March 31, 2014
HOUSTON--- It was a year of firsts, a season of adversity, and a period of uncertainty, but in the end there may be one word that best describes the 2013-14 Houston Cougars: Together.
"The season was tough. We had to heal some psyches,” says interim head coach Wade Scott after Houston’s loss to Louisville in American Athletic Conference Quarterfinals. “We had to get some people their confidence back, but at the same time this group of girls--I couldn't have asked for a better group.”
After finishing 6-25 overall and 1-17 during conference play, the Cougars rose to the challenge and defied all odds to pull off a 73-67 upset of the seventh-seeded Memphis Tigers in the opening round of the American Conference Tournament.
Sophomore guard Marche’ Amerson scored a career-high 24 points and converted on a career-best 14 free throw attempts, while senior forward Te’onna Campbell poured in 15 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and notched a career-best equaling three blocks on the night.
The Cougars fell behind by as many as nine points in the first half before eventually rallying to claim an advantage as high as 71-61 with 54 seconds remaining in the contest. Houston shot a season-best 48.9 percent from the field and a season-high 60 percent from three-point land, while the 73 points scored was just one shy of equaling its season high.
The win still stands as the biggest upset in the tournament’s brief history, as the Cougars were the only lower seeded team to defeat a higher seeded team in this year’s event, while the win also marked Houston’s first conference tournament win of any kind since the 2011 campaign.
“It felt good to get a win like that, especially the way our season has gone,” says Amerson after the win over Memphis. “We’re truly a family and we stuck together this entire season.”
The 2013-14 schedule was loaded with top-notch talent, as Houston matched up with top-five teams on five separate occasions last season, while it took on No. 1 Connecticut twice. It was the first time the Cougars had played five or more top-five opponents since the 1978-79 campaign.
While the conference slate was challenging, Houston prepared itself well, as it took on four NCAA postseason participants in non-conference action in then ranked No. 16/12 Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M, Mississippi State, and Creighton.
The Cougars recorded their largest margin of victory of the season back on Dec. 1, in a 74-46 win over a Prairie View A&M team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning the SWAC. Houston didn’t lose a non-conference affair by more than 12 points.
In all, 15 of the Cougars’ 31 games played this season were against teams that qualified for NCAA postseason play, while Houston also played in 14 televised contests throughout the year.
In a season full of twists and turns, the biggest came on Dec. 21, when former head coach Todd Buchanan stepped down from his head coaching position to tend to personal issues, in turn making former associate head coach Wade Scott the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
On Jan. 11 the Cougars were able to break through in a big way, claiming their first ever American Athletic Conference victory in a 48-39 win at Cincinnati.
The win was fueled by one of the best defensive performances in program history, while the 39 points allowed was tied for the fifth-best defensive outing in terms of points given up as a road team. It was the least amount of points the Cougars had surrendered overall since 2009.
Houston concluded the 2013-14 campaign with 12 double-double performances, seven 20-plus point games, and three conference weekly award winners.
Cougar Award Winners
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson was named to the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll on three separate occasions last season, including in back-to-back weeks (Jan. 27, Feb. 3, March 4).
Thompson led the team in rebounding in 17 of Houston’s final 24 contests, while she ended the season leading the squad in overall rebounds (8.4), offensive rebounds (3.2), defensive rebounds (5.2), and blocked shots (0.7), while she also collected a team-best 11 double-digit rebounding games and six double-doubles on the season. Thompson recorded a career-high 23 points on Feb. 11 vs. Rutgers.
Senior forward Te’onna Campbell was named to the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll back on Dec. 30. College Sports Madness also named her to the AAC Third Team.
Campbell led the team in steals per game (2.0), overall steals (57), and minutes played per contest (33.7). While she stood at just 5-foot-10, she ranked second on the team in rebounding (6.4 rpg) and scoring (9.7 ppg). She also scored in double-digits in 14 of 28 games played and led the team in scoring in nine of the final 26 contests. She poured in a career-high 21 points on Jan. 11 vs. Cincinnati.
Through two seasons, sophomore guard Marche’ Amerson has played and started in every game of her career thus far; 61 games and counting. She’s just 15 starts away from tying Barbara Anderson (1984-88) and Arlene Brown (1987-91) for 10th on the school’s all-time starts list.
Amerson led the team in scoring this season, averaging 10.4 points per game, scoring 20-plus points on four separate occasions, including posting a career-high 24 points during Houston’s American Athletic Conference Tournament victory over Memphis back on March 7.
Top/ Historic Moments
Cougars Stun Memphis in American Tournament First Round (March 7, 2014)
The Cougars rallied from a nine-point deficit to defeat the seventh-seeded Memphis Tigers in the opening round of the inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament, by the final of 73-67. Houston was the only lower seeded team to take down a higher seeded team in the tournament.
Houston Hosts Top-Ranked Connecticut (Feb. 22, 2014)
The Cougars hosted the nation’s top-ranked team for the first time since 1987 back on Feb. 22, 2014.
Cougars Record Historic Defensive Performance; Defeat Cincinnati for First American Win (Feb. 8, 2014)
Houston used a strong defensive effort to beat Cincinnati 48-39 back on Feb. 8, marking its first ever American Athletic Conference victory...the 39 points allowed was the least amount of points Houston had given up to any opponent since allowing just 32 points to Oregon State on Nov. 19, 2009...it was the least amount of points UH had allowed as a road team since also surrendering just 39 points at UAB on Feb. 2, 2004...the defensive performance is tied for 16th best in program history, in terms of least amount of points given up in a game...the performance is also tied for fifth best all-time in terms of points given up on the road....the Cougars gave up just 12 points on 16.7 percent shooting from the field in the first half at Cincinnati, both marked season opponent lows for any half this season.
Houston and USF Clash in Historic Affair (Dec. 28, 2013)
The Cougars and UCF Knights participated in what was the first ever contest between two American Athletic Conference teams back on Dec. 28 in Hofheinz Pavilion. It also marked the debut of the American Digital Network.
Cougars Earn 50th All-Time Win Over Crosstown Rival Rice (Dec. 20, 2013)
Four Cougars scored in double figures as Houston cruised to a 67-54 victory over Rice back on Dec. 20, 2013. The win marked the 50th all-time victory over the Owls and UH’s third straight victory over Rice going back to the 2012-13 season.
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