Houston Roundball Review: Women's Hoops

This is The Houston Roundball Review's (www.TheHRR.com) blog to discuss women's basketball. The HRR began in 1994 and has been media credentialed to cover college and pro hoops since 1997. Member of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lady Coogs Play Tough but lose to Michigan State

First things first, Sunday's game between the Houston Lady Cougars and Michigan State Spartans started at 2pm. A few media outlets incorrectly reported the start time as 4pm. Perhaps that discrepancy in time resulted in the 414 fans in attendance at Hofheinz Pavilion. It's a shame the crowd was so small because the game was, to my surprise, very competitive. Michigan State (4-1) defeated Houston (0-4) 68 to 55.

Michigan State is a team from the highly touted Big Ten Conference while Houston hails from the lesser known Conference USA. Considering Michigan State boasts seven players who are listed as six feet one inch or taller (including 6'9 freshman center Allyssa DeHaan) compared to just two for Houston, Sunday's match-up was a "Goliath vs. David" in more ways than one. Unlike the biblical tale, Goliath won this match-up; but, David certainly put up a good, tough fight. In fact, DeHaan finished the game with just four points on 1 for 7 shooting as newest Lady Cougar Sunshine Misa-Uli (5'10, maybe 5'11 tops) muscled the tall, lanky freshman throughout the ball game.

The Spartans raced to a 10 - 0 lead at the start of the game as seniors Rene Haynes and Victoria Lucas-Perry scored all 10 points. Houston's Sha'Ratta Hawkins split two free throws to put the Lady Cougars on the scoreboard. However, Lucas-Perry hit two more three-point shots to put MSU ahead 18 to 4.

Hawkins scored Houston's first 9 points before teammate Ryan Bradley drained a jump shot and a three-pointer to pull the Lady Cougars within six (20-14) with 10:46 left in the first half. Lucas-Perry and Haynes, once again, responded with three-point baskets during a 10 to 5 Spartans' run to stretch Houston's deficit to 11 (30-19) with 6:51 left. Houston closed the half outscoring MSU 15 to 11 to head to halftime trailing the Spartans 41 to 34.

Both teams shot well in the opening 20 minutes. MSU hit 50% (15 for 30) while UH connected on 46.4% (13 for 28).

The second half was another story...

...Neither made a field goal until Lucas-Perry scored a lay-up at the 14:50 mark of the second half to give the Spartans a 46-36 lead. Houston freshman Ashlee' Joseph made a lay-up; junior point guard Maya Onikute hit a jump shot; and junior wing Whitney James split two free throws to narrow MSU's lead to five (46-41) with 12:57 remaining.

Following a jump shot by Lucas-Perry to give the Spartans an eight point lead (54-46) at the 8:22 mark of the second stanza, neither team scored until Haynes converted a lay-up at the 5:46 mark to give the Spartans a 10 point lead.

Houston's Ryan Meyers scored the Lady Cougars final basket of the game with 2:36 left in the game and Houston still trailing 61-52.

Houston never led in the ball game; and, Michigan State outscored Houston 23 to 12 in points off turnovers. However, the Lady Cougars battled on the boards (losing 38 to 37) and outscored the Spartans 17 to 12 in second chance points. Meyers led Houston with 12 rebounds while MSU's Aisha Jefferson pulled down a game-high 15 boards.

Hawkins led the Lady Cougars in scoring with 16 points while Lucas-Perry was the game's leading scorer with 21.

Houston's next game is on the road Thursday, November 30, versus West Virginia.
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lady Owls win wild one over Mississippi in two OTs

I don't believe I've seen a game like Friday night's Rice - Mississippi double overtime game. The Lady Owls improved to 3 and 0 with a 92 to 91 win after junior guard Kadie Riverin (18 points and five assists) hit a runner (off one foot) in the lane with 7 seconds remaining in the second overtime. Riverin scored six of Rice's seven points in the second overtime. Mississippi called timeout; however, the Lady Rebels failed to get a good shot as the game clock expired. Rice players rejoiced and hugged each other as they ran onto Autry Court.

The game was definitely competitive; but, it was hardly a thing of beauty. Five players (three from Rice and two from Mississippi) fouled out. Rice turned the ball over 33 times and just one of their 14 three-point shot attempts. Mississippi attempted 101 shots from the field (I've never seen a women's team do that before); but, they only made 34 of those shots for an ice cold 33.7%. To make matters worse, the Lady Rebels missed a staggering 25 free throws out of their 46 free throw attempts! Unbelievable!

