Cougars Look to Earn Signature Win at Rutgers
Jan. 2, 2014
HOUSTON--- The Cougars head east looking to get back on track, as they'll take on Rutgers for the first time in school history, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT inside the Rutgers Athletic Center.
There will be live video coverage available for Houston's game at Rutgers. To access video for the game visit scarletknights.com, click the women's basketball schedule page, then click the "Live Video" link to watch through RVision
There will be live audio streaming available for Houston's game at Rutgers. To access audio for the game visit www.UHCougars.com, click the women's basketball schedule page, then click the "audio" link to listen for free through stretch internet. Crawford Jones will have the play-by-play, while Derrick Fazendin will provide the color commentary
There will be live stats available for Houston's game at Rutgers. To access live stats for the game visit www.scarletknights.com, click the women's basketball schedule page then click the "GameTracker" link.
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Women's Basketball Ticket Information
Season tickets for the 2013-14 season are now on sale in the Athletics Ticket Office, starting as low as $100 for general admission seating. Season tickets for floor seating are available for only $250.
Fans can also purchase flex tickets, using all 15 tickets for one home game, one ticket for all 15 contests or any combination in between.
How to Order
To purchase season tickets, fans can call 713-Go-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online at UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links.
To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-GoUH or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information.
Fans are encouraged to purchase their season tickets early for the best seats in the house.
A Look at the Series...
Houston vs. Rutgers
Overall Record 0-0
Home Record 0-0
Away Record 0-0
Neutral Site Record 0-0
Longest Win Streak N/A
Longest Losing Streak N/A
Current Streak N/A
Record in Last 10 Meetings N/A
Series Notes: This will be the first all-time meeting between the two schools.
Scouting the Scarlet Knights
The Scarlet Knights enter this one red-hot, winners of six straight, with their only defeats coming at the hands of then No. 15/17 LSU and a close 64-63 loss to Massachusetts. Rutgers is 10-2 overall this season and currently sitting in third place in The American with a 1-0 mark after defeating USF in its conference opener, 66-53, on Dec. 28....Sophomore guard Kahleah Copper leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game. Rutgers boasts three more double-digit scorers in Betnjah Laney (13.1 ppg), Tyler Scaife (11.7 ppg), and Rachel Hollivay (10.5 ppg). In addition to being the team’s second-leading scorer, Laney is the club’s leading rebounder, pulling down 10.5 rebounds per contest...Rutgers averages 67.3 points per game, while it gives up 53.8 points per contest...the Scarlet Knights were picked to finish fourth in The American according to the league’s preseason coaches’ poll.
Last Time Out For the Cougars
It was a tale of two halves last Tuesday afternoon at Hofheinz Pavilion, as Houston held a 31-30 lead at halftime, but USF was able to outscore the Cougars, 47-23 in the second half to earn the 77-54 victory.
Sophomore guard Alecia Smith once again had herself a great performance, as she put in a season-high tying 15 points for a second consecutive game to lead the Cougars, while also connecting on four three-pointers on the day. Senior guard Demetria Foreman also scored in double-figures, as she poured in 12 points and collected two steals.
Senior forward Te’onna Campbell also managed to chip in with six points and a season-high tying five steals in the loss.
Inga Orekhova led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from three-point land, while Alisa Jenkins posted a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.
Ariadna Pujol poured in 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting to round out the top performers for the Bulls (6-7, 1-1 The American).
For the second consecutive game Houston (4-9, 0-2 The American), put together an impressive first half comeback, after it fell behind 23-12 with 9:15 left to play in the half.
The Cougars would then proceed to go on an 8-0 run to make it just a 23-20 deficit with 6:19 left to play in the period, after Smith splashed home one of her four treys in the contest.
And the run wouldn’t stop there, as Houston went on to outscore the Bulls 11-7 the rest of the half to actually take a 31-10 advantage into the halftime intermission, after Jessieka Palmer nailed mid-range jumper in the closing seconds.
The Houston bench outscored the USF reserves 15-8 in the first half, while it was also able to score eight points off of 12 forced turnovers.
Unfortunately, the Cougars never were able to get into an offensive rhythm in the second half, while the Bulls conversely caught fire, going 16-of-26 from the field for 61.5 percent.
