Houston Cougars season preview

Houston head coach Todd Buchanan will look to build on last year with much of the same roster. - Photo by Rafael Suanes | USA TODAY Sports

A brief preview of the Houston Cougars' upcoming season in the inaugural year of the American Athletic Conference.

With the hoops season just over a week away I'll be previewing one school from the American Athletic Conference a day to get everyone up to speed on the 2013-14 season. I'll be kicking it off with my now-hometown team, the Houston Cougars.

Despite posting a sub-.500 record last season, it can only be seen as an improvement to the abysmal 2011-12 season where the Cougars won just three games. Given the last two seasons' less-than-stellar results, it's hard to believe that just three years ago the Cougars were nationally ranked and participated in the NCAA tournament. With only three new pieces this year, head coach Todd Buchanan will look to build on last year with much the same roster.

2012-13 Record: 13-17

Highest Ranking: N/A

2012-13 Conference: Conference USA

2013-14 Season Opener: 11/08 against Mississippi State
Who's back:

  • Tyler Gilbert: The sophomore came off the bench in 17 games and scored 20 points for the Cougars.
  • Marche' Amerson: As a freshman, Amerson started in all 30 of the Cougars' games averaging 31 minutes a night. The forward averaged nine points  and four rebounds a game.
  • Yasmeen Thompson: One of four seniors on the squad, Thompson played in all 30 games last year and started 29 of them. The center averaged eight points and eight rebounds a game, the latter which led the team.
  • Te'onna Campbell: Another senior, Campbell started all 30 games last season and as a 5-10 forward averaged 8.2 rebounds a game, just .3 fewer than Thompson.
  • Alecia Smith: As a freshman, Smith started in 26 games and played in all 30. She averaged seven points and three rebounds and shot just 30 percent from the field (true shooting percentage of 40 percent).
  • Marissa Ashton: The senior started in five games as a junior last year, averaging 21 minutes a game off the bench. Ashton averaged five rebounds a game to go along with seven points a match.
  • Jessieka Palmer: As a freshman the guard came off the bench in all 30 games, totaling 16 assists (38 turnovers) and four points a game.
  • Blanca Winslow: As a freshman Winslow played in 24 games off the bench. In limited minutes (147) she averaged a point a game and picked up nine assists to go with six turnovers.
  • Mae Woods: The senior center played in just 13 games last year totaling 31 minutes.
  • Terran Alford: After playing in every game in her freshman season, Alford played in just 11 of Houston's first 12 games last year before "missing the remainder of the season" according to the Cougar's website. I assume she was sidelined with an injury, although I find it curious that the site doesn't specify what the injury is. Either way, Alford ought to factor in pretty heavily.
  • Taylor Gilbert: The twin sister of Tyler. Gilbert red-shirted last year and was a three-star recruit according to ESPN.

Who's new:

  • Alexia Sanders: The guard is a three-star recruit that had verbally committed to Rice before signing with the Cougars.
  • Demetria Foreman: A transfer student from Angelina Junior College (Lufkin, TX), Foreman averaged 12.8 points per game last season.
  • Destini Texada: The forward averaged 10 points and seven rebounds a game in 57 career games with Houston Baptist University.

Full Roster:

0 Alexia Sanders G 5-8 FR-HS The Woodlands, Texas/College Park HS
1 Demetria Foreman G 5-6 JR-TR Irving, Texas/MacArthur HS/Angelina JC
3 Bianca Winslow G 5-7 SO-1L Bellaire, Texas/Bellaire HS
12 Destini Texada F 6-0 SR-TR Houston, Texas//Houston Baptist
15 Alecia Smith G 5-7 SO-1L Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS
20 Yasmeen Thompson C 6-2 SR-1L Philadelphia, Pa.//Paris JC
21 Jessieka Palmer G 6-1 SO-1L La Marque, Texas/La Marque HS
22 Marche' Amerson F 6-1 SO-1L Bryan, Texas/Rudder HS
24 Marissa Ashton F 6-1 SR-1L Dickinson, Texas/Dickinson HS/Texas Tech
25 Mae Woods C 6-4 SR-3L Maple Ridge, British Columbia/Maple Ridge Secondary School
32 Te'onna Campbell F 5-10 SR-1L Ontario, Calif.//New Mexico JC
33 Tyler Gilbert F 6-2 SO-1L Missouri City, Texas/Hightower HS
34 Terran Alford F 6-1 JR-1L Oklahoma City, Okla./Home-schooled
35 Taylor Gilbert F 6-2 FR-RS Missouri City, Texas/Hightower HS
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