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).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cougars Top Tulane - with Video

HOUSTON, TX -- Six Houston Cougars scored in double figures versus the Tulane Green Wave Saturday afternoon; and, the Cougars picked up a hard fought 74-62 victory in front of an announced crowd of 523 fans.

Porsche Landry led the Cougars with 16 points and four assists.

Brittney Scott scored 12 points; Roxana Button added 11; while Courtney Taylor, Lesslee Mason, and Jasmine Johnson each scored 10 points.

Taylor also pulled down a game-high 19 rebounds.


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"I thought it was a good game," said UH assistant coach Wade Scott. "I thought, at times, we were lax and it showed. At the same time, we were able to fight through it."

The Cougars broke a 8-8 tie with a 23 to 5 run over a 10-minute stretch in the first half to lead 31 to 13.

Houston (15-13 overall, 9-6 in C-USA) led Tulane (22-6, 11-4) 37 to 23 at halftime.

The Green Wave used a brief scoring spurt to trim Houston's lead to eight points (39-31) at the 17:20 mark of the second half; but, Houston stretched the lead to 13 points (48-35) in less than four minutes.

Over the next five minutes, Tulane chipped away thanks to three consecutive three-point baskets to cut Houston's lead to 53-49 with 8:28 remaining.

Courtney Taylor scored a layup and UH added five straight points to lead 60-49 with 4:04 on the clock.

Tulane's Chassisty Brown scored seven straight points for the Green Wave and pulled her club within six points (62-56) with 2:55 remaining; but, once again, Taylor scored a layup to start an 8-0 UH run to put the game out of reach.

Houston out rebounded Tulane 57 to 32 and attempted 25 free throws (made 16) to 11 free throws for Tulane.

The Cougars shot 44.3% (27 for 61) from the field; but, 18 turnovers helped keep the Green Wave in the ball game.

Houston's final game of the regular season is Thursday, March 4, versus cross-town rival Rice. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cougars Blast Miners - with Video

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Cougars started slowly Thursday night versus Texas-El Paso; but, the Cougars quickly recovered and rolled to a 30 point victory, 84-54, in front of an embarassingly low attendance of 285 fans (that number must include the band, the cheerleaders, and the Cougar Dolls).

Houston (14-13 overall, 8-6) trailed UTEP (15-13, 6-8) 13 to 7 with 15:31 left in the first half; then, UH awakened.

"We started off quicker than we have in the last two games," said Wade Scott, UH assistant coach. "I thought it really helped us overall."


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Houston forward Lesslee Mason scored six points in an 11 to 4 run and put the Cougars ahead 18-17 with a layup.

Teammate Roxana Button drained a jumper for a three point lead (20-17) at the 12:17 mark.

Houston led by five points before the Miners made a brief run and pulled within a single point (26-25) with 6:57 remaining in the opening half. However, the Cougars closed out the half with a 20 to 7 run to lead 46-32 at halftime.

The rout was just beginning.

The second half started with five different Cougars scoring during a 13 to 4 blitz which gave Houston a 59-35 lead just three minutes and 26 second into the half.

The Miners scored four straight points to pull within 20. UTEP did not get any closer the rest of the ball game.

Roxanna Button scored 18 points off the bench for the Cougars. Courtney Taylor also scored 18. Taylor added eight rebounds. Lesslee Mason scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. Brittney Scott scored 11 as four Houston players scored in double-figures in the rout.

Next up for the Cougars is a Saturday afternoon home game against first-place Tulsa Tulane. Tip is set for 2 p.m.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Aggies edged by Baylor -- with Video

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Aggies fought hard; but, came up two points short Monday night versus the Baylor Lady Bears. Baylor defeated Texas A&M 65-63 in front of an announced crowd of 7233 fans.

The Aggies were led by senior Tanisha Smith's 21 points and seven assists. Smith shot 9 for 19; but, she got late during the second half which negatively impacted her jump shots.

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Texas A&M's sophomore guard Sydney Carter scored 10 points (4 for 16 from the field); but, Carter missed a game-tying runner in the lane as the game clock wound down.

The game was tied at 33 at halftime; but, Baylor outscored the Aggies 14 to 6 to take a 47-39 leas with 13:56 remaining in the game.

Smith scored four straight points; but, Baylor's Brittney Griner and Morghan Medlock pushed the lead back to eight points (58-50) with 7:50 on the game clock.

Carter converted a three-point play and senior Damitria Buchanan converted a layup to bring the Aggies within three points (58-55); but, Griner made three of four foul shots to keep the Aggies at arms' length (61-55) until the final four minutes of the game.

Aggies' sophomore Adaora Elonu scored four straight points to trim the Aggies' deficit to just two points (61-59) with 3:25 remaining.

