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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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Houston Cougars wake up in second half and top Alcorn State

Posted: December 28, 2016 -- 10:53 pm CST.

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- The Houston Cougars did almost every thing wrong in the first half Wednesday night versus the Alcorn State Lady Braves. But, a three-point basket to beat the halftime buzzer seemed to wake up the Coogs which helped them erase a six point halftime defeat and keep the Lady Braves winless (0-11) this season with an 85-70 victory.

"Everything (went wrong in the first half). Our focus and communication was the weakest thing," said Houston head Ronald Hughey after the game. "I’m glad these two [Chyanne Butler & Kierra Graves] are here, so you can ask them. We fouled too much and gave them transition opportunities because our communication wasn’t good."

"We didn’t come out focused. We had our talk in the locker room and executed in the second half," Graves said in the post-game press conference."

Butler added, "We told each other to pick it up, set the tone in the second half and make sure we pick up the win."

Houston (7-6) trailed 39-30 before freshman guard Angela Harris's three-point splash sent the teams to the locker rooms with Houston trailing 39-33. The Coogs had made only 9 out of 32 field goal attempts before Harris' basket.

However, the Coogs turned on the proverbial light switch in the third quarter with a quick 10-0 spurt to lead 43-39. The Coogs' lead grew to 54-41 as the continued as Houston made its first 9 baskets in the third period while limiting Alcorn State to 0 for 9 field goal shooting.

The Cougars outscored the Lady Braves 29-8 in the third period to lead 62-47 after three quarters.

Two quick turnovers to begin the fourth quarter resulted in a quick timeout by Houston's head coach Ronald Hughey. Hughey's team settled down a bit; but, Alcorn State managed a mini-run making 4 of 5 field goal attempts.

Houston point guard Chyanne Butler went on a personal 6-0 run to settle things down to help stretch the lead to 77-60. The Coogs cruised to the 85-70 win.

Butler scored a game-high 18 points for Houston. Freshman Jasmyne Harris scored 17 points and grabbed six boards. Kierra Graves barely missed a double-double with 16 points and 9 boards while Angela Harris added 10 points.

After making 10 of 33 field goal attempts in the opening half, the Coogs shot 22 for 34 from the floor in the second half. The Coogs outrebounded the Lady Braves 50-38.

Houston begins American Athletic Conference play New Year's Day with a 3:30 pm tip-off versus Tulsa. ESPNU will broadcast the game from inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

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