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).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Owls Come from Ahead and get Routed by UALR

HOUSTON, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) -- The Rice Owls took a 28 to 25 lead into the locker room Tuesday night and scored the first seven points of the second half to lead the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) 35 to 25 with 18:33 remaining in the game.

Sounds good for Rice, right?

The lead disappeared in less than three minutes as UALR's offense heated up while Rice completely collapsed on offense and defense. Over the next 10 minutes and 18 seconds, the Lady Trojans (3-1) outscored the Owls 30 to 2 to erase the 10 point Rice lead and lead the helpless Owls by 18 points (55 to 37).

The Owls lost the game 73 to 54 in front of an announced crowd of 522 fans. Owls head coach Greg Williams was his usual straightforward self after the ball game.

"I'm baffled by it. I'm extremely disappointed. We've got a lot of work to do," said Williams.

UALR's Chastity Reed scored a game-high 29 points on 13 for 26 field goal shooting. Reed's athleticism overwhelmed the Owls (0-4). Reed drove to the basket when she needed to and hit tough pull up jump shots as well.

Rice's Morgan Mayse was the only Owls player to score in double figures (10 points).

The Owls shot 31.5% (17 for 54 from the field) for the game; however, the Owls shot 26.7% (8 for 30) in the second half while UALR was on fire shooting 18 for 26 (69.2%).

The only positive Coach Williams took from the game was his team's showing in the first half.

"You take the fact that your first half was solid," Williams said. "We're not following our defensive game plan the whole game. That's frustrating. We're still struggling with rotations and trying to figure that out."

Tuesday's woeful second half showing is the second straight sorry second half for the Owls. This past Saturday afternoon, the Owls gave up 65 second half points to Stephen F. Austin which erased another halftime lead and resulted in loss number three on this young season.

"We've had two incredible turnarounds in the second half the last two games," Williams commented. "Almost thirty points both games. That's hard to watch. It's very, very frustrating on our end and frustrating for our players. But, they've got to work through it."

The Owls will try to "work through it" this weekend in Miami at the Wyndham Miami Thanksgiving Tournament which starts Friday, November 27, when the Owls play Massachusetts at 5pm.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lady Tigers' Comeback Falls Short Versus Islanders

HOUSTON, TX (H&PE Arena) -- The Texas Southern Lady Tigers trimmed a 22 point deficit to just seven points with 2:44 remaining; however, the Lady Tigers would get no closer and lost 71 to 62 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday afternoon on the TSU campus in front of 687 fans.

Simply put TSU could not stop the Islanders from rebounding the basketball.

How does 60 rebounds sound? A&M-Corpus Christi out rebounded the Lady Tigers 60 to 39 in the ball game.

TSU (1-2) head coach Yolanda Broughton dwelled on that stat over and over after the ball game.

"Sixty rebounds! Whoa!," said Coach Broughton. "I have never seen that before. I have never seen that. We knew that rebounding was going to be a challenge for us. We knew that, basically, how they score their points is off their rebounding."

Texas Southern trailed 39 to 19 at halftime and 64 to 44 with five minutes left in the game.

"We're still not putting two halves together. Tale of two halves is, basically, what we have going on right now. But, I do commend my kids on playing with heart. They truly revealed character and heart in the second half."

TSU's Sarah Stewart sparked a 15 to 2 run by draining two three-point shots; one steal; and one rebound in just two minutes and 16 seconds to pull the Lady Tigers with seven points (66 to 59) with 2:44 remaining in the game.

Texas Southern forced another turnover; and, set up a play for junior post Gabrielle Rosigi. Rosigi's jump shot rolled out; and, the Islanders bounced back and made five of six free throw attempts to put the game away.

The Lady Tigers were no match for the Islanders (3-0) down on the block. Adrienne Scott (15 points and 14 rebounds) and Elisa Beagle (17 points and 11 rebounds) combined to shoot 13 for 17 from the field as they dominated the paint. Myeisha Myles added 14 points (6 for 8 shooting) and nine boards off the bench for good measure.

"They killed us inside a little bit," Coach Broughton added.

Texas Southern shot 33.8% (25 for 74) from the field while A&M-Corpus Christi connected on 50.0% (28 for 56) of their field goal attempts.

"Sixty rebounds. Oh, gosh, I won't sleep," Coach Broughton lamented.

