The Cougars and Red Raiders will face off in the WNIT first round on Thursday at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock.
March 15, 2010
HOUSTON - For the eighth time in program history, the University of Houston women's basketball team is headed to the postseason and late Monday night the Cougars learned their Women's National Invitational Tournament destination and opponent. Houston will travel to Lubbock, Texas, to face Texas Tech on Thursday, March 18, at 7 p.m. inside the United Spirit Arena.
The Cougars are headed to the postseason as the WNIT automatic bid from Conference USA. The WNIT awards one automatic bid to the regular-season champion of each conference and in the event that the league champion also wins the conference postseason tournament, the bid goes to the league's second seed. Houston finished in a tie for second place in C-USA this season behind league champion Tulane, which also won the C-USA championship, and captured the league's No. 2 seed and WNIT bid by tiebreaker over Memphis and SMU.
Additionally, the WNIT expanded to 64 teams this season.
Houston has appeared in the WNIT field three other times - 1991, 2001 and 2002. Most notably, during the Cougars' last run in the WNIT at the end of the 2001-02 season, UH won four straight games to advance to the championship game, where it fell just two points shy of a title, losing to Oregon 54-52.
All-time at the WNIT, the Cougars are 5-4, including a 4-2 mark under head coach Joe Curl, who has led Houston to four postseason appearances during his 12-year tenure.
Texas Tech finished the regular season with a 17-14 record and in a tie for eighth place in the Big 12 Conference with a 5-11 league record. Historically, the Cougars and Lady Raiders are no strangers to one another as both schools spent many years as rivals in the Southwest Conference and have met as recently on the court as Dec. 4, 2007, when UH defeated Tech 66-63 in Lubbock.
Taylor, a junior forward from Crockett, Texas, earned C-USA top individual accolades this season after she etched her name all over the Cougars record books. During the regular season, Taylor led the team in rebounding (10.1 rebounds per game), steals (53) and field goal percentage (.500) while ranking second in scoring (15.4 points per game) and blocked shots (32). Her rebounding totals ranked second in C-USA play and 29th nationally for the entire season.
She also shattered the school record for career double-doubles when she tallied her 36th such performance during a win over Memphis on Feb. 7. Currently she has 40 double-doubles in her career and 14 this season to rank her in the top 20 nationwide. Additionally, Taylor became the 19th member in program history to join the prestigious 1,000 point club when she hit the millennium mark in a UH road win over UAB on Jan. 24.
Completing the lethal inside-outside combo for the Cougars from her guard spot this season, Scott has become one of Conference USA's most feared scorers during the 2009-10 regular season. The junior from Orange, Texas, leads the Cougars in scoring this season at 17.4 points per game and has topped the 20-point mark 11 times.
After back-to-back 27-point performances to start the season, Scott signaled UH opponents that she was a difference maker who could take over a game with her shooting. This season, she ranked second in C-USA in scoring and led the league in 3-point field goals made at 2.7 per game. In addition, she proved to be one of the conference's top shooters from the charity stripe, finishing the regular season in seventh place with a .815 free throw percentage.
Additionally, fellow juniors Lessee Mason and Brittany Mason have been big contributors this season. Lesslee has collected six double-doubles this season, including a 15-point, 14-rebound outing for the Cougars in the semifinals of C-USA Championship, while Brittany is the Cougars top perimeter defender and is match against the opponent's top offensive weapon.
Point guard Porsche Landry also made giant strides as a sophomore for the Cougars, averaging 10.0 points per game this season while dishing out 125 assists. Classmate Roxana Button, who started 17 games this season, has joined with junior Jasmine Johnson and senior Ashlee' Joseph to give the Cougars a solid, albeit short, bench.
For tickets to Houston's WNIT game on Thursday, please contact the Texas Tech ticket office at (888) Go-BIG-12 or (806) 742-TECH. Tickets also can be purchased through the Texas Tech athletic website at www.texastech.com and at area United Supermarket and Select-a-Seat locations.
All tickets will be available in the lower level of the arena - $6 for reserved seats, $5 for general admission and $4 for students.
Fans can hear all the action from the Cougars' games at the WNIT by clicking on the steaming audio link on the women's basketball page of www.UHCougars.com. Third-year play-by-play man Jeremy Branham will have the call from courtside of the United Spirit Arena.