HOUSTON – The Houston Cougar Women’s Basketball team opened American Athletic Conference play with an 85-75 win over SMU, on Saturday, inside Moody Coliseum. With the victory, the Cougars improved to 12-3 on the season and 1-0 in American play.
Houston controlled the game from the start, opening the contest on a 7-0 run with a layup from Serithia Hawkins off the opening tipoff, and a 3-pointer from Jasmyne Harris. Myyah West capped the run with a layup of their own, before SMU found the scoreboard for the first time on a layup from Kiara Bradshaw.
Harris answered the SMU basket with another 3-pointer on the next possession, sparking another big run for the Cougars, giving Houston a 27-6 lead after the 20-4 spark. SMU knocked down a pair of free throws after the triple from Harris, but Hawkins added another three to push the lead to 13-4 with 8:05 to play. Over the run, Houston made 11 of their first 12 shots to open the game, including a 4-of-4 start (2-of-2 from beyond the arc) for Harris who finished the quarter with 16 points.
The Mustangs would crawl back late in the frame, after a 7-0 run cut the score to 27-13. Stephanie Collins and Dai’ja Thomas made back to back layups, before McKenzie Adams connected on a jumper and Thomas finished the spurt with a free throw. After another triple from Jasmyne Harris, SMU scored the final six points of the period and cut the score to 30-19 after one.
The Cougars connected on six three pointers in the opening period, including starting 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Houston held the Mustangs to just four field goal attempts in the first five minutes of play and forced seven turnovers in that span.
SMU worked the score back to single digits on the first possession of the second quarter, when Collins made a layup to cut the deficit to 30-21 with 9:24 remaining. Hawkins connected on another triple on the following possession to bump the lead back to 12, but a 9-3 run for the Mustangs pulled SMU to within six with 5:46 remaining at 36-30.
Houston had an answer for the Mustangs spark however, responding with an 8-0 run of their own, beginning with another 3-pointer from Hawkins. Dorian Branch followed Hawkins’ three with a triple of her own, and Jasmyne Harris capped the run with a layup at the 3:45 mark. The Cougars would hold SMU to just three points the remainder of the half and pulled away to a 50-33 lead at the intermission.
Each team’s defenses tightened up in the third quarter, in a frame that saw each squad shoot under 31 percent from the field. SMU pulled within 50-35 after a tip-in from Thomas to open the quarter, before Houston rattled off the next four points on a pair of free throws from West and a jumper from Branch to lead 54-35 with 7:44 left in the quarter.
After trading buckets over the next 1:30 of the game, Houston struck on another 7-0 spurt to take their first 20-point lead of the afternoon. After an Adams 3-pointer from SMU made the score 56-41, Octavia Barnes knocked down a pair of free throws, before Jasmyne Harris scored on a layup off a turnover and Angela Harris followed on the next possession with 3-pointer of her own to bring the score to 63-41 with 4:29 remaining in the period.
SMU would pull back within 18 after a pair of free throws and a bucket on the next two possessions, but the Cougars entered the final quarter with a 66-48 advantage.
The Mustangs would not go away however, and would use a 27-point fourth quarter to claw their way back into the game. Johnasia Cash opened the fourth with a jumper to make the lead 66-50, and on SMU’s next possession, Morgan Smith struck from three to cut the lead to 14 at 67-53.
The lead held steady for the Cougars throughout the middle of the frame, but with 2:33 left in the contest, SMU sparked an 8-0 run to pull the game back within single digits. The run kicked off with a layup from Cash and was followed by a jumper from Adams off a Houston turnover. After Kiara Perry knocked down a pair of free throws on SMU’s next possession, Adams capped the run with a basket with one minute remaining to bring the deficit 78-69.
From there, the contest would turn into a free throw battle, with the Cougars pulling out the 85-75 victory to open the conference season. Houston’s 85 points were the most the Cougars have scored in a conference game since joining the American Athletic Conference.
Score: Houston 85 (12-3, 1-0), SMU 75 (6-8, 0-1)
Date: Saturday, December 30, 2017
Location: Moody Coliseum | Dallas, Texas
Houston controlled the game from start to finish, scoring two seconds into the contest on a Serithia Hawkins layup and never relinquishing the lead.
Houston: Houston was led offensively by four players in double figures, including a game-high 27 points from Jasmyne Harris. Myyah West finished the contest with a career-high 16 points and paced the Cougars with six rebounds, while Angela Harris and Serithia Hawkins each scored 13 points.
SMU: The Mustangs had three players reach double figures in scoring, including a team-high 25 points from McKenzie Adams. Kiara Perry finished with 14 points, and a game-high eight rebounds, while Dai’ja Thomas scored 12.
NEWS AND NOTES
- With the win, the Cougars now have 12 victories on the season, matching their total from the 2016-17 season and matching the most for Head Coach Ronald Hughey in his tenure.
- The victory over SMU in the team’s American Conference opener gives the Cougars back-to-back victories to open league play after a 71-66 victory over Tulsa on Jan. 1, 2017.
- Houston’s 12-3 record, marks the best start since the 2004-05 team started 14-3 in a season that saw the Cougars make the NCAA Tournament.
- Sophomore Angela Harris knocked down three 3-point baskets in the contest, giving her 90 in her career and moving her to ninth on the all-time Houston 3-pointers made list, passing Tye Jackson (89; 2005-08).
- Harris also racked up four more steals in the game. The sophomore entered Saturday sixth in the NCAA in total steals (50) and 10th in steals per game (3.57).
- Junior Serithia Hawkins collected five rebounds in the game, giving her 585 in her career and moving her past Barbara Anderson (583; 1984-88) for 13th on the all-time Houston rebounding list.
- Houston forced the Mustangs to commit 27 turnovers in the game. The Cougars entered Saturday’s game forcing 23.56 turnovers per contest which ranks ninth in the nation and first in The American. The Cougars also ended the contest with 16 steals after entering ranked first in the conference with 12.7 steals per game.
- Houston scored 33 points off their 27 forced turnovers and also won the fast-break points battle 23-14.
- Junior Myyah West finished the game with a career-high 16 points.
- Houston’s 85 points is the most that the Cougars have scored in an American Athletic Conference game since joining the league in 2013-14.
- The home loss for the Mustangs is just the second defeat inside Moody Coliseum this season, and the fourth for SMU in Travis Mays’ two-year tenure.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
Houston returns to H&PE Arena for its American Athletic Conference home opener, when it welcomes the newest member of the league, Wichita State, to town. Tipoff against the Shockers is scheduled for 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
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.
Fans can receive daily information and in-game updates by following @UHCougarWBB on Twitter. Fans can also catch up with the latest news and notes on the team by clicking LIKE on the team's Facebook page at facebook.com/UHCougarWBB.