TSU's next game is Monday, November 23, in Fort Worth, TX, versus TCU. Tip is set for 11:30 a.m.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coogs Shut Down Beavers

HOUSTON, TX -- If you like physical basketball combined with low scoring, Hofheinz Pavilion was the place to be Thursday evening. The Houston Cougars and the Oregon State Beavers combined for 81 points; however, the Coogs scored the majority of those points and defeated the Beavers 49 to 32 in front of an announced crowd of 373 fans.

The 32 points were the fewest points allowed by the Coogs since December 5, 2001, when UH defeated Prairie View 68 to 30.

With the win, Houston improved to 3 and 0 this season as well as avenged last season's blowout loss (69 to 47) to Oregon State in Corvallis, OR.

That loss was motivation for the Cougars for tonight's game.

"Definitely.", said Houston's Porsche Landry. Landry scored a game 15 points (7 for 10) from the field; however, Landry did commit eight of Houston's 21 turnovers (seven came in the first half).

Courtney Taylor added, "Yea, after that game, I was pretty mad. I was more embarrassed than anything because we didn't come out playing well at all. This year, we feel like our goal is to win Conference and our goal is to put Houston on the map; so, we wanted to pay them back for last year."

UH head coach Joe Curl agreed with his players.

"Last year, the refs threw the ball up and they (OSU) beat the dog out of us for about 40 minutes; so, this (win) is very satisfying to see our program is coming back to where it was."

Defense was definitely at a premium. Neither team scored until OSU's Brittany Kennedy made a layup at the 16:56 mark of the first half. Houston didn't score until Landry connected on a layup at the 15:04 mark to trim the Coogs' deficit to 4 to 2.

Landry's quickness was a factor the entire game -- sometimes as a negative; however, she continued forcing the tempo because, as she said after the game, "We watched film of them and I saw that they were really slow."

Taylor picked up the 28th double-double (14 points and 19 rebounds) of her career to move her into a tie for third (with Sonya Watkins and Vickey Finch) in school history. Taylor's 19 boards set a personal career-high.

The Coogs closed out the first half with a 13 to 5 run (over the final 10 minutes) to lead the Beavers 23 to 15 at the break. Each team committed 14 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. Oregon State shot a frigid 21.2% (7 for 33) from the field while Houston was practically on fire in comparison shooting 34.5% (10 for 29) from the field.

Oregon State took advantage of poor Houston defense to score the first eight points of the second half to tie the game at 23 with 17:54 remaining in the game. However, over the next 2:36, Landry scored five points and picked up one assist in a 11 to 0 run to blow the game open.

Houston (3-0) did not allow Oregon State (1-1) to get closer than eight points the rest of the game.

The Beavers shot just 27.3% (15 for 55) for the game. Talisa Rhea, Oregon State's leading scorer, was held to just four points on 2 for 12 shooting -- including three airballs.

"The bottom line is we played really physical," Coach Curl concluded. "For thirty-five minutes, I thought we played defense that we've played all year."
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Owls No Match for Aggies

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Rice Owls may still enjoy a successful season; however, an 0 and 2 start does not bode well. Losing the season opener to Texas-Arlington, 81 to 64, last Friday was disappointing; and, getting whacked by 36 points (86 to 50) Tuesday night by a very good Texas A&M squad was not a surprise. The concern comes from the numerous turnovers (49 in two games) and the very, very poor defense the Owls have displayed thus far.

The Owls have 10 freshmen and sophomores this season; so, youth and inexperience is a factor in the shaky start; however, after Tuesday's loss to the Aggies, Owls head coach Greg Williams cited lack of focus as a problem as well.

"We were shooting two free throws; and, they had a player get a lay-up at the other end; and, my player said she didn't know where her player was. How can that happen? That's just lack of focus. It would be different if we're in transition; but, we're shooting two free throws and you don't know where your player is. That's just one example."

Jessica Goswitz, freshman guard from Webb School in Knoxville, TN, has been a bright spot for Williams thus far. Goswitz scored 12 points in her collegiate debut versus UTA and 10 more points versus the Aggies.

Goswitz was the only Owls' player to score in double figures versus the Ags.

"I'm very proud of freshman Jessica Gowsitz who was our only player in double figures. She played her heart out. We just have to get more doing the same thing."

Coach Williams said simply the Owls have to improve.

"We just gotta try to get better," Coach Williams added. "I'm disappointed we didn't follow our defensive game plan like we wanted to. We were kind of staying with it the first eight to 10 minutes of the game; and, we were in the game. At that point, even though we were struggling to score, we started making a lot of defensive breakdowns. Players deviating from how we wanted to defend certain things that they were doing. That started our downfall.

