by Jason Paul RamÔrezDaily Cougar Staff
It's too bad the Lady Cougars can't play all their games in the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion.
Coming into Saturday night's game against Baylor, Houston owned a 6-2 record at home, but was just 2-5 away from Hofheinz.
Thus, it was no bold prediction to say the Cougars were going to take care of business at home once again against a Lady Bears team that was coming into the contest winless on the road this season (0-6).
And Houston did indeed win the ballgame (83-65), but the victory left Cougars coach Jessie Kenlaw wondering why her team can't play as well as they did Saturday every time out.
"When this team is going on all cylinders," Kenlaw said, "we can play against anybody. But what we've got to figure out now is, what's it going to take for us to play like this night in and night out?"
In the Cougars' (10-8, 3-3 in the Southwest Conference) three SWC losses (two of which have been on the road), they have hit a paltry 33.8 percent of their shots from the floor; in Houston's three conference victories (two being at Hofheinz), it has shot the ball 49.3 percent.
"I think what happens is that at home, you're so used to doing the same things before every game on your home floor, it makes it easier to play and concentrate on what you have to do to win ballgames," said Houston junior forward Pat Luckey. "And on the road, you realize that you're not able to go through the same normal routine, meaning that you may not play well."
Luckey played well Saturday and appears to have broken out of her two-game funk in which she hit just 11 of 48 shots (22.9 percent) in losses to Texas Tech (Jan. 20) and Texas A&M (Wednesday).
The San Marcos native torched the Bears (9-12, 1-5 in the SWC) for 34 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-25 shooting in 37 minutes of action.
"I'm glad I made most of my shots this time," Luckey said. "But it's most important for all of us to make most of our shots."
The Cougars shot 46.8 percent from the field (51.4 in the first half) and limited Baylor to a 37.8-percent shooting night.
"I don't mind losing ballgames if I see that our players are putting forth a good effort to try and win," said Bears coach Sonja Hogg. "But the effort just wasn't there tonight, and Houston just took us right out of our rhythm."
Baylor jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a layup from junior forward Tonia Harris, but never led again, and Harris never scored again from the field as the Cougars took a 42-24 lead at the half.
Much of the scoring on the night for Houston came off of its transition defense as the Cougars made 19 layups on numerous fast-break opportunities.
"Half of Houston's points came off of transition," said Baylor sophomore forward Amanda Mooney, who scored a career-high 17 points off the bench on 8-of-17 shooting. "And every time Houston was on a breakaway, it seemed Luckey was always there."
A Luckey layup gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 78-56 with 1:51 left to play.
Houston sophomore forward Jennifer Jones complemented Luckey's scoring with 15 points, most of which came on aggressive, powerful moves inside.
"I told my post (Kacy Moffitt), `You see that move right there? Now that is a very good power move,' " Hogg said of Jones.
Jones also contributed eight rebounds and made seven of 10 shots from the free-throw line.
"We just turned up our intensity tonight, and it gave us confidence as the game went on," Jones said. "Now we just need to be consistent with that no matter where we play.
"But I really think that all it's going to take is one breakthrough road victory for us to be able to win on the road again."