Listen Live

Seniors lead Cougars to 16-0 C-USA record


Throughout their run to Conference USA perfection, the No. 25 Houston Cougars had their share of big comebacks, nail-biters and wire-to-wire blowouts, all the while chasing history.In Saturday’s regular-season finale, they found another way to win, surviving an overtime dogfight with the Tulane Green Wave to claim a 90-84 victory in front of 1,106 at Hofheinz Pavilion.

With the win, the Cougars (25-4, 16-0 C-USA), who had secured the regular-season league title, became the second women’s team to go undefeated in C-USA play, joining the 2007-08 UTEP Miners, who also went 16-0.

For first-year coach Todd Buchanan, Saturday’s perfect ending came down to two things: his seniors and a live-in-the-moment mentality.

“They’re incredible, not just as basketball players, but as student-athletes,” Buchanan said. “I told them two things: no regrets, no excuses and that’s what we got done today.”

And not surprisingly, seniors Brittney Scott (game-high 28 points) and Courtney Taylor (24) led the charge early and late; Jasmine Johnson (nine) did her damage when they needed it most.

Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:50 left in regulation tied the game at 71, and after a Scott layup just over a minute later gave UH a two-point lead, Tulane’s Danielle Nunn tied it again at 73 with 27 seconds remaining.

The teams then each misfired on desperation jumpers, sending the contest into an extra period.

Scott scored seven points in overtime as the Cougars went 14-of-18 from the free-throw line down the stretch to hold off Tulane (20-9, 9-7).

“I knew everybody was a little winded, tired after playing 40 minutes and I wanted the ball in my hands and I wanted to take the game on my shoulders,” Scott said. “We have leaders on our team. We have 4 starters that are seniors and having that helped pull it out.”

Their postgame celebration amid senior night was a long time coming, but Taylor and Co. know they have bigger goals in front of them — namely another C-USA crown in this week’s league tournament in El Paso.

Top seed Houston and No. 3 seed Rice earned first-round byes and will compete in the C-USA quarterfinals Thursday.

“(Saturday’s tough win) helps us, we’re going to have to fight every game,” Taylor said. “But we’ve had that tournament mentality — one and done — and that’s why we’re 16-0 in conference. We’re just going to keep that same mind frame.”