"We're fouling too much. We committed 28 fouls in our first game and 26 tonight. That shows a lack of commitment to help and moving your feet and having pride in your individual defense. We just have to keep working on that."

The Owls travel to Nacogdoches Saturday, November 21, to play Stephen F. Austin. Tip is set for 4:30 p.m. 
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16 Ags Play in Rout of Rice

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Texas A&M Aggies and the Rice Owls are in two very, very different places right now. Though both squads are young, the Aggies are taller and more athletic. Tuesday, the Aggies took full advantage of their height and athleticism advantage to defeat the Owls 86 to 50 in front of 3,834 fans gathered inside Reed Arena.

Sixteen Aggies were in uniform for the game. All Sixteen of them played in the game.

No Aggie player played more than 22 minutes -- senior wing Tanisha Smith (6'0").

Smith scored 14 points on 5 for 9 shooting from the field.

The Aggies started the game slowly; but, Smith scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half to help kick start the Owls and help the Aggies to a 47 to 22 lead at halftime.

"Their (Rice) guards were way shorter than us," Smith said after the game. "We had an advantage in the guard position just shooting over them and going to the rack. In the timeout (early in the game), Coach (Gary Blair) talked to us and then we got it going."

Danielle Adams (6'1") led the Aggies with a game-high 15 points off the bench. Adams added four rebounds; four assists; 1 blocked shot; and 1 steal for good measure.

"I thought we played very well in spots in the first half," said Coach Blair after the game. "It took a while for us to get started because sometimes we were open too much and everybody started firing it up. After a couple of timeouts, we just started running set plays; trying to get the ball inside more.

"Danielle had plenty of shots; but, she's just got to work on it. I think you were able to see some of the other things that she can do. She can do a lot; but, this team was pretty short that we were playing."

The Aggies (2-0) head to the road and play Auburn on Sunday, November 22.

"We'll be going against Auburn who has 6'7" (KeKe Carrier) and 6'8" (Pascale West). Whether or not they start those two or not, I imagine we'll see Carrier a lot in that game."

"Now, obviously, we wanted to play a lot of kids because we're going to go on the road," added Coach Blair. "And, probably, you're not going to see too many of them in there; but, this was a game for our freshmen to get their feet wet."

Coach Blair got what he wanted out of the game.

"A 'w'. Playing 16 kids. Our freshmen, believe it or not, looked better in this game than they did in the last game (Sunday versus Duke); but, they were not playing the number six team in the country. 

"Remember, two years ago or three years ago, we beat Rice 65 to 64 (January 2, 2006) here when they had those two post players (Lauren Neaves and Valeriya Berezhynska) that are now playing overseas and playing very well. Then (the next season, December 1, 2006), we went down to Rice and got beat by 13 and Morenike (Atunrase) got hurt. It wouldn't have mattered whethered Morenike got hurt or not. They just flat kicked us. Greg (Owls head coach Greg Williams) is an excellent coach. He just needs to develop some of those kids. Everything cycles. He'll get it going again." 
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bad Night for 2 Big 12 Teams in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The Big 12 prides itself on being the best conference in women's college basketball. Tuesday night, that pride was wounded by the two giants of women's college hoops as the Tennessee Lady Volunteers rolled over the Texas Tech Lady Raiders 91 to 53 in game 1 of the "Road to the Championship San Antonio" followed by the Connecticut Huskies, the defending champs, wiping out the Texas Longhorns 83 to 58 in game 2 in front of an announced crowd of 4,586 fans. (Personally, I thought more people were inside the AT&T Center watching the games.)

"We've got 10 freshmen and sophomores," said Texas Tech head coach Kristi Curry. "We're trying to put the wheels back on the bus one wheel at a time."

Tennessee's height and length advantage gave the Lady Raiders fits throughout the ball game. Texas Tech finished with more turnovers (17) than made baskets (16).

Tennessee sandwiched a 50 to 4 around halftime to blow the game completely wide open.

"Obviously, I thought we were much better in the second half," said Tennessee's head coach Pat Summitt.

The Lady Vols led Texas Tech 30 to 17 at the half.

"I liked the intensity overall. I felt like the people that had to step up early stepped up early," Coach Summitt added. "Shekinna Stricklen has been doing a great job for us. It's good to see Glory Johnson around the rim and getting a lot of scoring opportunities for us. That took a lot off of Kelly Cain. She's been teriffic for us. Overall, I liked the balanced scoring. I liked the commitment to defense in the second half and to our board play; so, I think it was good for us to be able to experiment a little bit in our zone and our man defense."