Where We Rank
Through 13 games here’s a look at where the Cougars stack up early on. Houston ranks third in The American in offensive rebounds per game (15.7). Through two games of conference play, the Cougars rank number one in offensive rebounding (17 rpg), third in defensive rebounding percentage (.675), third in three pointers made per game (5.5), fourth in blocked shots (4.5 bpg), fourth in steals (7 spg), and fourth in turnover margin (+3.00),
UH has recorded two or more double-digit scorers in 12 of 13 games this season...Houston has scored the same amount or more points in the second half than the first half in eight of 13 games this season...UH has won the second chance point battle in eight of its last 11 tilts...the Cougars have won the turnover battle in seven of their last 10 games and in four consecutive.
Houston’s Dynamic Duo
Te’onna Campbell and Marche’ Amerson have combined to score 32 percent (247/780) of the Cougars’ total points this season.
The BIG Switch
Houston is entering the second of a four-game span where the Cougars will take on teams from the old BIG EAST conference in USF, Rutgers, UConn, and Cincinnati. The Cougars will be playing Rutgers and UConn for the first time in school history.
A Tough Road Ahead
The Cougars’ next two opponents have a combined record of 24-2, while UConn is ranked as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation and Rutgers is receiving top-25 votes in both the coaches’ and AP poll. Geno Auriemma (UConn Head Coach) and C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers Head Coach) have a combined career coaching record of 1,764-467 all time.
Wade Scott Takes Over as Interim Head Coach
Former associate head coach Wade Scott took over the title of Interim Head Coach on Dec. 21, 2013 after former head coach Todd Buchanan chose to resign due to personal reasons. Scott is in his eighth season with the Cougar women’s basketball program and will serve as the Head Coach for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign. Scott technically becomes the seventh head coach in program history. He looks to earn his first Division I victory Saturday at Rutgers.
Smith Can Shoot It
Alecia Smith has proved to be an offensive force over the last two contests for the Cougars, as she’s averaged 15 points per game, while connecting on 8-of-17 three pointers for 47.1 percent during that span. She ranks eighth in scoring, fourth in steals (2.5 spg), 11th in three-point percentage, and ranks number one in three pointers made so far during American play.
It Starts With Consistency
The Cougars have used the starting lineup of Demetria Foreman (PG), Marche’ Amerson (SG), Te’onna Campbell (SF), Destini Texada (PF), and Yasemeen Thompson (C) in eight consecutive contests going back to Nov. 30 vs. Kent State. Three of the Cougars’ four wins on the year have come when this unit has started.
Two Halves Don’t Equal a Whole
The Cougars put together two great first halves over the weekend, unfortunately they didn’t come in the same game. Houston held leads at halftime in each of its last two contests vs. UCF and USF, but over the last two second halves the Cougars have combined for just 51 points (25.5 per half on average) and 15-of-67 from the field for 22 percent.
Cougar Road Woes
Houston has dropped three consecutive conference road games going back to last season, with it’s last league road win coming on Feb. 17, 2013 at Tulane. The Cougars are 1-7 in their last eight road games overall, but are going for their second consecutive road win.
A Part of American History
The Cougars and UCF Knights participated in what was the first ever American Athletic Conference game last Saturday. The American marks Houston’s third different conference in school history in what is program’s 39th year in existence. Houston’s game last Saturday was also the debut of the conference’s original American Digital Network. The Cougars will be shown on the network at least seven sperate times this season, not including conference tournament play.
Twelve Cougar women’s basketball regular season games will be shown on television this season. Seven games will be shown on the American Digital Network (Dec. 28 vs. UCF, Jan. 25 vs. SMU, Jan. 29 at USF, Feb. 1 at UCF, Feb 8 at Cincinnati, Feb. 15 at SMU, March 1 at Memphis), four games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks (Dec. 31 vs. USF, Jan. 7 at UConn, Jan. 21 vs. Louisville, and Feb. 22 vs. UConn), while one will be shown on WHAS (Feb. 19 at Louisville).
Campbell Can Do A Lot
Te’onna Campbell has done it all for the Cougars so far this season. She leads the team in scoring, putting up 11.3 points per game, while she also leads the squad in steals per game (2.3), and overall steals (23) in just 10 games played this year. While she stands at just 5-foot-10, she ranks second on the team in rebounds per game, grabbing 7.3 per contest. She’s scored in double-digits in seven of 10 contests played this year and has led the team in scoring in four of the last eight games.
Te’onna Campbell has racked up double-doubles on the regular this season, collecting four in just 10 games played this year. She’s also posted double-doubles in two of her last three contests.
What an Honor
Te’onna Campbell became the first Cougar to earn a spot on the conference’s weekly honor roll team last Monday, thanks to her 16 point, 10 rebound performance vs. USF last Saturday in the league opener.
