Big 12 Basketball

Houston Cougars Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Roster Preview

The Houston Cougars are preparing for the 2023-24 women’s basketball roster and below is a preview of every player on the roster entering November’s opening game.

Below are the returning players, the transfers and the freshmen that will play a role in Houston’s upcoming season.

Expected to Return

Bria Patterson

The 5-foot-11 forward had a COVID wavier to use for her final season. Last season she was second on the team in total rebounds (139), rebounds per game (4.6) and minutes played (981) while finishing third in total points (297), field goals made (113), 3-pointers made (24), free throws (47), and steals (66). She set a career-high 27 points against East Carolina in a game in which set the program record for minutes played with 54.


Britney Onyeje

The 5-foot-9 guard is back for what should be one final go-round after a redshirt senior season in which she averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds. She started 31 games last season, led the Cougars with 78 steals (the second straight season she led the team in that category) and also led them in 3-pointers made (59) and steals (78). She finished second in blocks (24) third in rebounds (129) and third in minutes played (903). Whether she starts or comes off the bench, she’ll be productive.

Ash’a Thompson

The 5-foot-10 senior played her second season for Houston in 2022-23, but she only averaged six minutes per game. In three college seasons she hasn’t made much of a breakthrough in terms of playing time. She hopes to change that this season.

Laila Blair

The 5-foot-8 senior is coming off her best season with Houston as she led the team in scoring with 14.2 points. She also averaged 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists. For her effort, she was a 2023 American Athletic Conference First Team All-Conference selection and a Dave Campbell’s Texas Basketball All-Texas Third Team pick. In 2022 she was American Athletic Conference Second Team All-Conference and in 2021 she was American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team. She’s been one of the Cougars’ most consistent high-level performers for three seasons.

Avalon Miller

The 6-foot-3 senior forward played in 20 games last season and averaged just 6.3 minutes per game. The Cougars could use her on the floor more often, as she has height that can help protect the rim. She proved in a game against UMCB that she can score (eight points) and rebounds (six boards). She just needs more chances.

Amari Conn

A 5-foot-7 senior guard, Conn is hoping for more playing time after logging just four minutes per game last season. She previously played at TCU and UALR before transferring to Houston.

Logyn McNeil

The 6-foot-3 redshirt sophomore forward was a Top 20 forward recruit when she signed with Houston. But she has yet to make a significant impact. She tore her ACL in her freshman season and took a redshirt. Last season she averaged just eight minutes per game, with season highs of four points and five rebounds in separate games. The Cougars are hoping to get much more out of her this season.


Kamryn Jones

The 6-foot-1 senior forward made progress last season as she started in 24 of her 29 games, averaged 20.4 minutes and averaged 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. She logged her first double-double (16 points and 14 rebounds). She had a career-high four steals in one game. She was third on the team with 22 blocks. Jones should compete for starting time again this season, with the inside track to start the season opener.

Arrival Via Transfer

N’Yah Boyd

The 5-foot-6 guard knows the Big 12 — she was with Oklahoma State before she transferred to UTEP last season. With the Miners she averaged 11.6 points, 3.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. She could be a starter and double-digit scorer for the Cougars as a senior this season.

Gia Cooke

The 5-foot-8 guard transferred in from Maryland, where she played 25 games and wasn’t able to make much of an impact with the Terrapins. When she signed with Maryland the sophomore was a Top 100 player in the country.

Maliyah Johnson

The 6-foot junior was at Pitt last year and averaged 8.5 points per game in 25.4 minutes per game. She has two years of eligibility left, but she plans to make an impact this season. She set a career high of 20 points last season and was a 30.8 percent 3-poitn shooter. She was also Pitt’s third-leading scorer in ACC play.

Peyton McFarland

The 6-foot-4 senior forward transferred in from Utah, where she played for the Pac-12 regular season champions and averaged 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 59 career games over three seasons. She has a chance to compete for starting time with the Cougars, who do have a collection of solid height in the frontcourt.

Djessira Diawara

A 6-foot-3 transfer forward from Clarendon College, the 2023 NJCAA All-America Third-Team pick from Mali averaged 18.4 points on 63.8 percent shooting last season. She also collected 16.1 rebounds. She played just one season for Clarendon. She’ll be making the learning curve from junior college to Division I basketball. Her height will be an asset early, and it’s possible she could make meaningful contributions in Big 12 play.


Shalexxus Aaron

The 6-foot-1 redshirt senior guard transferred in from Oregon State, but she’s had a long college career. She spent four seasons with USC (2017-21), a stretch that included two redshirt seasons, before she transferred to Texas Southern for one season and then to Oregon State. Last season she shot 32.9 percent from the 3-point line, which was OSU’s top average. For her college career she has averaged seven points per game.

Class of 2023 Recruits

Kierra Merchant

The 5-foot-10 guard from Westfield-Spring High School in Spring, Texas, brings an offensive mindset to a team that probably needs it. She was the state’s No. 16 player in terms of offensive threat, as ranked by Premier Basketball.

Starting Five: Oneyje, Blair, Boyd, Johnson, Patterson

First Four off Bench: Aaron, McFarland, McNeil, Jones

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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