 22-16 after one.
Houston shot 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from the field in the opening period, and forced 11 George Mason turnovers which led to 13 points off turnovers.
George Mason was able to claw its way back into the contest in the second quarter, thanks to 15 points from Butler in the frame. Butler hit a layup to open the quarter and cut the lead to 24-20, but Houston responded with a 3-pointer from Jasmyne Harris and a steal and a finish the other way from Serithia Hawkins to bring the score to 29-20.
However, the Patriots would follow with a 17-6 run over the next seven minutes to take their first lead of the game. Jacy Bolton started the run with a 3-pointer at the 7:55 mark, and Butler followed with a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 29-25. After the teams traded buckets on the next few possessions, Butler again found the rim with 5:29 remaining to cut the deficit to 33-30.
After an Octavia Barnes jumper extended the lead back to five, George Mason picked up a free throw and back-to-back layups from Butler to tie the game with just 2:25 to play in the half. Just 43 seconds later, Camden Musgrave hit a bucket to give the Patriots their first advantage.
After Barnes tied it on the next possession, and Butler reclaimed the lead with a layup to follow, Branch connected on another 3-pointer to give Houston the lead back at 40-39. The Cougars closed the half with back-to-back buckets from Barnes and Angela Harris to take a 44-39 lead into the intermission.
The Patriots came out strong in the third quarter, scoring the first seven points of the half and reclaiming a 46-44 lead with 8:23 left in the third quarter. Sarah Kaminski opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, before Butler tied the game at 44 and Nicole Cardano-Hillary gave George Mason the lead.
The Cougars would grab the lead back with 7:19 left in the quarter on back-to-back baskets from West and Jasmyne Harris, but Bolton answered the Cougar flurry with a 3-pointer to give Mason a 49-48 advantage with seven minutes to play. However, the Cougars would hold the Patriots without a field goal for the next 6:48 and used a 7-3 to reclaim the lead and push it to four at 55-51 with 4:22 left.
George Mason would not score their next basket until 15 seconds remaining in the quarter, when Butler connected on a jumper, but the Cougars would take a 61-56 advantage into the fourth.
Barnes opened the fourth with a bucket to push the lead to seven at 63-56 with just 9:05 remaining in the game, but the Cougars would go cold over a stretch. George Mason used a pair of free throws from Butler and a layup from Cardano-Hillary to pull within three, 63-60, at the 8:03 mark.
The teams would trade points over the next two minutes, before a 5-0 run from George Mason gave the Patriots the lead with just 3:08 remaining. Cardano-Hillary connected on a layup and then found a pair from the free throw stripe to make the score 67-66, Houston, before Butler gave the team the lead after going 2-of-4 from the line on the next two possessions.
But the Cardiac Coogs would once again show grit down the stretch, and Barnes gave the team the lead 69-68 with 2:28 remaining, and sparked a 10-0 run that would blow the game open. Jasmyne Harris followed the Barnes basket with a 3-pointer before Hawkins made back-to-back buckets and picking up the and-1 conversion on the second to propel Houston to a 77-68 advantage with just 47 second remaining.
The teams would trade points the remainder of the way, before the Cougars closed the game 82-73.
Score: Houston 82 (10-3), George Mason 73 (10-3)
Date: Monday, December 21, 2017
Location: Houston, Texas | Houston, Texas
Facing a one-point deficit with just 3:08 remaining in the game, the Cougars didn’t panic, and they did what they’ve been doing all season. Houston clamped down on defense and used a 10-0 run over a 2:21 stretch, in which they forced a pair of turnovers and blocked a shot to claim the lead for good.
Houston: Houston had four players in double figures including Serithia Hawkins who tallied her second double-double of the season and 13th of her career after tying for the team high with 18 points and pulling down 14 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass. Angela Harris also finished the game with 18 points, while Jasmyne Harris added 15 and Octavia Barnes scored 13.
George Mason: Senior transfer Natalie Butler had a monster night for the Patriots, tallying game highs of 35 points and 19 rebounds. Nicole Cardano-Hillary added 14 points, while Jacy Bolton and Camden Musgrave scored 10 points each.
NEWS AND NOTES
- With the victory, Houston improved to 1-0 all-time against George Mason.
- The win over the Patriots give Houston its 10th win of the season, marking the best start since the 2004-05 team reached the same record in a season that saw the Cougars make the NCAA Tournament.
- The 10 wins also gives Houston its most non-conference wins in a single season since the 2003-04 team notched the feat.
- Junior Serithia Hawkins pulled down 14 rebounds in the game, giving her 575 in her career and moving her past Lesslee Mason (570; 2008-11) for 14th on the all-time list. Hawkins had 10 of her rebounds come on the offensive glass, giving her 225 in her career and moving her into 12th on the Houston offensive rebounds list, passing Nicole Oliver (223; 2000-04).
- Despite Natalie Butler’s presence in the paint, Houston won the points in the paint battle 40-30. The Cougars also claimed the points-off-turnovers battle 35-23 and the fast-break points advantage 16-2.
- The Cougars forced George Mason to commit 33 turnovers in the game, and came away with 14 steals. The Cougars entered the game first in the conference fourth in the NCAA in total steals with 149.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
Houston gets a week off to enjoy the Christmas holiday’s before returning to action for the final non-conference game of the season. The Cougars welcome Columbia to H&PE Arena on Thursday, Dec. 28, with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Houston will play its 2017-18 home games inside H&PE Arena on the campus of nearby Texas Southern University while renovations continue on the $60 million Fertitta Center.
For the best value to enjoy all 13 regular-season home games, fans can purchase a Shasta Pass for just $80. With the Shasta Pass, fans enjoy admission into every Women’s Basketball home game as well as remaining Volleyball and Soccer contests and Softball games in the spring.
Single game tickets are also available for games throughout the Women’s Basketball season, starting as low as $3 for general admission and $20 for reserved floor seats if purchases are made online before gameday. Ticket sales on gameday or walkup sales begin at $5 for general admission and $20 for reserved floor seats.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting UHCougars.com/tickets or by clicking HERE, or by calling the Houston Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS.
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