Jan. 24, 2013
HOUSTON- Rice came all the way back from a 14-point deficit, but missed a game-winner at the buzzer to fall 49-48 to defending C-USA Champion UTEP on Thursday night. Jessica Kuster scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds for the Owls.
"I'm disappointed with the loss but pleased with our effort to come back from 14 down against a very talented basketball team," said Rice Head Coach Greg Williams.
"I'm happy for our bench. I felt like that group had fought and brought us back into contention. We decided to start them in the second half," added Williams.
The Owls (9-9, 1-4 C-USA) jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but UTEP (15-2, 3-1 C-USA) responded with an 18-0 run to take a 14-point lead, the Miners' biggest lead of the night. Rice fought back to get as close as seven points during the first half, and UTEP took a 29-20 lead into the half.
Trailing 40-29, Rice went on a 12-0 run, capped by a Jessica Kuster layup with 6:41 remaining to give Rice its first lead since 16:21 of the first half. The Owls held a 48-45 lead with a minute to play, but Irene Gary of UTEP brought the Miners within one with a jumper. After UTEP came away with the ball from a mad scramble, Anete Steinberga hit a layup with 10.0 seconds left to give UTEP the lead and the victory.
Christal Porter had a potential game-winning 19-foot shot at the buzzer that rimmed out.
Kuster had her 10th double double of the season and her sixth 20+ point game of the year. She moved into 4th on Rice's career rebound list with 858, passing Pennie Goff (855).
Reem Moussa set career-highs in minutes played and assists, dishing out five assists in 18 minutes of work.
Megan Shafer had a career-high nine rebounds.
Rice had 17 assists on 20 made field goals during the game, and have earned assists on 33 of 40 (83.5%) of their made field goals in the past two games.
Rice held a ninth opponent this season to under 60 points, but this is the Owls' first loss after holding its opposition to less than 60.
The Owls outscored UTEP 16-10 on bench points.
The Owls travel to Southern Miss for their next game on Sunday, January 27 at 2 p.m. The Owls return home on Feb. 3 as they host UAB in Tudor Fieldhouse. Tickets can be purchased here.