HOUSTON - The Rice Owls women's basketball team came close to completing a 17-point comeback Thursday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse, but the UAB Blazers hit critical shots down the stretch en route to a 64-55 triumph.
Rice (3-14, 2-4) had three players score in double-figures in the loss, led by 16 points from junior forward Jasmine Goodwine. The Killeen, Texas native made 7-of-13 shots from the field (2-of-3 at the free throw line), to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Wendy Knight pitched in 12 points, eight of which came in the third quarter, and Maya Hawkins contributed 11 points.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field but UAB (10-7, 3-3) connected on 9-of-19 (47 percent) attempts from beyond the arc while Rice shot the long ball at just a 29 percent rate (4-of-14). UAB outscored the Owls in points in the paint (28-22), points off turnovers (22-20) and bench scoring (12-2).
UAB was led in scoring by both Deanna Kuzmanic (17 points) and Chelsee Black (17 points) with the duo combining to score 12 of the Blazers 18 fourth quarter points.
The Blazers dominated for much of the first half, outscoring Rice 32-21, and held a lead as large as 30-13 with 4:16 left in the second quarter. Rice did manage to outscore the Blazers 8-2 over the final 3:49 of the half, including a layup at the buzzer by Hawkins.
Rice came out strong to start the third quarter and Knight contributed eight points in a two-minute span to bring the Owls within 41-40 at the 3:19 mark.
The Owls fell behind 55-44 with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter and made yet another run to close to within 55-53 with 4:32 to go. However, UAB's Kuzmanic answered the run with a pair of clutch three-pointers to help the Blazers pull away late.
Rice will look to snap their three-game losing streak on Sunday when they host Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 2 p.m.