ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Despite a career-high 23 points from senior Tiara Young and a season-best shooting performance, the University of Houston lost in overtime, 77-73 against Florida on Saturday in the St. Pete Showcase.
Young became the first Cougar since Dorian Branch in 2019 to score 20-plus points in back-to-back games thanks to a career-high 23 points on Saturday and 20 points against Portland on Thursday. For the fourth-straight game, both junior Laila Blair (16 points) and senior Tiara Young (23) scored in double digits. Blair has now scored in double digits for in five-straight games. Redshirt senior Britney Onyeje posted a season-high 12 points for Houston.
Houston (1-5) continued to force opponents to turn the ball over at a high rate, forcing Florida (6-1) to commit 30 turnovers in the game. Houston ranks fifth nationally in forced turnovers per game (27.0).
The foul and free throw disparity showed the difference between the two teams. Florida shot 27 free throws and made 20 of its attempts and Houston shot 10 free throws and made seven of its charity stripe attempts. The Cougars committed 27 fouls to just 13 for Florida. The Gators committed just two fouls in the first half.
Young was rewarded for her efforts by being named a St. Pete Showcase All-Star. The Shreveport, La., native averaged 21.5 points per game, shot 55.9 percent from the field, averaged 3.5 rebounds per game and collected four steals in the tournament.
Houston will return home Thursday, Dec. 1 and take on UT Arlington in a 7 p.m. CT tip off on ESPN+. The Cougars are looking to avenge a 69-66 overtime loss to the Mavericks a year ago.
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