HOUSTON – Senior guard Tiara Young and junior guard Laila Blair’s dominant second half led the University of Houston women’s basketball team to a 93-89 overtime victory over UTSA Monday at Fertitta Center.
The Cougars (3-9) pulled out the victory collectively thanks to four scorers hitting 10 or more points in Houston’s second overtime game in the last three games. UTSA (2-7) pushed a late effort to tie the game at the end of regulation but came out empty-handed after the Cougars prevailed in the extra period. With the victory, Houston extended its head-to-head winning streak to four games and improves to 21-1 all-time against the Roadrunners.
Young led the team with 21 points, all scored in the second half and overtime, paired with four rebounds while Blair finished with 20 points and four assists. The Cougars were relentless on the defensive end of the court, as the fourth-ranked team nationally in steals (14.9) finished the game forcing 36 turnovers by the Roadrunners.
In the first quarter, the Cougars jumped out to a hot start, sparking a 12-4 run to open the game led by two 3-pointers from senior forward Bria Patterson. Houston remained in firm control in both the front and backcourt as it closed out the first quarter with a 13-6 run to lead 25-10, marking the most points scored by the Cougars in any quarter this season.
Houston carried over its momentum into the second quarter with a 5-0 run. The Roadrunners managed to settle into the game while the Cougars remained dominant on the boards and in transition. UTSA posted a 9-0 run to end the quarter, yet still trailed 41-30 heading into the locker room.
Junior guard Tae’Lor Purvis and Patterson each posted a team-leading seven points at the half while graduate forward Tatyana Hill grabbed seven boards.
UTSA came out strong to start the second half and mustered a string of runs to level the score at 47-47 before the Cougars weathered the storm and capped the third quarter off with an 8-2 run to regain the lead at 58-52. Young scored the last six points for the Cougars in the final 1:14 of the third quarter to hand them the six-point lead heading into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars piled on the pressure to extend its lead to double digits at 63-52. UTSA battled to fight its way back into the game and rode a short run in the final minutes to force overtime.
With momentum in favor of UTSA, Young and Blair combined for nine of Houston’s 11 overtime points and never trailed to pull out the Cougars’ third victory of the season.
The Cougars remain at home and will host Washington State on Wednesday, Dec. 21 with tip-off set for 12:30 p.m.
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