HOUSTON (Feb. 25) - The University of Houston Lady Cougars ended their eight-game losing streak in large fashion with a 92-38 whipping of Texas-Pan American in front of a season-high 3,417 spectators at Hofheinz Pavilion. It was the home finale for Houston, as the Lady Cougars improve to 7-19 overall while the Lady Broncs drop to 6-21.
The Lady Cougars had a balanced attack in the dismantling of UTPA, as four players scored in double figures led by junior ShaRonda Lasseter's 14. Junior Cathy Lida chipped in 12 while the tandem of junior Monet Sykes and Claire Stavropoulos added 10. It was a career-high 10-spot for the freshman Stavropoulos.
The 54-point win over Pan Am was the largest margin of victory for the Lady Cougars since whipping Prairie View A&M by the same amount, 90-36, on January 3, 1996. The 92 points were not only the most points scored by a Joe Curl coached team at UH, but also the most since the Lady Cougars knocked off TCU, 99-81, in the same season on January 17.
Houston's smothering defense forced the Lady Broncs into 36 turnovers and a miserable .271 (13-48) shooting from the field. Even more impressive was the Lady Cougars performance after building a 55-25 halftime lead-U of H held UTPA to only .179 (5-28) shooting in the second half and outscored the Lady Broncs 37-13.
The crowd at Hofheinz-which was also the third highest crowd in school history-witnessed the smothering Lady Cougar press cause chaos with the Texas-Pan American squad. Houston jumped out to a football-like 21-0 lead before UTPA scored its first basket of the game at the 14:47 mark. The Lady Cougars kept up the pressure, not allowing UTPA to hit double digits in scoring until less than seven minutes left in the first half.
The second half was much of the same, as the Lady Cougars' intensity never waned in the face of Curl's multiple substitutions. Despite only shooting .333 (10-30) in the second half, Houston never allowed UTPA any semblance of offense, even increasing its lead to a maximum of 56 points, 88-32, before going basket-for-basket down the stretch.
Houston concludes its 1999-2000 regular season when it travels to Tampa, Fla., to take on South Florida in a key Conference USA matchup. A win by the Lady Cougars clinches fifth place in the National Division. The C-USA Postseason Tournament begins next week in Louisville, Ky.