Monday, January 23, 2017

UIW's Celia Garcia Paunero Earns Southland Weekly Honor

Photo by Steve Slate
Used with Permission
Senior averaged 24.0 points, 19.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 3.5 blocks, and 2.5 steals per game

From Southland Conference and University of the Incarnate Word Press Release

FRISCO, TEXAS (January 23, 2017) Incarnate Word Cardinal senior forward Celia Garcia Paunero’s historic week on the hardwood did not go by unnoticed by the Southland Conference voters, as the Spaniard earned Southland Conference Player of the Week honors. Garcia Paunero averaged 24.0 points, 19.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals against Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin. She posted back-to-back 24-point outings, including a 24-point, 24-board performance in a win over the Lions on Thursday. Her 24 rebounds are the most in a game by anyone in the Southland Conference this season and is a school record. Garcia Paunero leads the league in rebounding and is third in scoring. She is also tied for 10th place nationally in double-doubles.

Garcia Paunero was quoted:  “I’m happy, but the most important thing is we got a big win on Thursday. We’re going to continue to work, get better, and get wins this upcoming week.”

Head Coach Christy Smith also stated: “We’re super proud of her. I think she’s had a lot of really good games, but just hasn’t been recognized, so this is awesome to see. To see her get 24 rebounds and 24 points is just an awesome reflection of how hard she plays. I think it also shows how hard her teammates play to get her the basketball and to find her.”

UIW hosts Abilene Christian on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. on “Greek Night" and will  play at Central Arkansas on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m.

Houston Dash Acquire 2018 Third-Round Pick From Orlando Pride for Ubogagu

From Houston Dash Press Release

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 23, 2017) The Houston Dash have acquired Orlando Pride’s natural third-round draft pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft in a trade for F Chioma Ubogagu, the club announced today.

“It is always difficult to trade a player like Chioma. She will bring a lot of pace and tenacity to Orlando,” head coach, Randy Waldrum said. “She was also a great ambassador for the club in the community and we wish her the best moving forward.” 

Ubogagu, 24, played in 15 NWSL contests since joining Houston last January, starting nine games. The Stanford product made her Dash debut in the season opener, a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Red Stars, on April 16.

The forward claimed Player of the Week honors after she scored a goal and tallied an assist in a 2-1 victory at FC Kansas City on May 7.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Houston tennis splits season opening double-header

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 21, 2017) The Houston Cougars kicked off their 2017 spring season on January 21, 2017 at the Barbara Winston Tennis Facility, The Cougars faced in-state opponents University of Texas at Arlington and Prairie View A&MUniversity. Houston dropped the first match of their double-header Saturday by the score of 4-2 against the Mavericks. Houston dropped the doubles point when Tsveta Dimitrova and Lauren Alter fell to Agustina Serio and Angeles de los Rios by the score of 6-0. The Houston pair of Sveva Mazzari and Constandena Nicolaou also dropped their doubles match 6-3 to Anna Wichert and Astrid Gehre. In singles competition, Nicolaou beat Lopez 6-2, 6-4 while Cristina Rovira downed Jessica Birrowski 6-4, 7-5 for Houston’s only points. UTA’s Serio defeated Alter 6-1, 6-0 while Houston’s Ana Glumac fell in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, to Wichert. Gehre beat Houston’s Mazzari 4-6, 6-4, 5-3 to clinch the win.

In their second match of the double-header, the Cougars swept Prairie View A&M 4-0. Dimitrova and Alter were paired up again, beating Neharika Rama and Shaddae Findley 6-1. Mazzari and Rovira rebounded to down Timara Maxwell and Trinity Randolph 6-1 to win the doubles competition
Rovira extended Houston's lead with a straight-set victory over Stacey Lackey, dropping just one game in route to winning 6-1, 6-0. On court five, Nicolaou posted the same score over Maxwell, winning Houston's third point with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. With the Cougars ahead on the remaining three courts, it was Mazzari who wrapped up the win with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Thomas.

Next up for the Cougars will be a Saturday, January 28 match against Abilene Christian at 2 p.m. CST. Also on that day, Houston will officially dedicate the Barbara Wallace Winston Tennis Facility as part of a pre-match ceremony.

Houston falls to SMU 66-45 in women's college basketball action

Photo by Robert H Kelly
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 21, 2017) The Houston Cougars could not contain the offensive punch for the SMU Mustangs and as a result, dropped a 66-45 decision at Hofheinz Pavilion on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Freshman Jasmyne Harris came off the bench to score 16 points, with Jacqueline Blake adding 11 points to lead the Cougars. The Cougars were down by one at halftime, but a sluggish second half, where the Mustangs outscored Houston 38-18 sealed the Cougars’ fate. The Mustangs’ starting forward Alicia Froling tallied her 13th double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Starting guard McKenzie Adams added 17 points for the Mustangs.

