Volume 3, Issue 1 University of Houston
Lady Coogs hope to have Hawaiian Christmas
By Crystal J. Doucette
The UH women's basketball team will attempt to rebound from a 31-point loss to No. 5 Georgia when it travels to Hawaii to participate in the Ala Moana Classic against Eastern Washington, Hawaii and Detroit-Mercy next week.
The round-robin tourney will give the Lady Cougars a chance to improve to 7-4 before Christmas.
UH (4-4) lost to the Lady Bulldogs (6-2), 92-61, Sunday in Athens, Ga., after a 19-point upset over then-No. 9 Louisiana Tech only a week before in Hofheinz Pavilion.
Georgia dominated the game from the beginning. The Lady Cougars were unable to take the lead, fighting for single-digit deficits for most of the first half. Georgia hit 50 percent from the field before halftime, compared to UH's 38.9 percent.
Despite getting into foul trouble with five minutes left to play in the first half, freshman guard/forward Chandi Jones led UH with 15 points. Jones won the Dec. 4 Conference USA Player of the Week award following a 32-point barrage against the Lady Techsters.
The Lady Coogs were within striking distance of Georgia in the first half when Jones picked up her third foul. With Jones out of the game and UH battling for loose balls against the Georgia defense, the team entered the locker room at halftime trailing, 44-29.
The situation looked a little brighter for UH at the beginning of the second half as Georgia stepped onto the court a little sluggish, but the Lady Bulldogs stepped up.
Senior forward Mone't Sykes grabs a rebound during the Lady Cougars' 81-77 loss to Indiana on Dec. 1. Sykes and the women's basketball team will travel to Hawaii on Monday to participate in the Ala Moana Classic.
Georgia went to the charity line more often than UH, making 16-of-27 attempts while sending UH to the line 14 times. Senior forward Norma Noel lived up to her stats, sinking all four of her free throw attempts.
UH turned the ball over 24 times, knocking only 16 from Georgia. The Lady Coogs posted just two blocks -- one by senior forward/center ShaRonda Lasseter and one by senior guard/forward Danielle Fenderson. UH had seven steals to Georgia's 17. Senior guard Jessica Shanklin led the Lady Cougars with two steals.
Senior guard/forward Cathy Lida matched a career-high three-of-four on three-point attempts.
Georgia's twin seniors, guards Kelly and Coco Miller, contributed 19 and 16 points, respectively. Kelly stole the ball six times, while Coco grabbed eight boards. Senior guard Deanna Nolan, who was guarding Jones, put up 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The most dangerous Lady Bulldog was senior center Tawana McDonald. At 6-4, McDonald blocked nine shots, snatched eight rebounds and scored 14 points in 25 minutes of play with only one foul. She also contributed three assists and three steals.
First up for UH on Monday will be Eastern Washington (3-4), ranked fourth in the Big Sky Conference. The Lady Eagles were riding a three-game winning streak until they lost to Nevada-Las Vegas, 72-81.
The biggest name on the EWU team is junior forward Allie Bailey, averaging a 41.5 field goal percentage. She led the Lady Eagles in a 59-57 win over Gonzaga with 11 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
The Lady Coogs will also have to watch junior guard/forward Jennifer Paluck and junior guard Jamie Granger. Granger is shooting 50 percent from the outside while Paluck hit an unreal five-of-seven three-point attempts in the Gonzaga game.
The Lady Cougars will face Detroit-Mercy on Dec. 19. The Lady Titans are 5-3 and are led by senior guard Shari Hill and junior guard/forward Molly Peterman. Hill is averaging 49.5 percent from the field and a .500 three-point percentage. Peterman is hitting 54.1 percent inside and pulling down 8.2 rebounds per game.
Host-team Hawaii (6-2) is holding second place in the Western Athletic Conference. Senior forward Crystal Lee made WAC Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 20 for her efforts in the Hawaiian Regent Classic.
Lee was named tournament MVP and tied a career-high 23 points against Pepperdine, a team the Lady Cougars lost to earlier this season on the road in tournament play. Averaging 36 minutes per game, Lee has hit 52.4 percent from inside and 11-of-24 on three-point attempts.
UH will play Hawaii on Dec. 20, the last day of the tournament.
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