UH falls to E. Carolina in AAC final
FORT WORTH — Just like most of the season, the University of Houston came oh-so-close.
The Cougars’ bid to snap a 12-year NCAA Tournament drought ended in disappointment Thursday night, falling to East Carolina 46-44 in the American Athletic Conference women’s championship game at Dickies Arena.
UH (15-16) was seeking its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2011.
Kamryn Jones had 13 points and Tatyana Hill and Bria Patterson added 11 points for the Cougars.
Once up 11 points, UH took a 42-40 lead on a hook shot by Patterson with 2:31 remaining. ECU’s Amiya Joyner made a layup and made a free throw and Micah Dennis added a pair of free throws for a 45-42 lead.
Jones’ driving layup pulled the Cougars within 45-44 with 18 seconds left. The Cougars had one last chance when ECU committed a turnover in the closing seconds. But the Cougars’ last shot from well beyond the 3-point line fell short.
UH struggled in close games this season, with 14 of UH’s 16 losses by seven points or less. The Cougars’ five overtime games matched the second-most in the nation, including a triple-overtime loss to ECU on Feb. 22.
ECU (23-9) received the AAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Taylor Bell came off the bench to score 17 of her careerhigh 22 points in the second half to lead Southeastern Louisiana to its first NCAA Tournament with a 66-57 win over Lamar in the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament on Thursday. Portia Adams scored 20 points for third-seeded Lamar (20-12), which swept SE Louisiana in the regular season.
Rice led UTSA 31-19, but the Roadrunners pulled away to beat the Owls 62-54. … Savannah Wheeler scored 28 points as No. 25 Middle Tennessee won its eighth straight game with an 84-53 victory over ninthseeded Charlotte. … Jaylin Foster and Acacia Hayes scored 14 points apiece in Western Kentucky’s 71-67 victory over UAB. … Elina Arike scored 15 points, and three others contributed 10 points in UTEP’s 64-54 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Gabby Gregory scored 26 points and ninthseeded Kansas State defeated eighth-seeded Texas Tech 79-69 on Thursday night in Kansas City, Mo. … Tomi Taiwo led a balanced attack with 13 points and 10th-seeded TCU, winner of just one conference game, upended seventhseeded Kansas 57-52 in the first round.
In Birmingham, Ala., Kennedi Heard scored 12 points as Prairie View A&M lost to Southern 64-37 in a quarterfinal. … Shmya Ward scored 20 points as Alabama State beat Bethune-Cookman in the other quarterfinal.