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).

Friday, November 21, 2008

UH 70, Miami 64

HOUSTON, TX -- As the 2008 - 2009 season progresses, time will tell just how big the 70 to 64 win by the University of Houston over the Miami Hurricanes was Friday night. Clearly, Houston's win over a team from the highly touted Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a nice feather in the cap for Conference USA; but, more importantly, the win may boost the confidence of the young Houston squad.

Houston (3-1) suffered a 69 to 47 loss on the road to Oregon State earlier this week; and, for all practical purposes, that game was over by halftime. However, the Lady Cougars continued to compete in the second half and actually won those 20 minutes of action.

"We started to scatter and we lost our composure," said Houston head coach Joe Curl on the loss to Oregon State. "At halftime, we had a 'come to Jesus' meeting about competing. It wasn't a matter of winning the ball game at that point. The team really grew up in that second half."

The second half showing helped UH in the matchup with Miami Friday night inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

The Hurricanes (1-2) jumped to a 10 to 4 lead thanks to eight points from LaToya Cunningham; but, Houston responded to the challenge to tie the game at 10. Once UH's sophomore sensation, Courtney Taylor, put Houston ahead 12 to 10, Houston led the rest of the first half and took a 34 to 30 lead into the locker rooms.

Taylor produced eight points and six rebounds in the half; but, teammate Jasmine Johnson (sophomore guard) came off the bench and sparked UH with 10 points (4 for 6 from the field) and four rebounds. Freshman point guard Porsche Landry added eight points in the first half.

"It's not about what I did," said Jasmine Johnson. "It's about team. I just did whatever I needed to do to help my team win."

Miami began the second half with a 7 to 2 burst to lead 37 to 36 with 18:16 remaining; however, Houston's Brittney Scott (sophomore guard) drained her first of four second-half three point shots to put the Lady Cougars back on top.

The game see-sawed back and forth for the next eight minutes until Houston's lone senior Zane Jakobsone broke a 53 to 53 tie with a made jumper. Then, Brittney Scott hit another three-point shot to give Houston a 58 to 53 lead with 8:53 remaining in the game. Jakobsone scored all eight of her points in the second half to help UH keep the Hurricanes at bay.

"I thought Zane stepped in and did an incredible job not only offensively but defensively," Curl commented.

Miami made one final push thanks to freshman forward Shenise Johnson. Johnson made key plays on offense and defense to pull Miami within three points (twice) in the final two and a half minutes. Johnson finished the game with a game-high 21 points.

Miami sent Houston to the foul line; but, Taylor and Landry combined to shoot 7 for 8 from the charity stripe to help seal Houston's victory.

Taylor scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds for her third double-double in four games.

"Boxing out is important because, as a small line up, you have people that are taller than you which could cause easy put backs which can get you down; so, boxing out is very important," commented the 6'0" Taylor.

Landry and Johnson eached scored 13 points while Brittney Scott finished the game with 12 points.

"I think that was a big win for us," Taylor said after the game. "Last year, we started out super slow. Miami is a very big win. We know they were after us because we had beaten them three years straight."

Houston heads back to the road this Tuesday, November 25, with a game versus top-25 TCU. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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