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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.

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Coogs' double up St. Edward's

Posted: November 6, 2016 -- 07:08 pm CDT.

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- Houston Cougars head coach Ronald Hughey utilized 13 players Sunday afternoon in a 64-32 exhibition win over St. Edward's. Eleven of the 13 players scored. The balanced scoring was beneficial to the win; but, the Coogs' defense was also a factor.

The Coogs limited St. Edward's to 2 made field goals out of 15 attempts in the first quarter and led 17-4 after the first period. The Cougars limited St. Edward's to 13 made field goals in the entire ball game. St. Edward's shot 26.0% from the field for the game.

In addition to St. Edward's frigid shooting, the Coogs also forced St. Edward's to commit 29 turnovers.

Houston's defense helped counter the Coogs' own struggles on offense. The Coogs turned over the ball 24 times in the game, including 11 in the second quarter. The Coogs also struggled putting the ball in the basket in the second 10 minutes of the game: 3 made field goals out of 11 attempts.

Juniors Mariah Mitchell (14 points) and Chyanne Butler (11 points) led the Coogs in scoring. Mitchell did her damage from behind the three-point line with 4 for 6 shooting. Butler had a solid all-around game. She added 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals to go along with her 11 points.

"These two on my left and right (Chyanne Butler and Mariah Mitchell), if they play the way we practice, we can have a good season," said Coach Hughey after the game.

Hughey believes his team's defense Sunday could have been better.

"We were okay. We can pressure a lot better than that," Hughey acknowledged. "We can also close out gaps, sprint the floor and recover, rebound on the defensive end a lot better."

The Coogs led St. Edward's 27-15 at halftime; but, a 14-0 run to start the third quarter boosted the lead to 41-15.

Mitchell rattled in her 4th three-pointer during the run.

"My teammates and coaches gave me the confidence I needed to make big plays and knock down the shots that mattered," said Mitchell.

Houston limited St. Edward's to zero made field goals for nearly six and a half minutes of the third quarter.

The Coogs led 48-25 after three quarters and cruised to the victory.

Houston's freshmen did well in their time on the court: Angela Harris scored 4 points, dished 2 assists, and picked up 1 steal in her 15 minutes. Dorian Branch scored 3 points, pulled down 2 boards, handed out 1 assist and added 2 steals in 10 minutes. Jasmyne Harris added 7 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes; and, Quatera Limbrick scored the final points of the game when she banked in a 3 point shot.

"I always tell them they’ll have opportunities often and early," Hughey said of the freshmen's performances today. "They had good composure. They attacked the rim and tried to follow the game plan. They sprinted the floor hard. They are still trying to understand everything we do at a pace and keep their focus. Overall, I’m pleased with the way they came out."

The Coogs will begin the 2016-'17 regular season next Sunday, November 14, with a home game versus Southeastern Louisiana. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

"We did okay," said Chyanne Butler. "If we keep making steps and progressing over the season, we can be a great team and get to where we want to be. This is a great start, but we have a lot to work on."

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