Baylor freshman Kimetria Hayden made two free throws with 3:04 on the clock. Neither team scored for 70 seconds before the Aggies' Tyra White scored a fastbreak layup for a 63-61 Baylor lead.

Buchanan missed two foul shots; but, Baylor turned the ball over with 51 seconds remaining. Smith tied the game at 63 with a jumper from the top of the key with 43 seconds on the clock.

The Lady Bears patiently dribbled the clock down before lobbing a pass to Griner; and, Griner converted the layup with  just 16 seconds remaining.

After Baylor called one full time-out and one 30-second time-out, Tanisha Smith missed a jumper with 10 seconds remaining. Griner rebounded the missed shot and was fouled. Griner missed the first free throw of the one-and-one; Tyra White missed the shot; passed the ball to Carter and Carter raced up the court. Unfortunately, Carter's shot did not go in the basket and the Aggies suffered the tough loss.

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Baylor Edges Aggies -- with Video

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Baylor and Texas A&M battled and competed in a hard fought game Monday night in front of 7233 fans inside Reed Arena; and, highly touted freshman Brittney Griner proved the difference in the game as the Lady Bears edged the Aggies 65-63.

Griner scored what proved to be the game winning basket with 16 seconds left in the ball game.

After a missed jumper by Aggies senior Tanisha Smith, Griner missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation with 7 seconds remaining; the Aggies rebounded the missed foul shot; and, Sydney Carter quickly dribbled the ball up the court and attempted a runner in the lane which bounced off the glass and the rim and missed.

Fittingly, Griner snared the rebound -- her 21st of the ball game. Griner finished the game with 22 points; 22 rebounds; and 4 blocked shots.

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Senior Morghan Medlock scored 14 points (6 for 6 from the field, 2 for 2 from the foul line) and grabbed nine rebounds. Junior point guard Kelli Griffin added eight points, nine assists, and three steals in 40 minutes.

Baylor improves to 20-7 overall and 7-6 in the Big 12 while the Aggies' record moves to 19-7 and 7-6.
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Aggies host Lady Bears on Big Monday

Big 12 South rivals will go head-to-head Monday night inside Reed Arena on the campus of Texas A&M University as the Texas A&M Aggies (19-6 overall, 7-5 in Big 12) host the Baylor Lady Bears (19-7, 6-6). Tip is set for 8 p.m. (CST) and the game will air on ESPN2 as part of "Big Monday".

Baylor defeated the Aggies 61-53 last month (Jan. 21) in Waco. In that game, Melissa Jones scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Jones missed the four previous games due to a stress reaction in her right leg. Jones has not played in Baylor's last six games; and, she's "day-to-day" for Monday's game.

Baylor's sensational freshman, Brittney Griner, added 20 points and junior guard, Kelli Griffin, added 13 points for Baylor. Tyra White had 19 points for Texas A&M which was held 28 points below its season average. Baylor made 10-of-10 free throws in the final minute, including six by Griffin and two by Jones to counter a pair of 3-pointers by Texas A&M that got the Aggies within 55-50.

Aggies head coach Gary Blair said, "It’s just another Big 12 monster game. Bodies will be flying all over the place, just like the Texas game. Baylor is a very good basketball team with the freshman of the year, not only in the Big 12, but in the whole country. She’s (Brittney Griner) lived up to everything that was promised.

"I think television loves the atmosphere of covering a game here, because of the style that we play and the little things about our team. I think everyone will still be tuning in to see Brittney Griner, first, and then to see our style of defense and our crowd. It’s like playing an NCAA regional game, not a first or second round. This is a regional championship type of ballgame and that’s the way we need to look at it. Baylor has had our number the last four ballgames and we still remember. It’s our turn now and we need to take care of business. Last year, when we lost on a last-second shot, that hurt, so it’s time for us to take care of the home court."
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Coach Curl Update

UPDATE, 2/22/10, 10:45 a.m. -- New information on the Big Man's health:
from daughter Angela -- "Dad...will get an upgrade on his pacemaker and get internal defibrillator tomorrow. No open heart surgery!!!! Thank you for the continued prayers as we get him through the procedure tomorrow and hopefully home on Wednesday!!!!"


UPDATE, 2/21/10, 5:30 p.m. -- Angela Curl has offered an update on her dad:
"Dad is getting a cardiac cath done on Monday to check everything out. Possible pacemaker and defibrillator... we will go from there! Please keep him in your prayers!"


UPDATE, 2/19/10, 10:30 a.m. -- Coach Curl will stay in the hospital over the weekend. As his older daughter, Angela, said the doctors "still have to decide what to do". Angela's sister, Jennifer, described their dad's heart as "still very weak so please keep praying".