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson has led Houston in rebounding in seven of its last nine contests and has averaged 9.6 rebounds per game over her last seven games. She leads the team in overall rebounding (8.1 rpg), offensive rebounding (3.3 rpg), and defensive rebounding (4.8 rpg). She’s also posted double-digit rebounds five times this year.
What it Could Become
While Houston’s free throw shooting is a disappointing 59.2 percent this season, let’s take a look at what the final scores of all 13 games could have looked like if those misses were turned into makes...with the free throw misses turned into makes the Cougars would be 8-5 with a scoring margin of +7.3 instead of what currently is a scoring margin of -2.6.
11/8 vs. Mississippi State W 82-76 (missed 14 FTs)
11/13 at Northwestern State W 80-74 (missed 10 FTs)
11/17 vs. #12/16 Texas A&M L 63-59 (missed 8 FTs)
11/20 vs. North Texas W 84-61 (missed 18 FTs)
11/23 at Creighton L 65-59 (missed 4 FTs)
11/30 vs. Kent State W 58-44 (missed 4 FTs)
12/1 vs. Prairie View A&M W 80-46 (missed 6 FTs)
12/4 vs. Washington L 66-65 (missed 10 FTs)
12/8 at Alabama L 51-49 (missed 5 FTs)
12/15 at Texas State W 75-70 (missed 12 FTs)
12/20 at Rice W 78-54 (missed 11 FTs)
12/28 vs. UCF W 69-67 (missed 10 FTs)
12/31 vs. USF L 77-72 (missed 18 FTs)
Oh So Close
Five of Houston’s nine losses have been by eight points or less, while only one loss this season has come by 13+ points...the Cougars have been within three points (or better) of the opposition with under 10 minutes to play in the game in 10 of 13 contests this year. They’ve been within three points (or better) with under four minutes to play in eight of the 13 games.
Marche’ Amerson has started in every game of her Houston career thus far, 43 games and counting. She currently leads the Cougars in minutes played per game (30.2). Te’onna Campbell also averages 20.2 minutes per game.
The Second Half, Times Two
Houston has scored 53 percent (412/780) of its total points this season in the second half. If one were to replace Houston’s first half scoring with its second half scoring this season, the Cougars would be averaging 63.4 points per game compared to its current 60.0 points per game clip.
The Fast Track to Victory
Houston is 3-1 this season when it scores more fast break points than its opponent. The Cougars are also 4-0 when leading with under five minutes to play and 3-1 when scoring more points off of turnovers.
Filling the Void
Houston is still in the process of trying to experience life without Porcshe Landry, who graduated last year as the program’s all-time assists leader (483), as well as the club’s scoring leader from a year ago (16.6 ppg). While it’s early, Houston may have found something in transfer guard Demetria Foreman, who collected a game-high eight assists in UH’s season opener on Nov. 8 vs. Mississippi State. She still has a ways to go to catch up to Landry, but the eight assists were the most any Cougar not named Landry had collected since Roxana Button also recorded eight assists on Feb. 26, 2012 vs. UCF. She is currently averaging a team-best 2.5 assists per game.
After playing six of its first eight games at home to start the year, Houston is in the midst of a stretch where they’ll play five of their next seven contest on the road, concluding with a trip to Connecticut to take on No. 1 UConn.
Sharing is Caring
Four of five Houston starters (Thompson, Campbell, Amerson, Foreman) scored in double figures and combined to score 57 of the Cougars’ 67 total points (85%) on Dec. 20 at Rice. It was the first time Houston had boasted four or more double-digit scorers in a game since Jan. 24, 2013 vs. Southern Miss. Amerson and Campbell scored in double figures in that game as well.
Cougars Give Back During Holiday Season
The University of Houston women’s basketball program took a break from the hardwood and jumped into the holiday spirit this December to purchase various toys and gifts for underprivileged kids across the Houston area. The gifts went towards the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree program, which is a nationally recognized holiday toy drive that helps provide holiday presents for children across the United States, including the city of Houston and surrounding areas.
