Temira Poindexter, Maddie Bittle lead TU past Houston

Temira Poindexter, Maddie Bittle lead TU past Houston

From staff reports

Temira Poindexter scored 22 points, including two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, to lead Tulsa past Houston 70-68 on Saturday afternoon at the Reynolds Center.

Poindexter also had seven rebounds. Maddie Bittle added 18 points and Delanie Crawford 16 for TU, which held on after taking a 64-50 lead into the fourth quarter.

Houston opened the fourth with a 9-0 run that ended with a Bittle layup. Laila Blair’s layup with 37.9 seconds left cut Houston’s deficit to 68-65. Poindexter then got blocked, but Blair missed the tying 3 with 4.9 seconds left.

After Poindexter’s free throws, Blair made a 3-pointer as time expired.

The Golden Hurricane, 14-3 overall, is 4-0 in the American Athletic Conference for the first time in its nine years as a member. Houston, led by Bria Patterson’s 17 points, dropped to 6-11 overall and 3-1 in the AAC. Kamryn Jones added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Cougars.

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It marked the first time in nine years as a member of the league that Tulsa started the conference season 4-0. TU’s previous best start in the AAC was 3-0 in the 2018-19 season.

“There are no easy games in our conference since we play in such a competitive league,” TU coach Angie Nelp said. “Houston is a very good and talented team. We knew that to get a win, we would have to do a lot of things really well.

“I was very pleased with our players and how they stood up to the test we went through in this game. We did what we had to do to win. We stuck together and were invincible. I was very proud of our players. We had some players step up a lot from a scoring standpoint and some rebounding standpoint and that was the difference in the game.”

TU got off to a quick start with a 15-point lead in the first quarter that ended 28-15. Bittle scored nine and Poindexter eight in the first. Houston, however, responded with a 15-2 run that made it 33-30 before the Golden Hurricane responded with a 9-2 run to take a 42-34 lead into the break.

An early 9-0 run in the second half extended TU’s lead to 54-38. Bittle and Crawford each had seven points in the third.

TU, which survived just 2-for-14 field goals in the fourth, sank 17-of-20 free throws overall while Houston was 3-of-4.

The Golden Hurricane is 9-0 at home for the first time in program history. TU’s next game is Tuesday at Temple.

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