EDINBURG, Texas - After earning a first-round bye in the Conference USA tournament for the first time in school history by defeating DePaul on Sunday (Feb. 18), the University of Houston Lady Cougars traveled to Edinburg, Texas, to take on UT-Pan American. In looking to get the top seed of the tournament, which takes place in Milwaukee March 2-5, they took care of business and defeated the Lady Broncos by a final of 93-53 on Tuesday night, February 20, to post their 18th win of the season.
Much like last year when the Lady Cougars controlled the court against the Lady Broncos in the two schools first meeting and went on for a 92-38 victory, Houston once again was in the driver's seat. Within the first 10 minutes of the first half, the Lady Cougars had a 20-7 lead and nearly 20 team rebounds. Led by junior Valerie Muoneke's 11 points and eight rebounds, Houston entered the locker room at half-time with a 43-21 lead and had pulled down 34 rebounds.
By game's end, Houston pulled down a season-high 68 rebounds--32 offensively and 36 defensively--which calculated to the third-most in school history in a single game and the most since the 1984-85 squad pulled down 70 boards against Hawaii-Pacific on December 26, 1984.
Four Lady Cougars ended the game in double digits, including senior Norma Noel (10), Muoneke (13), senior Jessica Shanklin (15) and a team-leading 16 from senior ShaRonda Lasseter. Junior Rosalind Carter pulled down a career-high and team game-high 11 rebounds, and with her nine points scored fell just one point shy of recording her first career double-double. Overall, eight Lady Cougars had six-or-more rebounds.
Senior Cathy Lida had a team-high three steals and eight Houston players had two-or-more assists.
With the win the Lady Cougars improve to 18-9 overall on the year and remain 10-4 in C-USA play. Houston closes out the season this coming weekend with games at Memphis on Friday, February 23 at 7:00pm and at UAB on Sunday afternoon, February 25, at 2:00pm.
They then travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to participate in the annual
Conference USA Tournament with the other 11 C-USA schools from March 2-5.