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, March 14, 2010

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Update on Area Teams in Conference Tournaments

UPDATED, 3/13/10, 4:39 p.m. Lamar goin' dancing. Aggies reach Big 12 final.

A few days ago, I wrote college teams in and around the Houston area were beginning championship week in their respective conferences.

Here's an update:

Rice Owls: lost to UTEP, 62-61, Monday, March 8, in the first round of the C-USA Championship.

Houston Cougars: defeated UTEP, 57-55, March 9, in the quarterfinals of the C-USA; lost to UAB, 70-65, March 10, in the C-USA semi-finals. Since top-seed Tulane won the C-USA Championship, UH, as the 2nd place finisher in C-USA (during the regular-season), earned an invite to the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

UH will learn its opponent on Monday, March 15.

Lamar Lady Cardinals: defeated 8th-seed Southeastern Louisiana, Tuesday, March 9, 88-64, in the third Southland Conference quarterfinal game. Lamar defeated 5th-seed Texas-Arlington, 70-61, March 11, in Katy, TX, at the Merrell Center, in semi-final game number two.

#1-seed Lamar routed 3rd-seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 86-59, March 12, for the SLC Championship and the automatic berth to the NCAA Women's Championship. 

Sam Houston State Lady Kats: lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christ, 99-79, Tuesday afternoon, in the second quarterfinal game of the SLC Championship.

Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers: the number 2-seed Lady Panthers lost to 7th seed Alabama State, 50-48, March 10, in the opening round of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Tournament. However, if Southern University wins the SWAC Championship, PV, as the 2nd place finisher in the SWAC (during the regular season), would an invitation to the WNIT.

Texas Southern University Lady Tigers: defeated 4th-seed Grambling State, 63-57, March 11, in the final quarterfinal game of the women's SWAC Championship.

TSU lost to top-seed Southern, 67-55, March 12, in the second semifinal game.

Houston Baptist University Huskies: lost two 2nd-seed Texas-Pan American (UTPA), 69-61, Thursday night, in the first round of the women's Great West Conference Championship.

Texas A&M Aggies: defeated Texas (5th-seed), 77-64, Friday, March 12, in the second quarterfinal game of the Big 12 Championship.

The Aggies handed top-seed Nebraska (30-1) its first loss of the season with an 80-70 victory Saturday afternoon in the first semifinal game of the Big 12 Championship. The Aggies will play #3-seed Oklahoma  in the Big 12 final Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. on FSN.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SWAC Quarterfinals available on SWAC.org

BOSSIER CITY, LA - The Southwestern Athletic Conference will video stream the first two days of the Farmers Insurance SWAC Basketball Tournament live free of charge at http://www.swac.org/.

All eight quarterfinal games (four women's, four men's) will be streamed live on the official Conference website. Audio will be provided by the Heritage Sports Radio Network (HSRN), which will do a live national radio broadcast of all 14 tournament games at http://www.hsrn.com/.

"We are excited to bring the quarterfinals of the 2010 Farmers Insurance SWAC Basketball Tournament live to our fans via www.swac.org," SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said. "We have great matchups to kick off this year's tournament with a host of rivalry games in the opening round in an outstanding facility. Our great fans around the country who can't make it to Shreveport / Bossier City can catch all the action live on their computer."

The CenturyTel Center is the new home for the Farmers Insurance SWAC Tournament, which kicks off Wednesday at Noon with #2 seed Prairie View A&M taking on #7 seed Alabama St. in women's action.

ESPNU will broadcast the SWAC Championship game Saturday, March 13, at 5 p.m. CST.

Quarterfinal games - all streamed live at http://www.swac.org/

Wednesday, March 10
Noon -- #2 Prairie View A&M vs. #7 Alabama St.
5:30 p.m. --  #1 Southern vs. #8 Univ. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Thursday, March 11
Noon -- #3 Alabama A&M vs. #6 Alcorn St.
5:30 p.m. --  #4 Grambling St. vs. #5 Texas Southern
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Monday, March 08, 2010

Big 12 Announces 2009-2010 Regular Season Awards

Nebraska's perfect regular season (29-0) was rewarded today by the Big 12 as head coach Connie Yori earned Big 12 Coach of the Year and senior forward Kelsey Griffin was named Big 12 Player of the Year.

The Huskers enter the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship with a 29-0 mark and finished Big 12 play at 16-0.

