HOUSTON (Nov. 16) -- The University of Houston women's basketball team jumped out to an early 10-point lead in the first half and stretched the margin to as much as 17 midway through the second period, but the Lady Cougars had to hang on for a 78-72 victory over the Houston Flight in its second and final exhibition game of the season Tuesday night in Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Lady Cougars were in control for the first 26 minutes of its exhibition game against the Flight, but the local amateur team composed of former collegiate players used its experience to cut a 52-35 UH lead down to just one point with a minute and a half remaining. The teams then traded baskets to make the score 73-72 with just 46 seconds left on the clock, but a clutch three-pointer junior guard Nakea Mitchell put the Lady Cougars up by four and halted the Flight's momentum.
Houston then added two more for a 78-72 final and finish the exhibition season with a perfect 2-0 record. Though the team went undefeated, second year head coach Joe Curl remained reserved in his assessment of the game and his team's progress heading into the official season-opener against No. 19 ranked Kansas this Saturday in Hofheinz Pavilion.
"We wanted to be 2-0 and we met that goal, but we still have quite a ways to go," Curl surmised. "We'd work hard to get open, but we couldn't get the ball to the open player. When we did, we missed close, chip-shots and we were 0-for-4 in free throws at pivotal moments late in the second half. I'd say we were on schedule as far as our effort was concerned, but we'll have to be a whole lot sharper to beat one of the country's elite teams this Saturday."
Though no UH player scored or rebounded more than junior center ShaRonda Lasseter's 12 points and seven boards, no less than 13 players scored and grabbed rebounds in a balanced Houston attack. International standout Cathy Lida, a junior forward who had 22 points in the previous exhibition, scored 11 points with seven rebounds Tuesday night. Mitchell, a transfer from Connors State junior college, had a solid outing with nine points, five assists and seven steals.
The UH women officially will tip off the season against Kansas at 7:00 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. The Lady Cougars are promoting an attempt to break the program's six-year old attendance record of 6,000-plus fans for the game.
Women's Basketball Linescore Houston Flight 29 43 -- 72 Houston Lady Cougars 38 40 -- 78
Scoring Leaders Jennifer Bell (Flight) 20, Vanessa Thibert (Flight) 16; ShaRonda Lasseter (UH) 12, Cathy Lida (UH) 11; Exhibition Record Houston (2-0);