HOUSTON, TX -- Good news, bad news.
The good news is that the University of Houston women's basketball team showed a lot of poise and heart in battling back from a 12-point second-half deficit to take an eight-point, 54-46 adavntage on undefeated North Texas with just under nine minutes left to go in game two of UH's own Hilton Hobby Airport Classic. The bad news is the UH women's team couldn't hold off a North Texas comeback and fell by a close score of 71-65 in Saturday night Hofheinz Pavilion.
Things won't get any easier after the tough loss however. The Lady Cougars will next face No. 2 ranked Georgia as play in the Classic concludes on Sunday afternoon. After that, it's on to Austin on Tuesday, December 7, for a showdown with Texas Lady Longhorns.
It was a feat Houston was able to recover like it did from its erratic first half. The Lady Cougars were called for twice as many personal fouls as North Texas (7 fouls to UH's 15) and the Lady Eagles helped their own cause with steady 15-of-20 free throw shooting in the first half. Houston meanwhile only went to the line six times in the first half and North Texas was able to build a comfortable 42-30 lead at the intermission despite 21 turnovers by the Mean Green.
The comfort didn't last long. Houston went on a 24-4 run to open the second half and took a 54-46 lead midway through the period. As quick as it seemed UH had built the eight-point lead, the Lady Cougars however could manage only 11 points in the final nine minutes of the game and North Texas re-took the lead for good at the 5:18 mark.
Houston shot better than they had its previous four games (37.7 percent), but the misses were costly. North Texas our-rebounded the Lady Cougars by an almost 3-to-1 margin on UH's offensive glass and the Mean Green allowed the Lady Cougars only six second-chance points all night. Houston fell to 1-4 while the Lady Eagles improved to a perfect 5-0.
UH was led by senior guard Kokeesha Randle's season-high 14 points, but no Lady Cougar had more than five rebounds. The Lady Eagles were paced by Empress Drane and Jalie Mitchell, who both scored 14 points on the night.
Both teams will be back in action at Hofheinz Pavilion Sunday as play concludes in the Classic. North Texas will play Alcorn State at 2:00 p.m. while Houston takes on No. 2 ranked Georgia at 4:00 p.m. In the earlier game of the tournament Georgia defeated Alcorn State 78-38 to improve to 9-1 on the year.
Women's Basketball Linescore North Texas 42 29 -- 71 Houston Lady Cougars 30 35 -- 65 Scoring Leaders Kokeesha Randle (UH) 14; Empress Drane, Jalie Mitchell (UNT) 14; Season Records Houston (1-4); North Texas (5-0)