UPDATE, 2/18/10, 5:40 p.m. -- Coach Curl's defibrillator went off last night; and, he spent the night in the hospital near his house. This evening he's been taken to Methodist hospital. Methodist was the same hospital he was two years ago for his double bypass surgery. Coach will see his cardiologist and wait for further word.


Joe Curl, head coach of the UH women's basketball team, will be discharged from the hospital (in Dallas, TX) and returning to Houston today.

Coach Curl has been in the hospital since Saturday, February 13, when he complained of chest pains. He was unable to coach in Houston's game on Sunday, February 14, versus SMU.

According to his daughter, Angela, Coach Curl "has congestive heart failure, but will be controlled by meds. Has a vest with external defibrillator to get him back to Houston. His cardiologist will have to decide how long he will keep it and when he will need to get an upgrade on his pacemaker and an internal defibrillator."

Coach Curl missed the entire 2007-2008 season when he suffered a heart attack in the preseason. The heart attack required double-bypass surgery.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Houston's Curl Misses SMU Game

Joe Curl, head coach of the University of Houston's women's basketball team, missed today's game versus the SMU game (a 73-67 UH win) after being admitted to a Dallas area hospital Saturday evening due to chest pains.

Coach Curl had significant heart failure and fluid around his lungs; however, he's now resting comfortably.

Coach Curl missed the entire 2007-08 season after suffering a preseason heart attack; but, he had coached the Cougars in every game since returning to the team prior to last season.

Fourth-year assistant coach Wade Scott will step in to lead the team against SMU on Sunday with the help from fellow assistants Tari Cummings and Chad Rickett.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vote for Senior CLASS Award

Twenty NCAA® women’s basketball student-athletes who excel both on and off the court were tabbed as finalists for the 2009-10 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the two basketball divisions. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School™, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

The women’s finalists for 2009-10 are: Jayne Appel, Stanford University; Amy Beggin, University of New Mexico; Joy Cheek, Duke University; Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee State University; Tyra Grant, Pennsylvania State University; Kelsey Griffin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Allison Hightower, Louisiana State University; Ashley Houts, University of Georgia; Ashley Sweat, Kansas State University; and Bianca Thomas, University of Mississippi.

Fan balloting counts for 1/3 of the vote:

http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/womens_basketball_2009

Fans can text WBBALL to 74567 to vote for women’s finalists. These votes will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.

The winner will be announced during the Women's Final Four in April.
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Coogs Top Memphis -- w/ Video

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- The Houston Cougars dominated the first-place Memphis Tigers for nearly 36 minutes of basketball; however, the Coogs wouldn't be the Coogs if they didn't add some interest and excitement in the final four minutes of the game. Houston held on to defeat Memphis 68-62 in front of an announced crowd of 373 fans Sunday afternoon.

Houston played the game without starting point guard Porsche Landry who didn't play due to an injury. Megan Morton made her first career start at shooting guard while Brittney Scott shifted from shooting guard to point guard. Scott committed just two turnovers in the first half as the Cougars played led 35-29 at halftime.

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"It was different. We had different people at different spots in the game," said UH junior forward Courtney Taylor. "It shows how versatile we are that we have people that can step up in different situations."

Taylor started a 15-2 UH run with a made jump shot and Houston (12-10 overall, 6-3 C-USA) led Memphis (13-9, 6-3) 64-45 with 4:28 left in the ball game.

Then, the wheels started coming off the proverbial UH bus.

Scott committed four of Houston's seven turnovers and Memphis finally was able to put the ball in the basket. The Tigers pulled within four points (64-60) with 57 seconds remaining. Then, Scott missed the first free throw of a one-and-one situation which allowed the Tigers an opportunity to pull closer; but, Memphis' Alex Winchell missed a three-point shot and Houston's Brittany Mason rebounded the missed shot.

Mason swished both free throws to give the Cougars some breathing room and a much needed cushion with 15 seconds left in the game.

"I think we were going too fast," Scott said about the last four minutes of the game. "They were pressing us hard the whole game; so, it wasn't that different. We should have just slowed down a little bit."

Houston head coach Joe Curl added, "I was the one that was being too conservative."

Taylor recorded her school-best 36th double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor broke a tie with forward Sancho Lyttle.

Lesslee Mason added 15 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots, and four steals.

"I was just really excited because today was a big game," Mason said. "We were playing for first place; so, I was just a little bit more aggressive on the defensive end. I've just been feeling it lately - to be honest."

Scott scored a game-high 19 points on her 21st birthday. She finished the game with nine turnovers.

The Cougars play the next four games on the road beginning with a Friday matchup in Tulsa versus the Golden Hurricane. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Coop after PV Defeats Texas Southern -- with Video

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX -- The Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers do what good teams do Saturday evening -- win ugly or the proverbial "find a way to win" -- as PV defeated rival Texas Southern 58-49 in front of a very, very lively 4,878 fans inside the "Baby Dome" (aka the William Nicks Building).

