The Houston Roundball Review is an online basketball publication
by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

Houston Cougars 67, Rice Owls 54

Balanced scoring by the Coogs offsets Kuster's ninth double-double

Posted: December 21, 2013 -- 9:35 am CST.

HOUSTON, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) -- Most times when two rivals square off the game is competitive but not pretty. Friday afternoon's match-up between the Houston Cougars and the Rice Owls was one of those times. Neither team shot above 45 percent and the teams combined for 37 turnovers; however, the Coogs used a very strong second-half showing to defeat the Owls 67-54 inside Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse before an announced crowd of 311 fans -- including Van Chancellor, former head coach of the Houston Comets.

The Coogs (4-7) jumped out to an 11-2 lead as the Owls made just 1 of their first 10 field goals. Owls' sophomore guard Breion Allen sank a jump shot to end a seven minute scoring drought and begin a slow, methodical comeback for the Owls.

In addition to missing short shots and layups, the Coogs fumbled the ball away 14 times in the opening half; and, the Owls crept back into the ball game. Rice (5-6) took its first lead of the half when senior forward Jessica Kuster stole the ball at halfcourt and dribbled into the frontcourt to score a layup at the halftime buzzer.

The Owls led 26-24 at the half.

The Owls increased the lead to six twice in the second half before Houston senior Te'onna Campbell took over. Trailing 34-28, Campbell scored seven straight points (a layup, a jump shot, and a layup plus free throw) to give the Coogs a 35-34 lead.

Kuster tied the game at 36 with a jumper; but, Campbell answered with a jumper to give the Coogs the lead once again.

Then, the Coogs used balanced scoring during a 10-1 run to stretch the lead and pull away. Demetria Foreman scored five points during the run including a three-point shot in front of the Coogs' bench to put the Coogs up 53-43 with 4:16 remaining in the game.

Foreman scored six more points from the foul line in the final minutes to finish the game with a team-high 20 points.

Campbell added 13 points and 11 rebounds while teammates Yasmeen Thompson and Marche' Amerson each scored 12 points to give the Coogs four double-digit scorers in the ball game.

Houston shot 59.1% (13 for 22) from the floor in the second half and 43.1% (22 for 51) for the game. The Coogs were more aggressive than the Owls in the ball game. Houston shot 32 foul shots (made 21) compared to just 13 free throw attempts by the Owls. The Coogs also dominated the glass 46-35.

The Coogs next game will be versus UCF, their first conference game in the new American Athletic Conference, on Saturday, December 28. Tip is set for 2 p.m.

Kuster was the only Owls' player to score in double digits. She finished the game with 18 points (6 for 20 field goals) and a game-high 14 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season.

The Owls next game is Sunday, December 29, at Lamar. Tip is set for 2 p.m.

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