Houston Signs Four Recruits for 2014-15
Houston brought in Fatima Adams, Moesha Kinard, Dejah Joshua, and Sandra Davis
Fatima Adams | Forward | 5-10 | Blinn Community College (Bryan, Texas)
Adams has averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 35 games played at Blinn Junior College...so far through four games this season, she’s racked up an average of 25 points per game, while shooting the ball at a 51.6 percent clip...she currently ranks in the top 50 among all active NJCAA members in six different categories: 11th in games played (35), 14th in games started (33), 41st in minutes played (845), 22nd in free throws made (127-167), 16th in offensive rebounds (131), and 18th in total rebounds (302)...she earned second-team all-district honors during the 2010-11 season and first-team all district accolades during the 2011-12 campaign while at Rudder High School...she helped lead Rudder High School to the third round of the playoffs in 2009-10 and the fourth round in 2011-12.
From coach Buchanan: “I think she’s extremely athletic and her natural position is small forward. She can step out and hit the mid-range jump shot, which quite frankly is hard to find in today’s world. She’s a strong kid, really jumps out of the gym and has a knack for the basketball. She’s going to bring tremendous effort and energy, not to mention she can really score the basketball.”
Moesha Kinard | Guard/ Forward | 5-7 | New Iberia High School (New Iberia, La.)
Kinard is a four-year letterwinner at New Iberia High School...New Iberia High School was ranked as the No. 5 high school to watch in the state of Louisiana this season thanks to Kinard’s 19.8 points per game average her junior year...Kinard played every position on the floor except center in high school.
From coach Buchanan: “You can’t really classify her in a single position. She stays true to our core values and how we want to recruit, meaning we don’t just recruit kids for one position; she can really play them all. She is so strong and psychical; it really allows her to play anywhere, but that small forward spot is probably where she fits best.
Dejah Joshua | Forward | 5-8 | West Side High School (Gary, Ind.)
Joshua averaged 10 points and eight rebounds per game in her first season at West side High School, after transferring from Bowman Academy...while at Bowman Academy Joshua averaged 6.8 points, 1.2 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and a steal per game.
From coach Buchanan: “She still has her best basketball ahead of her. She really has a great bounce to her game. She’s athletic, but she’s also a very smart player. She’s very versatile, where she can step back and knock down the three point shot or she can take a few steps in and hit the mid-range bucket too. She’s very poised for a high school kid. That’s what really jumps out at me. She’s also very crafty with the basketball.”
Sandra Davis | Forward | 6-1 | Garden City Community College (Odenton, MD)
Davis has posted two double-digit scoring performances in five games played so far this season for Garden City Community College...earned Co-Best All Around Player of the Year (JV Basketball - 2009-2010), was a member of the Maryland 4A State Championship Team (2010), named team MVP (2011-2012), Second Team All-County (2011-2012), and a member of the county All-Star Team (2011-2012) while at Arundel High School.
From coach Buchanan: “She brings a little bit of everything. She has great length and great size, standing at 6-foot-1. She’s an incredibly intelligent basketball player. She brings that junior college experience that we need too. She’s just a very well rounded player.
Breaking Down the 2013-14 Cougars
Fourth-year head coach Todd Buchanan and the Cougars return four starters and nine letterwinners overall from last season’s squad that finished 13-17 overall and ninth in the final year of Conference USA with a 7-9 record.
The 2013-14 campaign truly marks a new era of Houston basketball, as the Cougars prepare for their first year in the new American Athletic Conference, in what arguably will be the toughest in all of college basketball.
While the Cougars will have deal with the loss of the program’s all-time assists leader and the leading scorer from a year ago in Porsche Landry, Houston brings back 74 percent of last season’s scoring total, including Conference USA All-Freshman team member Marche’ Amerson.
Amerson ranked second on the team a year ago in scoring, averaging 9.1 points per contest and set a UH freshman record as she started in all 30 contests for the Cougars.
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson also returns for her senior year after establishing herself as formidable option down low last season, as she led Conference USA and ranked 10th all-time in program history in field goal percentage (.533), while chipping in 8.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest.
Cougars Tabbed 10th in American Media Poll
The University of Houston women’s basketball team was picked to finish 10th in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference according to a vote of league coaches released by the conference office on Oct. 14.
The Cougars received 15 votes to finish just behind Temple, who was picked ninth with 25 points. Defending National Champion UConn was chosen as the unanimous favorite to win the league crown, as it received 81 overall points and nine of 10 first place votes.
Louisville, the 2013 national runner-up, was chosen to finish second, as it collected 73 points overall and received the lone remaining first place vote.
USF followed with 59 points, as it just edged out Rutgers for third place, who received a healthy 57 points.
In-state rival SMU was picked to finish fifth (50 points), while Memphis (32 points), Cincinnati (30 points), and UCF followed (28 points), earning the sixth, seventh, and eighth spots respectively.
