HOUSTON, TX (Nov. 21) -- After battling the No. 19 ranked University of Kansas Jayhawks for over three-fourths of Saturday night's 70-56 season-opening loss in Hofheinz Pavilion, the University of Houston women's basketball team can least say with conviction that it indeed expects a breakthough season in 1999-2000. With over 1,200 fans as witnesses, the underdog Lady Cougars gave Kansas all it wanted before the Jayhawks opened up a 14 margin toward the end of the contest.
For Houston head coach Joe Curl however there are no 'moral victories' even when his second year team, that was 5-22 a year ago and who had lost to this same Kansas squad by 25 the year before, was down by only seven points with 4:25 left in the game.
"I really believed we were going to win, I believe that about every game," Curl said. "It was 56-49 and we got a steal by Danielle (Fenderson). Then we got a good look at the basket on a three-point attempt and the shot went in-and-out. That could have made it a four-point game with four minutes left, but obviously that's not what we need to focus on.
"Our shooting wasn't where we needed it to be and Kansas killed us on the glass," Curl continued. "They're a great team so you've got to give them credit for rebounding and shooting. I am pleased because although we had some breakdowns, there's nothing I saw on the court tonight that can't be fixed. We're just going to work harder next time."
Kansas used its size advantage to outrebound Houston 37-12 on UH's offensive end of the court. The Lady Cougars gave them more than enough rebound attempts by shooting only 29.3 percent from the floor. Mix in 58.8 percent free-throw shooting and it was a feat that Houston played Kansas as close as it did for as long as it did.
Junior transfer Norma Noel came off the bench to lead all Lady Cougars with 14 points and six rebounds. International standout Cathy Lida, a junior forward, meanwhile added 12 points and six caroms. Behind Suzi Raymont's 16 points and nine rebounds, Kansas improved to 1-0 in its season opener.
Houston (0-1) will next be on the road at Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday, November 23. Tipoff with the Ragin' Cajuns will be at 7:00 p.m.
Women's Basketball Linescore Kansas Jayhawks 39 31 -- 70 Houston Lady Cougars 27 29 -- 56 Scoring Leaders: Norma Noel (UH) 14; Jennifer Jackson (KU) 16; Season Record Houston (0-1)