HOUSTON – Junior Avalon Miller’s career-night paired with a well-rounded team performance led the University of Houston women’s basketball team to a 67-43 victory over UMBC on Wednesday at Fertitta Center.
In the first-ever meeting between both programs, the Cougars (2-7) defended their home court with a dominant team effort to get back in the win column while extending the Retrievers’ (2-6) losing streak to three games.
Junior Laila Blair led the team in scoring with 13 points paired with two assists and three steals while senior De’Myla Brown finished with 10 points, all scored in the second half with eight in the fourth quarter. Miller was a force on both ends of the court as she secured a career-high eight points while dominating on the glass with six rebounds, all on the offensive end.
Blair’s 13 points extend her 10-plus point scoring streak to eight games while Brown has produced double-digit scoring performances in two of her last three games. Senior Ca’Leyah Burrell made her season debut, while junior Amari Conn made her Cougar debut.
Houston jumped out to an early 10-4 lead powered by six points off three UMBC turnovers. A stellar defensive effort from the Cougars jammed the Retrievers from creating any offense in the early going. After a halt in scoring midway through the first, the Cougars capped off the last 5:18 with an 8-3 run to lead 18-10 at the end of the period.
Entering the second quarter, the Cougars carried over momentum to create some distance with a 9-2 run to lead 27-12. Houston continued to apply pressure in both its full and half court presses, forcing 17 first half turnovers and capitalizing with trips to the free throw line and points off turnovers.
A Houston 6-2 run ended the first half as the Cougars held a commanding 35-17 lead at halftime. Blair’s eight points led the Cougars while junior Kamryn Jones ended a productive first half with six points, five rebounds and two steals.
UMBC’s quick 8-3 run to start the third quarter was wiped out by a 9-0 Houston run sparked by back-to-back layups by graduate Tatyana Hill to regain the 20-point gap at 46-25. A quiet final four minutes of the period led to the end of three as the Cougars remained up at 48-26.
In the fourth quarter, Houston opened the floodgates with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 55-26. Both teams exchanged scoring, yet the Cougars maintained the lead as Houston closed out UMBC in dominant fashion for the home victory.
The Cougars stay in the city for an in-town rivalry game at Rice on Saturday, Dec. 10 with tip-off set for 2 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+ and listened to on The Varsity Network.
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