Griffin is one of two Big 12 players averaging a double-double with a Conference-high 10.4 rebounds a game to go along with 20.4 points - good for second in the league. The senior forward also leads the Big 12 with 17 double-doubles and is second in field goal percentage (61.1%).

Danielle Adams (Texas A&M) was voted Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Brittney Griner (Baylor) was selected Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with Yvonne Turner (Nebraska) while Bianca Smith (Colorado) earned the Sixth Man Award. The honors were voted by the league's head coaches who are not allowed to vote for their own players.

Here's the complete list of Big 12 awards.
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Three Aggies Earn All-Big 12 Honors

Three Texas A&M women’s basketball players earned all-league nods as the 2009-10 All-Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Awards were announced on Monday.

Danielle Adams, a 6-foot-1 junior post player from Kansas City, MO, was voted Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. It marked the second consecutive year in which an Aggie earned top newcomer of the honors next to Tanisha Smith in 2009. Adams is currently averaging a team-leading 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds while primarily coming off the bench. Adams was also named to the All-Big 12 Second Team.

Smith, a six-foot senior wing player from Kansas City, MO, earned first team honors and leads the team in steals (64) which ranks second best in the Big 12. She recently turned in her first career 100+ assist season (101) and ranks second on the team in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg).

Sydney Carter, a 5-foot-6 sophomore point guard from DeSoto, TX, was named honorable mention. She currently ranks 13th nationally with an impressive 2.32 assist-to-turnover ratio which ranks second best in the Big 12 through all games played. Last year, she earned a spot on the 2009 Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
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Houston's Taylor named C-USA Player of the Year

Though one of her goals is to win the Conference USA Championship, Courtney Taylor, University of Houston junior forward earned a very high honor today.

Taylor was named the C-USA Player of the Year.

The Player of the Year award tops off Taylor's achievements over the last few days as Taylor was named to the C-USA All-Conference First Team and also the C-USA All-Defensive Team.

Taylor, 6'0", becomes the fifth Houston Cougar to earn Conference Player of the Year accolades and the first since UH legend Chandi Jones was named C-USA Player of the Year for a league-record three consecutive seasons from 2002 - 2004.

Taylor finished the regular season sixth in the league in scoring with 15.4 points per game, and third in rebounding at 10.4 per game. She is one of three C-USA players that currently average a double-double. The two-time All-C-USA selection also shattered the school record for career double-doubles and ranks ninth in league history with 39. Taylor's 13 this season appears in the top 20 nationwide.

Also, Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton was named Conference USA Coach of the Year today. Coach Stockton led a Tulane team that battled through a number of injuries to lead the Green Wave to their fourth regular-season title in her 16th season on the sideline. Junior Brittany Lindsey suffered a season-ending shoulder injury on Jan. 4 and did not participate in any conference games, while some of her teammates fought-through broken hands, smashed noses and bothersome foot injuries.

The Green Wave finished the year with a league-best 23 victories and a 12-4 record in conference play. That earned Tulane the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in this week's Championship.
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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Area teams set for conference Championships

UPDATED -- 3/9/10, 9:59 A.M.

Championship Week has been in full swing across the country for a few days; however, for the teams in Houston and the surrounding area, Championship Week starts Monday, March 8, with the Rice Owls (7th seed) facing the UTEP Miners (10th seed) at 8:30 p.m. in the opening round of the 2010 C-USA Championship in Tulsa, OK.

The Houston Cougars (the number 2-seed) will play the winner of the Rice / UTEP game on Tuesday, March 9, at 8:30 p.m. CST.

The Sam Houston State Lady Kats (3rd seed) will play the 6th-seeded Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Islanders Tuesday, March 9, at 2:30 p.m., while the Lamar Cardinals (top seed) will play 8th seed Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the 2010 Southland Conference Championship at the Merrell Center located in Katy, TX.

The Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers (2nd seed) will play 7th-seed Alabama State Wednesday, March 10, at high noon, in Bossier City, LA, in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship Tournament.

The Houston Baptist University Huskies (7th seed) will face Texas-Pan American (2nd seed) Thursday, March 11, at 6 p.m., in the 2010 Great West Conference Bastketball Championship in Orem, UT.

The Texas Southern Lady Tigers (5th seed) square with 4th-seeded Grambling State Thursday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m, in another quarterfinal matchup in the SWAC.

Lastly, the Texas A&M Aggies (4th seed) will play the winner of the Texas (5th seed) / Missouri (12th seed) game on Friday, March 12, at 1:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal matchup in the Big 12 Championship taking place in Kansas City, MO.
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UH's Taylor Repeats on C-USA All-Defensive Team

For the second straight season, Courtney Taylor, University of Houston junior forward, earned a spot on Conference USA's All-Defensive (doesn't 'All-Defense' sound better) First Team.

