HOUSTON, TEXAS - The University of Houston Lady Cougars extended their season-high winning streak to six straight and won their fifth-consecutive game over a Conference USA opponent for the first time in school history as they took down the UAB Lady Blazers by a final of 71-67 on Sunday afternoon (January 28) at Hofheinz Pavilion.
With the victory the Lady Cougars improve to 14-6 overall on the year and 7-1 in C-USA play. Their current winning streak is the longest since the Lady Cougars posted six straight victories from January 25-February 11 of the 1994-95 season. The win also marks their season-best sixth-consecutive home win. They last posted six straight wins at Hofheinz during a 14-game home stretch that began with back-to-back wins in the final two games of the 1990-91 season and extended through the first 12 home contests of the 1991-92 campaign.
Houston came out strong from tip-off and gained an 8-0 advantage before UAB's Deanna Jackson, the overall leading scorer in C-USA, hit a three-pointer nearly four minutes into the game to put the Blazers on the board. Senior Cathy Lida's 12 first-half points, including back-to-back three-point field goals with just over seven minutes remaining, led the Lady Cougars to a 41-31 half-time lead.
Freshman All American/C-USA Freshman of the Year candidate Chandi Jones shot 4-of-7 from the field and went a perfect 3-for-3 in free throws for 11 first-half points. She left the game with a left knee injury that occurred on a block foul by UAB's Mia Thrash in the closing seconds of the first half and did not return to the game.
The Lady Blazers came back in the second half and took a 52-51 lead with 10:44 remaining in the game. Both schools battled back and forth from then on until Houston took over in the final four minutes to comeback and take control of the game. Lida's first of two free throws tied the game and her second gave Houston a 61-60 lead with 4:01 left. Senior ShaRonda Lasseter had a lay-up to give the Lady Cougars a three-point lead, and after UAB came to within one on two free throws by Jackson, senior Jessica Shanklin, Houston's leading threat from outside the arc, nailed a three-pointer with 1:05 left that gave Houston a 66-62 lead.
Shanklin closed out the day with 14 total points to join Jones and Lida in double digits in scoring. Senior Norma Noel played well off the bench and had a team-high nine rebounds while Lida added eight. Freshman defensive strength Nicole Oliver had a game-high five steals, and before leaving the game Jones had four.
Houston remains one half-game ahead of Tulane (7-2) in the National Division race in C-USA. They travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on Charlotte on Friday, February 2 at 7:00pm, then travel to take on the Saint Louis Billikens on Sunday, February 4, at 2:00pm.