Jan. 11, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Rice Owls women’s basketball team was unable to slow down the hot shooting of Florida Atlantic in a 97-69 loss Saturday afternoon at the FAU Arena. The loss snapped Rice’s season-high three-game win streak.
Rice (8-7, 1-1) gave up a season-high in opponent’s points, field goal percentage (54%) and three-point makes allowed (14). FAU (11-4, 1-1) entered the game as the number one offense in C-USA while Rice was first in three-point field goal defense.
The Owls were attempting to start league play 2-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign and win their first two league games on the road for the first time since 2000-01.
Jessica Kuster led all Rice scorers with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting (5-of-6 at the free throw line) and pulled down nine rebounds, just one shy of her 13th double-double of the year. Kuster (1,179) now needs just 11 rebounds to tie Lauren Neaves career school-record of 1,190. Junior Nakachi Maduka scored a career-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting (5-of-7 at the free throw line) while also pulling down six rebounds.
Rice freshman point guard Maya Hawkins made her first start of her collegiate career, scoring a career-best 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting (2-of-2 from three-point territory) and also dished out four assists. The freshman had been limited to just 15 minutes per game after coming back from a knee injury but saw a season-high 37 minutes on Saturday.
FAU won the first-ever meeting between the two teams by shooting a blistering 76 percent (22-of-29) from the field in the first half, which included 11 three-point makes on 15 attempts. Latavia Dempsey, who led all scorers with 28 points, made 7-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc. She was one of five FAU players that scored in double-figures.
FAU took a 66-28 lead into halftime before Rice outscored the Owls 41-31 in the second half.
Rice actually trimmed their deficit to as low as 73-53 with 10:44 left in the second half by outscoring FAU 25-7 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, FAU went on an 8-0 run that stymied any hopes of a Rice comeback.
Rice will next return home to host Louisiana Tech in the conference home opener on Wednesday, Jan. 15. That game is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff.