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Volume 72, Issue 84, Friday, February 2, 2007


Cougars can't buy bucket, fall at home

The Daily Cougar

Tight defense, a press up the court and converting turnovers into points -- those are the tactics Tulane employed to bring down the Cougars women's basketball team at Hofheinz Pavilion on Thursday.

Tulane (18-4, 7-2 in Conference USA) forced the Cougars (7-12, 4-5 in C-USA) into early mistakes with a full-court trap. Houston turned the ball over 22 times, and Tulane converted those turnovers into 26 points in the 71-56 UH loss.

"I'm really disappointed that we're not communicating better," head coach Joe Curl said. "We went out and threw passes right into their hands, and then bam, it was a 12-0 run. We tried to defuse that and I think we just got down."

The Cougars' turnover problems were not the only blemishes lining the stat sheets. UH shot 17 for 60 from the field and 8 percent from behind the three-point line. But junior guard Tye Jackson, who scored 20 points with a five-for-21 performance from the floor, attributed Houston's poor shooting to the pressure of Tulane defense.

"That was a good defensive team. I was forcing a lot and that was one of the reasons that I was shooting myself out of the game," Jackson said. "My teammates and coaches talked to me, and basically the only way we're going to win is if we play as a team."

The Cougars kept it close in the first half. The score was 25-24 in favor of Tulane with five minutes remaining, but Houston could not sink a field goal from that point on.

"They ran a 2-2-1 on us and that kind of took us out of our comfort zone, but we got to learn to be patient and keep the ball in our hands," Jackson said. "From our turnovers they scored, and we didn't take care of the ball."

Tulane received stellar support off the bench. The biggest spark for Tulane was junior guard Nikki Luckhurst, who put in 20 points and shot 53 percent from the field, and killed the Cougars behind the three-point line, going four for nine.

The Cougars were not hanging their heads after the loss.

"I'm proud of my teammates because we pushed it out, but our shots just couldn't fall. I honestly think we will make it -- we're going to get them back at the conference tournament," Jackson said.

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