In addition to getting a look at Rice play a team from the Southeastern Conference, I was looking forward to seeing Mississippi senior shooting guard Armentie Price. Price was named one of the top shooting guards in the entire country by many basketball publications. Well, to say Armentie had a bad game would be an understatement. She made just 3 of her 13 field goals; bricked 9 of her 12 free throws; and finished the game with just 9 points. Price entered the game averaging 29 points and 7 rebounds per game in this very young season. Kudos to Owls' senior wing player Samantha Stovall for playing outstanding defense on Price. Stovall was Price's shadow whenever Price was on the court.

Rice's rock, the ever steady Lauren Neaves finished the game with 28 points and 17 rebounds -- in just 35 minutes due to foul trouble. Neaves had a chance to ice the game in regulation; but, with Rice leading 75 to 73, her fast break lay-up attempt rimmed in and out. Mississippi rebounded the missed shot; called time-out; and tied the game on a lay-up by Shawn Goff.

The game featured some gawdy numbers. In addition to Neaves' double-double, juniors Valeria Berezhynska (14 points and 10 rebounds) and Tiffany Loggins (10 points and 10 rebounds) also added double-doubles.

Goff finished the game with 18 points and 19 rebounds for the Lady Rebels while teammate Alliesha Easley scored 24 points.

The Lady Owls head back on the road this Monday to play Arkansas-Little Rock. Tip-off is set for 7pm.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lady Coogs Lose Season Opener to Texas Tech

I probably won't write this too often; but, it's not everyday I see positives in an eighteen point loss. However, I definitely saw good things in the Houston Lady Cougars 69 to 51 loss to the Texas Tech Lady Raiders Tuesday night at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Similar to a few occasions last season, UH played the game with just seven players due to various circumstances; however, unlike last year's squad, this team showed promise, toughness, athleticism (thank goodness), and signs of better days ahead.

First things first, Ryan Bradley (Houston Madison HS), one of two true freshmen for UH this season, scored a game-high 18 points on perfect shooting. Bradley took eight shots and made all eight (including 2 for 2 from the three-point range). Next, point guard Maya Onikute (Barton County Community College), scored 15 points; pulled down seven rebounds; and handed out five assists. Senior Ryan Meyers pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.

Tech jumped to an early lead which seemed to stun the young Lady Cougars; however, Bradley was inserted into the game and she drained a few perimeter shots which appeared to settle down her teammates. Houston trailed 34 to 26 at halftime despite shooting just 37.5% (12 for 32) in the opening half.

Tech started the second half with a 10-2 run to push the lead to 44 - 28; but, to their credit, UH did not quit. Houston pulled within eight points (59 to 51) with 5:05 remaining in the game; however, the Lady Cougars ran out of gas (and stopped passing the ball to Bradley) down the stretch and went scoreless as Tech finished the game with a 10 to 0 run.

Houston travels to Durham, NC, to face sixth-ranked Duke Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is set for 1 pm.

UH's non-conference schedule is brutal with games against more ranked opponents (Michigan State and USC) as well as tough road games at TCU, West Virginia, and Charlotte. However, Houston's depth should improve immensely in a matter of weeks as junior college post player Sunshine Misa-Uli is expected to join the team when volleyball season ends. Next, Tye Jackson, preseason Conference USA First Team choice, is expected to return in about four weeks following knee surgery. Lastly, two more players Nakazi Glover and ShaQualon McKinney are expected to join the team in December once they get their academics in order. Therefore, when conference play begins in January, Houston's roster could increase from seven to 11.

Houston will take some lumps for awhile; but, things should get better later this season.
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Robbins Named Player of the Week

Jillian Robbins, senior, forward, Spring, Texas, Klein HS, earned the first Conference USA women’s basketball player of the week honor for the 2006-07 season. This is her seventh career honor as the senior All-American candidate received player of the week laurels six times a year ago.

Robbins registered her 47th career double-double with game-highs of 29 points and 14 rebounds against Southeast Missouri State to open regular season action. The 6-0 forward also posted team-bests of four steals and two blocks against the Redhawks.

The senior All-America candidate shot .643 from the field and .688 from the line. She accounted for 43.3 percent of TU’s scoring and nearly 37 percent of the team’s rebounding.

It still bothers me neither Rice nor Houston recruited Jillian when she attended Klein.

Jillian and Rice's Lauren Neaves will probably win most of the Player of the Week honors in Conference USA this season.


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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Owls Improve to 2 and 0

I'm not going to nitpick at the first two opponents (Monmouth and Rider) for the Rice Lady Owls this season. Both games were on the road and road wins are tough to come by. Period. However, after today's 92 to 57 win over Rider, the Owls' competition gets considerably tougher.

Next up is Mississippi this Friday, November 17, at Autry Court. Tip-off is set for 7pm. (Mississippi defeated Rice last season 110 to 63 in Oxford, Mississippi, led by Armentie Price's 23 points and 12 rebounds.)