The Cougars will face a schedule loaded with postseason participants from 2012-13, as they will play five NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago (Texas A&M, Creighton, Prairie View A&M, USF twice, UConn twice, and Louisville twice), as well as three WNIT teams from 2012-13 in Washington, Memphis (twice), and SMU (twice) for a total of 14 matchups against eight teams that saw some kind of postseason action last season.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Houston boasts one of the more rigorous schedules in the nation, as the Cougars will go up against eight teams that are either ranked or have received votes in either the Associated Press or the USA Today Preseason Top 25 Coaches Polls. Three of those games come in the non-conference slate, as the Cougars host No. 16/ 13 Texas A&M (AP poll first), play at RV/ RV Creighton, and host RV/ NR Washington.
The other five ranked matchups come in American Conference play as Houston will take on RV/ RV USF, NR/ RV Rutgers, No. 1/ No. 1 UConn, No. 5/ No. 5 Louisville, and NR/ RV SMU for a total of 10 meetings, as the Cougars will play each school at home and away. If all eight teams were able to find their way into the top 25, the 13 ranked contests in a season would be the most in school history. The most ranked opponents the Cougars have ever played in a single season are nine during the 1978-79 campaign.
By the Numbers
Houston returns 74 percent of its 1,903 points scored, 87 percent of its rebounds, 74 percent of its field goals made, 78 percent of its three-pointers made, 78 percent of its free throws converted, 57 percent of its assists, and 77 percent of its steals from a season ago.
New Kids on the Block
The Cougars welcome in just two new faces to this year’s squad in freshman guard Alexia Sanders and junior college transfer guard Demetria Foreman. Sanders comes to Houston from nearby College Park High School in The Woodlands, where she earned District 14-5A MVP honors her senior season after leading the team in scoring (20.1 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg), steals (4.1 spg), assists (2.7 apg), and blocks (1.0 bpg).
Foreman joins the Cougars after playing two seasons at Angelina Junior College, where she averaged 12.8 points and 3.2 assists per game, while shooting 40 percent from the field last season. She was also named to the all-conference team and earned NJCAA All-Tournament team honors.
You Can’t Teach Tall
This year’s Cougar squad is one of the tallest in recent memory, as the team averages nearly six feet with nine players standing at 6-0 or taller. The Cougars ranked third in Conference USA in rebounding and blocked shots a year ago, averaging 41.6 boards and 3.6 swats per game.
Ten of the 14 players on the roster call Texas home, while one is from Oklahoma, one is from California, one is from Pennsylvania, and one comes from British Columbia.
Proud to be an American
The Cougars are one of four teams (SMU, Memphis, and UCF) to make the jump from the old Conference USA to the new American Athletic Conference. The Cougars also join five other schools from what was the old BIG EAST conference (UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers, and South Florida), and one school out of the old Atlantic-10 in Temple to make up the new league. The AAC is Houston’s third conference in what will be the program’s 39th season.
More of Marche’
Marche’ Amerson earned a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2012 after ranking second on the squad with 10.1 points in league play while shooting a team best 36-percent from beyond the arc in conference action. Amerson also set a freshman record starting in all 30 games last season, while finishing in the top 10 in six other Houston all-time freshman marks. Houston hopes to count on her to be one of the team’s leaders on and off the court this season.
Senior Yasmeen Thompson wreaked havoc in the paint for the Cougars in 2012 after transferring from Paris Junior College, as she led C-USA in field-goal percentage (53.3) while ranking sixth in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and placing second in the league with 1.4 blocks per game in conference play a year ago. Thompson led the nation in field-goal percentage through the opening seven contests of the season.
The Philadelphia, Pa., native, who earned C-USA Player of the Week honors on Nov. 26, pulled down a career-best 17 boards in back-to-back games against Alabama and Yale, and followed up with her first-career double-double performance with 21 points and 14 rebounds at McNeese State on Nov. 20, marking 48 rebounds over a span of three games.
Thompson earned NJCAA All-Conference Honorable Mention honors last season at Paris JC after averaging 8.1 points and a team-leading 9.0 rebounds per game. Thompson helped the squad to a 24-7 record while reaching a national ranking of No. 11, setting a school record.
Hear it From Them
Be sure to visit www.UHCougars.com and click on the women’s basketball page to watch the 2013-14 women’s basketball season preview video featuring head coach Todd Buchanan, sophomore forward Marche’ Amerson, and senior center Yasmeen Thompson.