HOUSTON, TEXAS - The University of Houston Lady Cougars returned to their home court at Hofheinz Pavilion on Friday (Feb. 9) night after back-to-back losses last weekend on the road ready to show the rest of the conference they were for real.
The Lady Cougars came out strong from tip-off, scoring seven points within the first minute of the game for the takeaway lead, and went on to snap their two-game losing streak in handing the Southern Miss Golden Eagles a 75-53 defeat. Houston has now won two series against Conference USA opponents this season, having taken both games against South Florida and now Southern Miss.
Houston has a season-high five players reach double figures in scoring, including seniors Jessica Shanklin (22), Cathy Lida (12), Monet Sykes (13) and ShaRonda Lasseter (10) and freshman Nicole Oliver (10). Point guard Shanklin, who scored a combined 45 points in Houston's two games last weekend at Charlotte and Saint Louis, made four of her six three-point attempts, including three in the first half, and shot 8-of-14 on the night overall as in bucketing 20-or-more points for the third-straight game. She added a team-leading eight assists and four steals.
Sykes and junior transfer Valerie Muoneke each posted a team-leading six rebounds. The Lady Cougars shot 55.2 percent from the field in the first half and entered half-time with a 41-23 lead. Southern Miss mustered a comeback in the closing minutes of the game and came within 15 points before the Houston defense, which forced 26 Golden Eagle turnovers and had 14 steals in the game, halted their offense.
With the victory the Lady Cougars improve to 15-8 overall on the year and 8-3 in C-USA play. They remain a half-game behind National Division-rival Tulane (9-3), who they host on Sunday (Feb. 11) afternoon at 2:00pm. Houston defeated Tulane in overtime, 90-80, the previous time these two schools faced each other on Jan. 14 in New Orleans.