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- Lauren Neaves had a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds, and four other Rice players scored in double figures as the Owls rolled past Rider 92-57 Sunday at Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J. The win moved Rice to 2-0 on the year, while Rider dropped to 0-1.

The 92 points were the most scored by a Rice team since a 97-55 win over Fresno State on Jan. 22, 2004. As a team, the Owls shot 55.6 percent from the field while holding the Broncs to 29.8 percent shooting.

New Jersey native Maudess Fulton had a big cheering contingent in the crowd for her homecoming as she scored 14 points, while point guard Kadie Riverin added 13, forward Samantha Stovall 12 and center Valeriya Berezhynska 10.
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Friday, November 10, 2006

Owls Announce Signing of Three Players

Today, Rice Owls head coach Greg Williams announced the signing of three high school players to National Letters of Intent:

Memri Camron, 5'10, Port Arthur, TX; Hamshire-Fannett HS.
Brittany Hudson, 5'7, Houston, TX; Fort Bend Austin HS.
Melissa Whitmayer, 6'3, Longview, TX; Longview HS.

Check out the press release: here.
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lady Coogs Announce Five Signees

Today, Houston Lady Cougars head coach Joe Curl announced the signing of five players to National Letters of Intent during the Fall signing period (Nov. 8 - 15).

The five players are:
Cobilyn Hill, 6'3", Houston, TX; Aldine Eisenhower HS.
Brittany Scott, 5'6", Orange, TX; West Orange Stark HS.
Brittany Mason, 6'0", Houston, TX; LaPorte HS.
Megan Morton, 5'11", Winnsobro, TX; Winnsobro HS.
Courtney Taylor, 6'1", Crockett, TX; Crockett HS.

A sixth player, Jasmine Johnson, 5'6", Omaha, NE; Omaha Central HS, is expected to join this class. Her signing should be announced early next week.

Read the official release from UH...

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

AP's Preseason Top 25 from Seven Conferences

The Associated Press released its Preseason Top 25 Poll today. All 25 teams come from just a combined seven conferences. The Pac 10 (Stanford, Arizona State, California, USC, and UCLA)and SEC (Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt) each have five teams ranked in the top 25.

The Big 12 is next with four teams (Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Texas) followed by three teams each from the ACC (top-ranked Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke); Big 10 (Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan State); and the Big East (Connecticut, Rutgers, and DePaul).

The Mountain West Conference boasts two teams (New Mexico and BYU).

1. Maryland (34-4)
2. North Carolina (33-2)
3. Oklahoma (31-5)
4. Stanford (26-8)
5. Tennessee (31-5)
6. Duke (31-4)
7. Ohio State (29-3)
8. Connecticut (32-5)
9. Georgia (23-9)
10. LSU (31-4)
11. Purdue (26-7)
12. Rutgers (27-5)
13. Arizona State (25-7)
14. Texas A&M (23-9)
15. Kentucky (22-9)
16. Vanderbilt (21-11)
17. Michigan State (24-10)
18. New Mexico (22-10)
19. Baylor (26-7)
20. DePaul (27-7)
21. California (18-12)
22. USC (19-12)
23. UCLA (21-11)
24. Brigham Young (26-6)
25. Texas (13-15)
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Friday, November 03, 2006

Strongest Roster of Coaches in 25 Years Set to Speak

The WBCA sent this press release out this afternoon.

ATLANTA, Ga. - The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) is proud to announce the lineup of speakers at the 2007 WBCA National Convention. If you want to hear from coaches who tally a total of four World Championships, 12 NCAA Division I National Championships and 36 NCAA Women's Final Four appearances, then Cleveland is the place to be! This year's roster dons nine elite coaches who have each made a huge impact on women's basketball and the growth of the game.

"The 2007 WBCA National Convention will feature the strongest roster of coaches in our 25 year history. Coaches are the most precious commodity in our sport today. We look forward to offering them this platform to provide input and insight into this year's convention," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass.

Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut), Pokey Chatman (Louisiana State University), Van Chancellor (Houston Comets), Anne Donovan (Seattle Storm), Brenda Frese (University of Maryland), Gail Goestenkors (Duke University), Sylvia Hatchell (University of North Carolina), Joanne P. McCallie (Michigan State University) and Pat Summitt (University of Tennessee) are each set to speak in Cleveland during the 2007 WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four, on March 31 - April 3, 2007.

Visit WBCA.org for updates on finalized times and dates for each speaker. Please note that coaches participating in the NCAA Women's Final Four will not be speaking.

Founded in 1981, the WBCA promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For additional information about the WBCA, please visit WBCA.org.

Based on the elite teams of the college coaches mentioned in the release as well as the sentence stating coaches participating in the Final Four will not be speaking, I wonder which of the college coaches mentioned above won't be speaking at the WBCA's National Convention...
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