What does the Cougars' sweep of the David Jones Memorial Classic mean for their future success? Well, as much as beating two teams with a combined 2-10 record can mean. The University of Houston is 3-4 now and that's a whole lot prettier than 1-4; I assume that's the takeaway as the Cougars prepare to play their third game in five days Wednesday night.
By the Numbers
Houston shot 80 percent from the free throw line in their 54-44 win over Kent State; given how awful they had been at the charity stripe previously, that's a small miracle. The Cougars are now shooting 65 percent on free throws, which is better than the 62.5 percent their opponents are shooting. Progress!
While their free throw shooting vastly improved against Kent State, UH's efficiency from the field still leaves something to be desired. Their eFG percentage against the Golden Flashes was an abysmal 32.2 percent and their stellar free throw shooting only boosted them to a 39.8 true shooting percentage. It's still too early to know exactly why the Cougars are shooting so poorly, but it may have something to do with shot distribution - more on that later.
Against Prairie View A&M, the Cougars shot 44.7 percent from the field. That says more about A&M than it says about the Cougars, I'm afraid. Yasmeen Thompson scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win and UH shot 75 percent from the free throw line. Suffice to say, the Cougars had a darn good holiday weekend.
Marche' Amerson has taken 73 shots for the Cougars and made 23 of them. She is shooting 2-14 from the 3-point line. It's not great. My point isn't to pick on Amerson as much as it is to point out that she has taken 18 percent of the Cougars field goal attempts. LeBron James takes about 20 percent of the Heat's shots because he's the best player on the planet. Most teams should not have one player taking nearly 20 percent of their shots - especially not in college.
Perhaps the Cougars just don't have a better shooting option, although Teonna Campbell is the leading scorer on the team and she is doing so very efficiently. But she is not an outside shooter, so when Campbell is stopped inside, Houston needs someone to get the ball to. More often than not, they get the ball to Amerson who is more than willing to shoot it.
In fairness to Amerson she posted a 37 percent eFG last season and is shooting 33 percent by the same metric in the early goings this year. She'll probably improve her shooting as the season goes on, and quite frankly if she is going to slump now is the time to do it.
The Cougars will play host to the Washington Huskies on Wednesday in what will be another huge test for UH. Washington is 1-2 and was picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the PAC-12 - a conference that is much, much stronger than The American, it should be noted. Houston hung around against the No. 12 Aggies, but can they get over the hump to win their third game in a row?