Cougars Set to Make History Saturday Afternoon
Dec. 27, 2013
HOUSTON--- The Houston Cougars and UCF Knights are set to make history, as the two schools will compete in the first-ever American Athletic Conference women's basketball game when both schools open up their conference seasons, Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
There will be live video coverage available for Houston's game vs UCF provided by the American Digital Network. To access video for the game visit www.UHCougars.com, click the women's basketball schedule page, then click the "Watch" link to watch for free through theamerican.org.
There will be live audio streaming available for Houston's game vs. UCF. 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. Jeremy Branham will have the play-by-play, while Louis Ray will provide the color commentary
There will be live stats available for Houston's game vs. UCF. To access live stats for the game visit www.UHCougars.com, click the women's basketball schedule page then click the "GameTracker" link.
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Fans can keep up with the latest in Cougar athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonAthletics), Twitter (@UHCougarSports), Instagram (houstoncougars) and YouTube.com (Youtube.com/UHAthletics). In addition, the women's basketball team has established its own official Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonCougarWomensBasketball) and Twitter pages (@UHCougarWBB).
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 email@example.com. 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 (4-7) vs. UCF (7-4)
Overall Record 5-5
Home Record 3-0
Away Record 2-3
Neutral Site Record 0-2
Longest Win Streak 2 games (2x)
Longest Losing Streak 2 games (2x)
Current Streak Loss 2
Record in Last 10 Meetings 5-5
Jan. 6, 2006 in Houston, Texas (W, 64-50)
March 13, 2013 in Tulsa, Okla. (L, 74-59)
The Series Game-by-Game
01/06/06 UCF* W 64-50
02/09/07 at UCF* L 73-78
01/17/08 at UCF* W 74-61
01/25/09 UCF* W 80-65
03/06/09 vs. UCF% L 66-79
02/20/10 at UCF* L 66-78
01/27/11 at UCF* W 71-68
02/26/12 UCF* W 66-53
02/28/13 at UCF* L 55-68
03/13/13 vs. UCF% L 59-74
Series Notes: This will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two schools, with the series locked up at 5-5, as UCF has taken the last two games vs. the Cougars...this will be the fourth time the Cougars have hosted the Knights...Houston is 3-0 all-time vs. UCF at home with an average margin of victory of 14 points...UH's largest margin of victory came in an 80-65 win on Jan. 25, 2009 (15 points)...the Cougars' largest margin of defeat came in an 74-59 loss (15 points) last time out in last season's C-USA Tournament opening round on March 13, 2013...The last three contests between the two schools have been decided by 13+ points...all 10 all-time meetings between the two programs have been conference affairs, including two conference tournament matchups...Besides this being the first-ever American Athletic Conference matchup, Houston will have a little extra motivation in this game, as UCF ended the Cougars' season last year, defeating the Cougars 74-59 in the opening round of the Conference USA Tournament. Two current Cougars scored in double-figures in that game in Marche' Amerson (15 pts) and Alecia Smith (11 pts, while collecting 3 assists). Te'onna Campbell also made an impact, as she recorded a team-high 10 rebounds.
Not Know About the Knights? Now You Do
The Kinghts roll into this league opener sitting in sixth place The American after posting a 7-4 mark in non-conference play, despite dropping each of their last three contests after starting the season 7-1...Sophomore guard Briahanna Jackson leads the Knights in scoring, as she averages 17.0 points per contest, while freshman guard Zykira Lewis (12.1 ppg) and senior forward Sara Djassi (12.0 ppg) also average double-digits in the scoring column.. Junior forward Brittni Montgomery leads UCF in the rebounding department, grabbing 10.1 boards per game...UCF averages 66.6 points per game while it gives up 63.6 points per contest on average....UCF was picked to finish eighth in the conference's preseason coaches' poll.
Last Time Out For the Cougars
Four of five Cougar starters scored in double-figures in what was undoubtedly the most complete performance of the season, as Houston ran by crosstown rival Rice, 67-54, last Friday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Junior point guard Demetria Foreman had herself a career game, as she recorded a career-best 20 points to lead all scorers, while also dishing out four assists in the win. Senior small forward Te'onna Campbell notched her fifth career double-double and third of the season, as she recorded 13 points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson nearly had herself a double-double as well, as she scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Marche' Amerson notched her sixth double-digit scoring game of the season, putting in 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting for the Cougars.
Senior forward Jessica Kuster was the only player to score in double-figures for the Owls, as she recorded 18 points, but on just 6-of-20 shooting in the loss.
For Houston (4-7), the win marks the program's 50th all-time victory over Rice and its third straight victory over the Owls (5-6), while it also snaps what was a three-game losing skid and a seven-game road losing streak going back to last season.
The Cougars were all over the Owls early, as they commanded an 11-2 lead with 12:26 left to play in the first half after two Marissa Ashton made free throws.