Freshman Taber Spani led Tennesse in scoring with 18 points; followed by 17 points (and six boards) from Glory Johnson and 16 points (seven rebounds and five assists) from Shekinna Stricklen.

"You have to give Tennessee credit," Coach Curry added. I thought we missed a lot of open works and we have to give them credit; and, it's a lot their reason their length really hurts. This really doesn't define our season; and we have to use every moment as a learning situation. And, when we were called with this opportunity (to participate in the "Road to the Championship San Antonio"), you can't turn it down. It was the right step to take in order to get Tech back to where we want it to be. It's about getting better every day and learning form today as hard as its been."

In the second game, the Longhorns simply couldn't put the ball in the basket. The Horns made just 25.7% (9 for 35) from the field in the first half; and, despite Connecticut's foul trouble, the Horns could not take advantage at the opportunit to pull within 10 points late in the first half. The Huskies took advantage and finished the half leading the Horns 48 to 27.

"I thought we got some really good looks early," said Texas' head coach Gail Goestenkors. "We just had a lot rim in and rim out that could have made a difference for us for our confidence level. Then, I think we got frustrated and then I thought we forced some shots and took some bad shots. We have to stay disciplined in our offense when things don't go our way."

Coach G added these words she told her team after the game.

"I told them Connecticut is the best team in the country and tonight they showed why. If we want to play at that level and if we want to be that good, then we're going to have to do a much better job in our practices to prepare for games like this. We're going to have play with much more intensity and focus. I thought we came in and out of the game with our focus. We had spurts in the game where we'd be pretty good; and, then we'd lose our focus. Against a great team like Connecticut, you can't afford that. You've got to play at an elite level for 40 minutes. Not for 30. I thought we played maybe for 20. Actually, I said 15 where it was an elite level. The rest of it was very average or below average then you get blown out."

All five starters for the Huskies scored in double figures led by, Maya Moore (20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots), the best player in the country and Tina Charles, (15 points and 11 boards -- in just 18 minutes), the second best player in the country.

The 2009 - 2010 NCAA Championship will take place in San Antonio in April; and, Coach G still hopes to participate; but, she realizes her team has areas for improvement.

"It's a long road to get back to San Antonio. I think Connecticut showed us a lot of the weaknesses that we have which is exactly why we played the game. We now know what we need to work on to get better. We'll go home. Our practices will be definitely be much more intense than they've been; and, we'll definitely be focusing on rebounding as well."
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Balanced Scoring Helps Aggies Beat Duke

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Friday night, the #6 ranked Duke Blue Devils defeated Houston Baptist University by 69 points (104 to 35). Sunday afternoon, the Blue Devils faced a much, much better opponent than the HBU Huskies -- the #16 ranked Texas A&M Aggies on the Aggies' home court inside Reed Arena.

The Aggies (1-0) overwhelmed the Blue Devils (1-1) 95 to 77 in front of a record (for a non-conference Aggies home game) 6,866 fans.

Danielle Adams (6'1", 2008-2009 junior college Player of the Year) scored a team-high 24 points in just 22 minutes. Adams does not look like the stereotypical basketball player; however, as Aggies head coach Gary Blair told the media, Adams "knows how to play the game".

Adams became a crowd favorite Sunday afternoon. She hit one three-point shot in the first half which started some buzz in the crowd; however, Adams drained two more threes in the second half (as if to say 'I can make this shot all day.') and scored on the low block and in the paint.

"(The three - point shot) is something I've been working on a very long time. I decided to show it off today," Adams said rather matter-of-factly.

Adams added five rebounds and one blocked shot.

"I'm real happy," said Adams after the game. "We got a win against the number six ranked team in the country; so, I'm really happy about that."

Aggies' junior point guard Sydney Colson scored 17 points and dished out a career-high 10 assists.

Damitria Buchanan blocked a game-high seven shots.

The Aggies led the Blue Devils 45 to 35 at halftime.

Sydney Colson keyed a 9 to 2 run in the first 3:47 of the second half with seven consecutive points and 1 assist to put the Aggies up 54 to 41 with 17:13 left in the game. However, Duke went on an 11 to 1 run to trim the Ags' lead to just three points (55 to 52) with 14:19 remaining.