Houston fell to 1-5 in conference play while SMU raised their record to 2-4. Next up for the Cougars is a January 25 matchup against Memphis on the road.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

US Army runner Elkanuh Kibet top USA finisher at Chevron Houston Marathon

Photo by Lou Roesch, Copyright 2017, All Rights Rseerved
By Lou Roesch
Special for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) Fifteen short months ago, almost to the day, then US Army specialist Elkanah Kibet ran his first ever marathon in Chicago. The Kenyan born runner did it in spite of a nine-month deployment to Kuwait and Iraq and without beginning his training for Chicago’s 26.2 mile edition until just six weeks before the race. Kibet put his face on the racing map leading the way for the first nine miles and then hanging with the first group for the next ten. The former Auburn Tiger finished seventh (2:11:31) registering the fastest debut time for an American runner since Andrew Carlson’s 2:11:24 in 2012.   The 31-year-old racer’s performance earned him a spot in U.S. Military’s World Class Athlete Program.

On Sunday, undaunted by the weather, Kibet ranked fourth on Runners World list of top American marathoners in 2015 became the first American to complete the Chevron Houston Marathon. His sixth place finish led a contingent of American runners including fellow Army teammate 1LT Robert Cheseret who finished ninth.

Specialist Leonard Korir, also a member of the Army’s WCAP, won the Aramco Half-Marathon in stirring fashion on Sunday morning. The 2016 US Olympian and two-time national collegiate champion in the 10,000M and 5,000M races edged Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa Gemechu by one-one-hundredth of a second.

Over the years, the Chevron Houston Marathon has become predictable and unpredictable all at the same time. The 2017 edition was no different as Ethiopia won the women’s side for the 11th consecutive year and Kenya topped the leaderboard for the first time in eight years. Dominic Ondoro took the men’s race in 2:12:05 keeping the title in the hands or should I say the feet of the African runners for the 13th consecutive year.

Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa won her first career marathon winning by just 27 seconds over the 2016 champion Biruktayit Degefa in one of the closest finishes in Chevron Houston Marathon history. Assefa admitted during the post-race press conference that she was having cramps throughout the race but was determined to keep an eye on Gedefa and not lose the race. Ethiopia finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the race with American Becky Wade (3rd) the lone runner breaking up the African domination finishing five minutes and thirty nine seconds off the pace.

Registration for the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon is now open.

Kenya's Dominic Ondoro takes 2017 Houston Marathon title

Dominic Ondoro ran a 2:12:05 to win the
2017 Houston Marathon.
Photo by Kristine Kelly, TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) Dominic Ondoro broke with the pack at the 25-mile mark; outdistancing his nearest competitors to win the 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon on the streets of Houston on Sunday, January 15, 2017.  The Kenyan’s time of 2:12:05 was 28 seconds faster than second place Yitayal Atanfu, who also finished in second place in the race in 2016. Ondoro’s time was a bit off his personal best; a 2:08:00 performance at the Tiberias Marathon in Israel in 2013.

His winning time of 2:12:05 was the slowest since 2008, were countryman David Cheruiyot won the third of his three Houston Marathon titles, with the time of 2:12:32. Cheruiyot also won Houston in 2005 (2:14:50) and 2006 (2:12:02). The current Houston Marathon record of 2:06:51 was set in 2012 by Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia. Ondoro broke the eight-year streak of an Ethiopian winning in Houston dating back to 2009. In 2014, Ondoro placed fifth in Houston (2:11:43) followed by a fourth-place finish in 2015 (2:09:40). In 2016, The 29-year old won the Twin Cities Marathon (2:08:51) in 2016 and place third at the Ottawa Marathon (2:11:3). When questioned what plans he had for the $45,000 prize money, he responded, “Do some investment; buy a boat.”

Ethiopian runners finished in third to fifth place; with Abayyneh Ayele Wuldegiorgus (2:12:44), Andualem Shiferaw (2:12:54) and Abrha Milaw Asefa (2:16:16). The top American finisher was Elkanah Kibet, placing sixth with the time of 2:17:25. Next year’s event is scheduled for January 14, 2018.

American Leonard Korir wins Houston Half Marathon

American Leonard Korir won the Aramco
Houston Half Marathon.
Photo by Kristine Kelly, TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 15, 2017) After 13.1 miles, American Leonard Korir out battled Feyisa Lilesa take to claim the Aramco Houston Half Marathon title on January 15, 2017. Both runners were credited with the finish time of 1:01:14, with the Colorado native edging out the Ethiopian at the tape. The winning time places Korir, who was a 2016 Olympian and finished 14th in the 10,000 meters, sixth on the All-Time performance list for the event and second on the All-Time list by an American. Third place was Hiskel Tewelde Ghebru of Ethiopia with the of 1:01:07 with fellow countryman Fikadu Tsadik placing fourth with the same time.

In the women’s half marathon Veronicah Nyaruai Wanjiru (Kenya) took top honors with the time of 1:07:58. Ethiopian Dera Dida Yami was eight seconds back in second place, with Mary Wacera (Kenya) placing third. The top American was Jordan Hasay, who finished fourth with the time of 1:08:04.

Next year’s event is scheduled for January 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Houston Texans spell defeat for the Legion of Doom on Wild Card Weekend

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Special for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 8, 2017) Six weeks ago, a Houston Texans defensive breakdown and some questionable officiating led to an Oakland Raiders come from behind win in Mexico City. On Saturday afternoon in Oakland quarterback Connor Cook’s first NFL start, the Houston Texans defense left no doubt as to why they are the best in the NFL defeating the Raiders by a score of 27-14. The NFL’s number one defense sacked Cook three times, intercepted him three times, held the Oakland’s Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to four catches on 17 targets and stopped the Raiders on 14 of their 16 third down plays including all seven in the first half. The 13 percent third down efficiency was Oakland’s poorest effort of the season.

Houston entered the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend opener averaging a league worst 7.6 first half points through 16 weeks. With 6:16 left in the opening quarter, the Houston Texans had exceeded that average and built a 10-0 lead with help from LDE Jadaveon Clowney. Number 90’s first career NFL interception gave Houston the ball at the Oakland nine. An unnecessary roughing call moved it to the four and running back Lamar Miller did the rest giving the Texans their biggest first quarter lead of the season.

Brian McTaggart, the Houston Astros beat writer, tweeted that J.J. Watt mouthed to Clowney after the TD: "That's all you,” and Clowney in his first healthy NFL season, continued to justify his number one overall selection in 2014 according to Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien..

“He’s really stepped up for us,” said O’Brien about Clowney’s effort. “He makes plays on the football even when he’s getting after the quarterback or tackling the running back, there’s a chance that he could get the ball. He’s got that knack and that was a very nice play by him.” 

A Latavious Murray touchdown drew the Raiders as close as they would get at 10-7 with 1:01 left in the first quarter.

The defense continued to harass Cook and the offense put up ten more points in the second quarter building a 13 point halftime edge. A Nick Novak field goal extended the lead to 13-7 and then in the half’s waning moments, quarterback Brock Osweiler put together his best drive in recent memory. The maligned Texans signal caller hit rookie receiver Will Fuller on first down for 19 yards from the Houston 40. He followed that with a perfectly thrown over the outside shoulder ball to DeAndre Hopkins for 38 yards and two plays later flipped a two yard scoring toss to Hopkins and the Texans never looked back.

Hopkins finished the catching five of nine targets for 67 yards and the score while Osweiler finished 14 of 25 for 168 yards and 90.1 QBR his best of the season. Houston scored touchdowns on all three trips into the redzone.

Cook looked more like the Texans Brock Osweiler of old completing 18 of 45 for 168 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions while the Texan’s run defense tops in the NFL held Murray to just 39 yards on 12 carries and the Raiders as a whole to 64 yards on 21 carries.

The Texans meanwhile ran for 100 plus yards again including Lamar Miller’s 31-carry 73-yard, one touchdown performance.

Houston matched their season high scoring output with their 27 point outburst and now await the outcome of Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers/Miami Dolphins game. Should Miami win, The Texans and their top ranked defense will face the Chief next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium hoping to revenge last year’s playoff embarrassment to Kansas City. If the Steelers prevail, Houston will travel to Gillette Stadium to face the Patriots who have won 14 of 17 home playoff games since the home of the Patriots opened in 2003. The Texans last second round playoff visit ended in a 41-28 loss to the Patriots in 2012.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Houston downs Tulsa 64-61 in mid-week basketball action

Photo by Robert H Kelly
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 4, 2016) The Houston Cougars, without the services of Rob Gray, downed the Tulsa Golden Hurricane by the score of 64-61 at Hofheinz Pavilion on Wednesday, January 4, 2016. The win moved the Cougars to 3-0 in American Athletic Conference action sand sets up a Saturday, January 7 meeting with No. 22 Cincinnati. Houston was paced by Wes VanBeck, who was pressed into service in the starting lineup due to Gray’s illness scored a career-high 16 points along with going 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Tulsa dropped to 7-7 overall and 1-1 in American play with the loss. Damyean Dotson led the Cougars with 18 points, with Danrad Knowles and Galen Robinson Jr. adding 10 points each. Corey Henderson led Tulsa with 16 points.