Owls Drop C-USA Road Opener at Middle Tennessee, 71-61

Jan. 5, 2017

Final Stats

Middle Tennessee 71-Rice 61 (PDF Box Score)

MURFREESBORO, TN – Rice senior point guard Maya Hawkins scored a season-high 17 points but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders from defeating the Owls in a 71-61 loss Thursday evening at the Murphy Center.

The Owls (9-5, 0-3) dropped their third straight game to begin Conference USA action despite outshooting last year’s defending C-USA champion Blue Raiders (7-6, 2-0) 50 percent-41 percent. Middle Tennessee managed to outscore the Owls in both points off turnovers (21-9) and second chance points (23-6).

Hawkins scored her team-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field (3-of-6 from deep), and snagged a team-best seven rebounds along with five assists in 37 minutes. The Mansfield, Texas native kept hope alive in the fourth quarter with 10 points along with four assists.

Redshirt sophomore forward Nicole Iademarco added an additional 11 points for the Owls off the bench in 26 minutes while sophomore forward Lexie Ducat tied a season-high with 10 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Senior forward Jasmine Goodwine chipped in eight points and will enter play on Saturday just two points shy of becoming the 16th player in Rice history to reach 1,000 career points.

Middle Tennessee was led in scoring by point guard Ty Petty, who notched a game-high 24 points, while forward Alex Johnson contributed 22 points with a 12-of-13 performance at the charity stripe.

The Owls were outscored by the Blue Raiders 15-9 in the opening quarter but the team responded in a big way in the second period, outscoring MT 16-13 by shooting 54 percent from the floor.

After MT pushed their lead to 19-9, the Owls answered the call by outscoring the Blue Raiders 14-9 the rest of the quarter. Junior guard Wendy Knight scored six points in the quarter and a Hawkins jumper with 35 seconds remaining brought Rice to within 28-25 at halftime.

That momentum carried deep into the third quarter and Rice took their first lead of the game on a Goodwine jumper and would eventually extend that advantage to 35-32 at the 6:00 minute mark on a Ducat layup. However, MT answered back with a 19-8 run of their spearheaded by Petty and Johnson.

Rice fell behind by as many as 15 points in the fourth but Hawkins refused to let the Owls go quietly, hitting consecutive three-pointers to pull her team to within 66-59 with 1:25 to go. Time would escape the Owls though, and MT made late free throws to put the game away.

The Owls will continue their road swing this weekend on Saturday at UAB (2 p.m.) before facing North Texas in Denton on Jan. 14.





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