Cougars’ Coach Is Back Where He Belongs

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: November 6, 2008

HOUSTON — A familiar face returns to the University of Houston Lady Cougars sideline this season. Head women’s basketball coach Joe Curl returns after missing the entire season in 2007-2008.

A year ago, Curl was preparing for his 10th season at the helm of the Lady Cougars women’s basketball team, but a heart attack in October forced him to miss the season.

Now he is back with a young squad that features nine returning lettermen and three newcomers. “I am really blessed to be back on the sidelines this season,” Coach Curl said during the Cougars Media Day press conference.

“I feel real good, I’m eating more healthier, and I’m keeping my weight down.”The Lady Cougars went 15-16 last season under interim head coach and third-year assistant Danny Hughes. This year a young squad, full of talent is ready to go with their leader back in the fold.Sophomore guard Brittney Scott and newcomer Porsche Landry will look to lead the Lady Cougars on the floor. The team’s lone senior is 6-foot-1 sharpshooter Zane Jakobsone from Riga, Lativa.

Juniors Ryan Bradley (Houston Madison) and Ashlee Joseph (Houston Washington) will also be called upon this season. “Our sophomore class is where it starts and they are just really a good group all the way through”, Coach Curl stated.Houston’s frontcourt looks to be the strength of the team as it boasts C-USA All-Freshman team performers Cobilyn Hill (6-foot-3/Houston Eisenhower) and Courtney Taylor (G-F/6-0/Crockett H.S.).

Both are joined by veterans Bradley and Joseph. Sophomore Brittany Mason from Laporte is also an athletic player who could play a big part in the rebounding game.On the outside, the Lady Cougars guards are young but talented. Sophomore Jasmine Johnson (5-foot-6/Omaha, Neb.), and freshmen Roxanna Button (5-foot-9/Coppell,Tx.) and sophomore Megan Morton(5-foot-10/Winnsboro,Tx.) will add a lot of quickness.In addition to three newcomers on the roster, a pair of new faces join the coaching staff in assistant coaches Amanda Barksdale and Elena Lovato.

Barksdale, a native Houstonian, returns to her alma mater to a program which she helped lead to a school-record number of wins and a NCAA Tournament appearance as a senior.

Prior to spending her final year of eligibility at UH, Barksdale played

During her time in South Bend, Indiana, she ranked among the blocked shots leaders in the Big East Conference, finishing third in the league with 58 as a sophomore.

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