Houston never trailed in the first half until literally the last play of the period, after Kuster stole the ball and scored an uncontested layup as the halftime buzzer sounded, giving Rice the slight 26-24 edge at the break.
Despite trailing at halftime, the Cougars had plenty to be optimistic about at the break, as they outscored the Owls 16-12 in the paint and won the second chance point category 11-4, while holding one of the nation's premier players in Kuster to just eight first half points on 2-of-11 from the field.
The Owls worked their lead as high as 34-28 with 15:37 left to play in the second half before Campbell went on to score seven answered points by herself, including converting on an athletic and-one opportunity, to single-handedly give the Cougars a 35-34 advantage with 13:22 left to play in the contest.
However, Campbell would get help, a lot of help, as Foreman and Amerson combined to score 23 Houston's total 43 second half points, to help the Cougars outscore the Owls 32-20 the rest of the way.
In fact, from that point on, Houston never trailed again, as the Cougars knocked down big free throws down the stretch to help ice the game. Foreman led the way, as she connected on a career-best seven free throws on eight attempts, all in the second half.
The Cougars would balloon their lead to as high 14 points before the final horn sounded, as Houston ended up winning the battle inside, outrebounding Rice 46-35, while also outscoring the Owls 30-22 in the paint.
Monumental win Over Rice
Aside from the fact that last Friday was the 60th all-time meeting between Rice and Houston, it was also the Cougars' 50th all-time win over the Owls and their third straight going back to last season...Houston's 50 all-time wins over Rice is by far the most wins the Cougars have vs. any one program. The second most is 32 wins over Texas A&M....the win also snapped what was a seven-game road losing streak going back to last season.
Where We Rank
Through 11 games here's a look at where the Cougars stack up early on. Houston ranks third in The American in three-point defense (.271) and third in offensive rebounds per game (15.5).
UH has recorded two or more double-digit scorers in 10 of 11 games this season...Houston has scored the same amount or more points in the second half than the first half in eight of 11 games this season...UH has won the second chance point battle in seven of its last nine tilts...the Cougars have won the turnover battle in five of their last eight games.
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%) last time out vs. Rice. It was the first time Houston had boasted four 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.
Career Game For Foreman
Junior guard Demetria Foreman had arguably her best game as a Cougar last time out vs. Rice. She scored a career-best 20 points, made a career-high six field goals, and knocked down a career-high seven free throws. She also tied career bests in three pointers made and steals.
Houston's Dynamic Duo
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 vs. UCF.
History to be Made Saturday
The Cougars and Knights will participate in what will be the first ever American Athletic Conference game this Saturday, as USF and Rutgers will play later than night at 6:00 p.m. CT, while the rest of the league plays their openers on Sunday. Houston will also be the first team to host an American Conference game. The American marks Houston's third different conference in school history in what is program's 39th year in existence. Houston's game will also mark 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, including Saturday's conference opener vs. UCF. 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). Tuesday's ESPN 3 game vs. USF marks the first time Houston has appeared on the network during the regular season since Jan. 21, 2007 at Rice.
Houston is 18-13 all time in conference openers...the Cougars are 9-7 in league openers at home compared to a 9-6 record when opening conference play on the road...UH is 4-1 in its last five conference openers.
Wins over UCF and USF on this homestand would give the Cougars their first winning month since January of last season.
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 11.4 points per game, while she also leads the squad in steals per game (2.3), and overall steals (18) in just eight games played this year. While she stands at just 5-foot-10, she ranks second on the team in rebounds per game, grabbing 7.5 per contest. She's scored in double-digits in six of eight games played this year.
Senior center Yasmeen Thompson has led Houston in rebounding in six of its last seven contests and has averaged 10.0 rebounds per game over her last five games. She leads the team in overall rebounding (8.0 rpg), offensive rebounding (3.2 rpg), and defensive rebounding (4.8 rpg). She's also posted double-digit rebounds four times this year.
What it Could Become
While Houston's free throw shooting is a disappointing 61.8 percent this season, let's take a look at what the final scores of all 11 games could have looked like if those misses were turned into makes...with the free throw misses turned into makes the Cougars would be 7-4 with a scoring margin of +8.1 instead of what currently is a scoring margin of -0.3.
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)
Oh So Close
Four of Houston's seven losses have been by a combined 26 points this season, with three double-digit defeats coming at the hands of No. 16/12 Texas A&M on Nov. 17, 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Creighton on Nov. 23, and 2013 WNIT participant Washington on Dec. 4...the Cougars have been within three points (or better) of the opposition with under 10 minutes to play in the game in 10 of 11 contests this year. They've been within three points (or better) with under four minutes to play in eight of the 11 games.
Defending the Home Court
Houston has won five of its last eight home affairs going back to last season.
The Second Half, Times Two
Houston has scored 54 percent (361/667) 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 65.6 points per game compared to its current 60.6 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 3-0 when scoring more points of off 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.
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.