Then, Adams went to work. Adams scored 10 points during a decisive 15 to 2 run to give A&M a 70 to 54 lead with 10:06 left in the ball game. During the run, Adams scored a lay-up; converted a three point play with a turnaround bucket and the hoop and the foul shot; a jumper; and a three-point shot from the top of the key.

Duke could only manage to pull within 12 points the rest of the ball game.

The Aggies shot 56.9% (33 for 58) from the field and limited Duke to just 26 for 78 (33.3%) shooting. The Aggies dished out a remarkable 25 assists on those 33 made baskets.

Five Aggies scored in double figures.

"The past few years we've always had go to players -- 'We go to Danielle Gant. We go to T.K. Starks' -- but, this year I think we're so much more balanced," said Sydney Colson. "It's much harder to guard us at this point. We have a 5 player that can step out and shoot the ball like you've seen. Our twos and threes -- Tanisha (Smith) and Tyra (White) -- did an amazing job. I think we're going to be a big threat this year because the point guards can score. We can drive and dish. I think we have more options this year."

Sunday afternoon, those various options proved too much for Duke to handle.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

Coogs Beat Jaguars in Exhibition Finale

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Cougars defeated the Houston Jaguars 82 to 63 before a very vocal (and surprisingly large -- for a women's game at UH, that is) crowd inside Hofheinz Pavilion Monday Night.

The Coogs limited the Jaguars to just 33.3% (27 for 81) field goal shooting while connecting on 47.0% (31 for 66) from the field.

UH led throughout the game; and, the Jaguars never got closer than nine points in the second half of the ball game.

Junior guard Brittney Scott led all scorers with 24 points (8 for 16, including 4 for 9 on threes). Courtney Taylor (15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds) and newcomer Lesslee Mason (12 points and 12 rebounds) each produced double-doubles.

UH led the Jaguars 45 to 27 at halftime thanks to 15 for 31 (51.6%) shooting from the field. However, Houston's offense bogged down and the turnovers revved up. Thirteen turnovers (mostly unforced errors) kept the poor shooting Jaguars in the ball game.

"I was a little disappointed in the second half and letting them come back," said UH head coach Joe Curl. "But, we pull together and pulled back out a little bit."

Due to a lack of size in the front court, Coach Curl's Cougars played with a three guard line-up the entire ball game.

"I think that's where our strength is going to be. We have to play 94 feet by 50 feet defensively and offensively. I think that's who we are. We just have to rebound by committee and not give up a lot off offensive putback points."

Courtney Taylor had a very solid game; but, one aspect of her game was quite subpar. Taylor hit just three of her nine free throw attempts.

"I was three for nine which is terrible," Taylor admitted. "So, that's what I'm going to be working on in practice. I usually make them in practice. My free throw percentage has gotten better -- in practice. These free throws (tonight) just rolled out. Half of them were going in and came out."

Taylor said tonight's game is a good indicator for the team.

"It shows us kind of where we are and what we need to improve. We need to cut down our turnovers and improve our transition defense. We need to learn how to block out better, too."

Taylor believes the team is almost ready for the season opener this Friday on the road versus Gardner-Webb.

"We're almost there. Defensively. We need to get better and we need to stop transition."

Coach Curl believes his squad is ready.

"I think the kids are (ready). We were anxious to play against a different team (tonight). Now, we got Tuesday and Wednesday (to practice). We travel on Thursday; and, the game is on Friday. We're really looking forward to opening up the season."
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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Coogs host Jaguars Monday Night

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Cougars will play the Houston Jaguars in a pre-season (re: exhibition) game Monday, November 9, inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

As usual, the Jaguars' squad consist of players who played college ball with Houston area ties. This year is no different as former Cougars Chandi Jones (UH legend), Sha'Ratta Hawkins, Tye Jackson, and Sunshine Misa-Uli are on the roster.

I'll be coming from work; but, I'll be there.
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Duke - HBU Tickets on Sale Monday

Houston Baptist University is celebrating "Homecoming" this weekend on campus.

Next Friday, November 13, the Huskies' women's basketball team welcomes 6th-ranked Duke to Sharp Gym for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

Tickets to the Duke matchup go sale on HBU's campus this Monday, November 9.

Sharp Gym's seating capacity is less than 2,000; so, tickets to the game are expected to be sold very quickly.
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Aggies' Cox-McFerrin Center

Simply put, take a look at the slideshow featuring the Cox-McFerrin Center located on the campus of Texas A&M University:

I see why a lot of people are impressed by the facility! Impressive!
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