HOUSTON - The Rice Owls women's basketball team secured their first C-USA victory of the season in dramatic fashion Sunday afternoon, defeating the UTSA Roadrunners 49-48 in overtime at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice junior guard Maya Hawkins hit the game-tying jumper with 24 seconds left in the extra period and the Owls then secured a defensive rebound and were fouled with one second remaining. Sophomore guard Wendy Knight proceeded to make the game-winning free throw to give the Owls their first home victory of the year.
"I'm just really proud and excited for our team," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "They've been working really hard and you love to see them come out and get a win. We've been in so many tight games and it's nice to see that the extra work you've been putting in matters. We had a lot of great moments today and this truly was a team win."
Rice had an efficient opening period offensively by shooting 64 percent from the field and scored eight points in the paint on their way to a 15-13 lead at quarter's end. Both teams struggled shooting in the second quarter, making a combined 5-of-27 shots with 10 turnovers as Rice entered the locker room in front, 21-18.
UTSA outscored Rice 13-11 in the third quarter but Rice maintained a lead into the fourth and took a 42-39 advantage with 1:09 left in regulation. However a layup from UTSA's Akunna Elonu narrowed the lead to 42-41 with 38 seconds left. Rice's Jasmine Goodwine then split a pair at the free throw line and with no timeouts remaining, UTSA pushed the basketball and tied the game at 43-43 with three second remaining on a layup from Crystal Chidomere.
Rice had one last chance to win the game in regulation but Shani Rainey was unable to get a shot off with a smothering UTSA defense. In overtime, it was UTSA that took an initial 46-43 lead with a three-pointer from Mathilde Hergott. Two minutes later Rainey fouled out with the Owls trailing 48-45 but Rice scored the game's final four points to secure the win.
The Owls will not playing again for another six days before hosting North Texas on Sunday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. in a nationally televised game on the American Sports Network.