Taylor's 10.1 rebounds ranked second in C-USA; and, her 32 blocked shots were second on Houston's squad.

The other members of the All-Defensive Team were Tulsa forward Larissa Williams (C-USA Defensive Player of the Year); Memphis guard Ramses Lonlack; Tulane guard Chassity Brown; and East Carolina guard Ashley Clarke.

C-USA also announced other honors for the 2009-2010 season today as UAB freshman sensation Jala Harris earned Freshman of the Year and Sixth Player of the Year becoming the first player in C-USA history to earn that double honor.

Here's the list of honors:

Nicole Dickson, F, Memphis
Olivia Grayson, G, Tulane
Taleya Mayberry, G, Tulsa
Jala Harris, G, UAB
Anete Steinberga, F, UTEP

Ashley Clarke, So., G, East Carolina
Courtney Taylor, Jr., F, Houston
Ramses Lonlack, So., G, Memphis
Chassity Brown, Sr., G, Tulane
Larrissa Williams, Sr., F, Tulsa

Jala Harris, G, UAB

Brittany Carter, So., G, Memphis

Jala Harris, Fr., G, UAB

Larrissa Williams, Sr., F, Tulsa
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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Two Rice and Two UH players Named C-USA All-Conference

Conference USA announced the members its 2009-2010 C-USA All-Conference Teams today; and, four players from the Houston area member schools earned the honor.

Houston's junior forward Courtney Taylor earned the C-USA First Team honor for the second consecutive season while teammate Brittney Scott earned her first C-USA team honor.

Rice sophomore point guard D'Frantz Smart and sophomore post Jackie Stanley earned C-USA Third Team honors.

Congratulations to each of the young ladies.

Rice plays UTEP Monday, March 8, in an opening round game of the 2010 C-USA Championship. Tip is set for 8:30 p.m.

Houston will face the winner of the Rice / UTEP game Tuesday, March 9, at 8:30 p.m.
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Big 12 Awards Announcement

The women’s basketball All-Big 12 awards will be released on Big12Sports.com individually in 10-minute increments on Monday, March 8, beginning at 2:00 p.m. CST.

Schedule of All-Big 12 Women’s Basketball Awards on Big12Sports.com

(All Times Central)

2:00 p.m. Coach of the Year
2:10 p.m. Newcomer of the Year
2:20 p.m. Sixth Man of the Year
2:30 p.m. Freshman of the Year
2:40 p.m. Defensive Player of the Year
2:50 p.m. Player of the Year
3:00 p.m. All-Freshman Team
3:10 p.m. All-Defensive Team
3:20 p.m. All-Big 12 First, Second and Honorable Mention
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Friday, March 05, 2010

Cougars Rout Rice -- with Video

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Cougards made short work of the Rice Owls Thursday night. The Cougars defeated the Owls 81-58 in front of an announced crowd of 459 fans.

Houston (16-13 overall, 10-6 in C-USA) never trailed in the ball game and led Rice (13-16, 7-9) by as many as 37 points.

The victory clinched the 2nd-seed and a first-round bye in next week's C-USA Championship.

"It was a game I hoped would play out that way but it wasn’t something I was expecting," said UH head coach Joe Curl. "It is always a dogfight when we play Rice, and I still felt like it was. They do a lot of things well, and I never thought it was out of reach until the end. I was coaching in four-minute increments so I wasn’t really looking at the score until it was winning time, which is the last eight and four minutes."


The Cougars led the Owls 50-23 at halftime; and, the Coogs increased the lead to 37 points (68-31) at the 12:18 mark of the second half.

Then, the Cougars got sloppy. Houston committed nine turnovers down the stretch as well as took poor shots which allowed the Owls to salvage some pride as the game inched to a merciful conclusion.

Owls freshman center Opal Taskila scored a career-high 16 points -- 14 in the second half as Rice outscored Houston 35-31 in the second 20 minutes.

Brittney Scott scored a game-high 24 points. Roxana Button scored 17 points off the bench. Courtney Taylor produced the 39th double-double of her career (14 points and 14 rebounds) while point guard Porsche Landry contributed 14 points and six assists.