Prairie View (12-7 overall, 9-1 in the SWAC) struggled mightily in the first half versus rival Texas Southern Saturday evening. PV made only six field goals (out of 29) in the opening 20 minutes and trailed TSU 24-18 at halftime.

"I told them we were playing terrible," said Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Prairie View A&M's head coach. "I told them 'we're not rebounding. We're playing with no intensity. We're playing hard; but, we're not playing smart. I told them we're going to come out and play like we know how to play."

TSU (9-12, 6-4) extended its lead to 10 points (30-20) early in the second half; but, Prairie View's Latara Darrett scored 10 points during a 12-4 PV run to help the Panthers pull within two points (34-32). Teammate Robin Jones made two free throws to tie the game at 34; then, Darrett hit a jump shot to put Prairie View ahead 36-34 with 10:34 left in the ball game.


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"Latara has carried us the last three games," said Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Prairie View A&M's head coach after the game. "I know teams are going to stop 'boxing and one' her; face guarding her; triple teamming her. We're going to need some other people stepping up; and, that could be Dominique Smith or Candice Thomas."

PV would score four more points before Texas Southern's Jasmine Cannon ended TSU's 4:38 scoring drought with a made layup. Prairie View led 40-36 with 9:21 remaining in the game.

Candice Thomas converted a layup to give the Lady Panthers a seven point lead (45-38) before the Lady Tigers' Gabrielle Rosigi went to work in the paint and scored four points during a 6-0 to pull within one (45-44) at the 5:31 mark.

However, Dominique Smith drained a three-point basket and made a second straight jump shot during a 10-1 run to stretch Prairie View's lead to 10 points (55-45) with 2:22 on the clock.

PV cruised to the victory in the final minutes.

"I'm glad we won," said Coop. "In these types of games, it's better to play bad and win; then play bad and lose."

Darrett scored a game-high 27 points (10 for 18 from the field) and pulled down 10 rebounds. Candice Thomas scored 12 points (4 for 12). Dominique Smith scored 13 points (5 for 11) off the PV bench.

Prairie View bounced back from the 6 for 29 (20.7%) in the first half and shot 52.0% (13 for 25) in the second 20 minutes.

Jasmine Cannon led TSU with 19 points (7 for 15). Gabrielle Rosigi added nine points and 12 rebounds while Inisha Daughtry chipped in seven points and 12 boards.

TSU shot an icy 39.3% (11 for 28) from the free throw line and 32.7% (18 for 55) from the field.
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Recap: NCAA Mock Selection

For me, participating in the NCAA's annual "mock" selection exercise was definitely an eye-opening experience.

One thing I urge readers to remember when viewing "Selection Monday" on ESPN is a team's "body of work". Without divulging specifics, the committee truly considers a team's "body of work" for the entire season:

a team's opponents (conference and, definitely, non-conference)
a team's opponents' opponents
a team's wins (home and away) and losses (home and away) -- margin of victory or defeat is not important)

First, we selected the 33 at-large teams. Second, we seeded the teams; and, lastly we placed the teams in the championship bracket.

Selecting the 33 at-large teams is a lot tougher than I realized.

I was part of three-person committee representing one actual committee member. Ten people are on the selection committee and each member counts as one vote.

A few of our discussions were very lively because each person has his or her own ideas regarding the importance of certain criteria (for example, how important is home court in the women's game or the significance of player injuries).

The information -- the NCAA's "nitty gritty" -- at our fingertips was amazing! I pulled up stats and compared Team X to Team Y to Team Z with a few clicks of the mouse pad.

The committee adheres to its "principles and procedures" without fail.

The bottom line is to make the bracket as "fair and equitable" as possible.

My participation allowed me to dispel a few myths / misconceptions: the committee doesn't bracket teams in order to generate storylines; the committee doesn't place all the male head coaches in one region; and, do not assume which team is the "number one number 2-seed".

I'll also add the importance to continue growing the game of women's basketball across the country in order to allow for more cities (re: west of the Mississipppi) to be interested in bidding and hosting sites in the future.

All in all, the "mock" selection was very enjoyable; very straining on my eyes; and, a true learning experience.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Follow the NCAA Mock Selection Live

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- I think I'm ready to participate in the NCAA's "mock" selection exercise which takes place Thursday, February 4, and Friday, February 5.

The "mock" selection exercise involves media, head coaches and WBCA representatives. It will take place beginning on Thursday at 2 p.m (EST), continuing until Friday afternoon.

You can follow the exercise at NCAA.com. The NCAA will have a live blog during the event at http://www.ncaa.com/blog/200910d1womensbasketball/.
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