Houston will face the winner of the Rice - UTEP game Tuesday, March 9, in a quarterfinal game. Tip off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (CST).
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Baylor Suspends Griner Additional Game

Baylor freshman Brittney Griner will be suspended two games for her swing / punch Wednesday night which broke Texas Tech's Jordan Barncastle's nose.

In addition to a one-game suspension mandated by NCAA basketball playing rules, Baylor University freshman post Brittney Griner has been suspended for an additional game by Lady Bears' head coach Kim Mulkey, following Griner's ejection from the Lady Bears' 69-60 victory at Texas Tech, March 3.

Therefore, Griner will miss the Sunday, March 7, home game versus the Texas Longhorns as well as Baylor's opening game in the upcoming Big 12 Championship.
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Thoughts on Griner's Re-Action

Let me add my two cents to what happened Wednesday night in Lubbock, TX, between the Baylor Lady Bears and the Texas Tech Lady Raiders. In the second half of the ball game, Texas Tech's Jordan Barncastle and Baylor's Brittney Griner were tangled arm and arm near the low block in the painted area. Barncastle separated herself from Griner by flinging Griner away; and, Griner reacted.

Griner definitely "reacted".

First, let me say this, Brittney's fist did not hit Barncastle -- her forearm did. If Griner's fist would have hit Barncastle in the face, Barncastle may have been hurt worse than a bloody (possibly, broken) nose.

I've known Brittney for a while; and, I must admit I'm surprised she lost her cool and reacted the way she did.

Brittney will most assuredly be suspended for the final regular season game versus Texas; and, I would not be surprised if Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey keeps Britney out of the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.

However, I would be very suprised if Griner were kept out of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Ironically, last Monday after Baylor's game versus the Texas A&M Aggies Mulkey said, "You think threw the years how many freshmen; how many players period; that have to see what she sees night in and night out defensively.

"She never loses her composure. She never changes her expression. She's the most pleasant kid to watch play. And, she just gets beat up. Two coming at her; three coming at her; and, she just stays in there."

What a difference a few days can make.
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kevin Cook Named Winner of Carol Eckman Award

Yet another reason for me to be in San Antonio in four weeks...

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has announced Kevin Cook of Gallaudet University as the 2010 winner of the Carol Eckman Award.

The Carol Eckman Award is presented annually to an active WBCA coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose. The award is named in honor of the late Carol Eckman, the former West Chester State College coach who is considered the “Mother of the Women’s Collegiate Basketball Championship.” Eckman organized the first women’s basketball championship at West Chester in 1969 and continued to garner recognition and support for the women’s game until her death from cancer in 1985.

Cook has spent the past three seasons as the head women's basketball coach at Gallaudet, a NCAA Division III university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Cook doubled the amount of wins from his first season (2007-08) to his second season (2008-09) as the Bison went 6-19 overall last year. This year Cook’s team finished with a 14-12 record, their best season in a decade and the team also made the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament.

Cook served as an assistant coach with the Houston Comets for 11 years and was a part of four WNBA championships. He also served as a coach on four different WNBA All-Star Teams. Prior to coaching in the WNBA, Cook served as an assistant coach with the University of Kansas from 1984-93. Cook was part of four Big 8 championship teams that made four trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Cook will be formally recognized at the WBCA Awards Luncheon presented by State Farm and Jostens at Noon CT on Tuesday, April 6, at the Marriott River Center Grand Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four® in San Antonio, Texas. 
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Championship Week on ESPN's Family of Networks

UPDATED, 1:30p.m., 3/3/10 --

Here are a few tidbits from ESPN regarding Championship Week -- pertaining to women's college basketball:

Times listed are CST.

A network record 21 women’s conference tournament games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will be highlighted by telecasts of the SEC semifinals (Saturday, March 6, at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.) and Sun Belt Conference championship (Tuesday, March 9, at 1 p.m.) for the first time, all three on ESPNU. Overall, the action will serve as a lead-in to complete, 63-game coverage of the NCAA Women’s Tournament on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360.com and ESPN FULL COURT March 20 through April 6.

ESPN360.com -- ESPN’s live broadband sports network, which will become ESPN3.com on April 4 -- will cover a record 174 games with simulcasts of every ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN FULL COURT telecast as well as three additional games not available on any other ESPN platform. This is the first year ESPN360.com will simulcast games from ESPNU. ESPN360.com will also provide live coverage of every NCAA Women’s Tournament game, as well as select postseason NIT games.

ESPNU, marking its fifth anniversary March 4, will feature a network record 31 men’s and women’s games from 13 Division I conferences and one Division II conference.

ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN’s first 24/7 mobile video channel (available on FLO TV and MobiTV) will offer live simulcasts of 27 men’s and women’s games, plus bonus coverage – featuring live extended look-ins – of two others.

Cara Capuano and Carolyn Peck will work the women’s SEC telecasts (Saturday, March 6, at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU and Sunday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2).

ESPN’s Selection Monday coverage will feature the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special at 6 p.m. on ESPN. ESPNU will televise an additional hour of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special beginning at 7 p.m. This show, hosted by Trey Wingo, Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson with contributions from Doris Burke and Rebecca Lobo, takes more time to analyze the women’s bracket announcement and its impact on the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

Coaches Spotlight: NCAA Women’s Tournament: a three-hour in-depth preview of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Tuesday, March 16 at 3 p.m. with Beth Mowins, Cara Capuano and Abby Waner, and a segment each from Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson.
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Aggies Stuff Sooners -- with Video

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Texas A&M Aggies out muscled and out hustled the Oklahoma Sooners Tuesday night and picked up a 78-55 victory over the Sooners on Senior Night in front of an announced crowd of 5,205 fans.

The Sooners scored the first two points of the game and actually led three times in the ball game; however, OU's last lead was 8 to 6 at the 15:22 mark of the first half.

The game was tied two times before A&M senior Tanisha Smith converted a three-point play to give the Aggies a 15-12 lead. The Aggies never relinquished the lead the rest of the ball game.


The Aggies (21-7 overall, 9-6 in Big 12) were led by Tanisha Smith's game-high 19 points. Adaora Elonu finished the game with 17 points (8 for 15 from the field) and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Danielle Adams added 18 points (5 for 11 from the field) and seven rebounds off the Aggies' bench.

The Aggies finished the first half with a 10-0 spurt to lead 43-24 at halftime. The Aggies shot 50% (18 for 36) from the field while the Sooners shot an ice cold 32.1% (9 for 28). The Aggies also forced the Sooners to commit 11 turnovers.


The Sooners (20-9, 10-5) could not pull closer until a 6-0 run with 10:22 left in the second half trimmed the Aggies' lead to 13 points (56-43); however, the Aggies squashed any hopes of a Sooners' comeback with an 8-0 run started by a three-point basket from the corner by junior guard Sydney Colson.

The Sooners finished the game with 21 turnovers. Danielle Robinson scored a team-high 16 points; however, Robinson made only 4 of her 16 field goal attempts. Abi Olajuwon added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Oklahoma made just missed 40 of 57 field goals for a woefule 29.8% for the ball game.

The Aggies dished out 18 assists on 30 made baskets and committed just 12 turnovers.
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Oklahoma's Sherri Coale after loss to Aggies - with Video

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Oklahoma Sooners simply could not put the basketball in the hoop Tuesday night versus the Texas A&M Aggies; and, as a result of 29.8% (17 for 57) shooting, the Sooners lost to the Aggies 78-55.

After the ball game, Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said,

"You don't beat anyone shooting 29 percent from the field and zero from the three. I think when you make shots, it gives you life. When you miss them, then they take them away. We just need to go on to the next one and go get ready for Sunday (against Oklahoma State). It was a very physical game and we didn't handle that very well. Bottom line is we have to be tougher. We know what we are going to get when we come here (and face A&M's defense). We have to respond better."


With the loss, Oklahoma's record is 20-9 overall and 10-5 in Big 12 play.
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Coach Curl to Return to Bench

HOUSTON, TX -- I'm surprised by this announcement; however, the University of Houston states:

After a five-game absence from the Cougar sideline due to heart-related health concerns, University of Houston women’s basketball head coach Joe Curl will return to the team this week and coach the team in its regular season finale against Rice at 7 p.m. Thursday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

Curl has been away from the team since Feb. 13 when he was checked into a Dallas-area hospital after experiencing chest pains. Following another hospital stay after returning to Houston, doctors cleared the 55-year-old floor general to resume coaching activities.

The 12th-year coach of the Cougars will make his first appearance since the initial hospital visit at the team’s practice on Tuesday before taking his regular spot on the Houston sidelines during the Rice game.

In Curl’s place, fourth-year assistant coach Wade Scott and the rest of the UH women’s basketball staff stepped in to lead the Cougars to a 3-2 record, including wins over UTEP and league leader Tulane last weekend. Houston enters the finale with a 15-13 overall record and in a tie for third in the C-USA standings with a 9-6 mark in league play.  
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