By Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 53-ODU 45 (PDF Box Score)
HOUSTON -- The Rice Owls women's basketball team closed out the final four minutes of the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run to help propel them to a 53-45 win over the Old Dominion Monarchs Sunday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (16-4, 6-1) improved to 8-0 at Tudor Fieldhouse this season by outscoring the Monarchs (4-18, 2-6) 37-22 in the second half and making 7-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc in the final two quarters. The Owls' defense shined once again, limiting ODU to just 35 percent shooting for the game and held their opponents below 70 points for a 12th straight game.
"Hats off to Nikki (McCray) and ODU, I thought they came in and played a really good game and gave us a tough time today," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "I'm proud of our composure as a team. Sometimes shots don't fall, and we've already learned this lesson, but how you respond to that is the difference between a win and a loss. Today we responded defensively, which is what you have to do. That's what won us the game today."
Rice redshirt sophomore Erica Ogwumike picked up her team-leading seventh double-double of the year with a game-high 21 points (8 of which came in the fourth quarter) and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Wendy Knight also scored in double-figures (11 points) and extended her streak to nine straight games with 10 or more points. Junior Nicole Iademarco added an additional 10 points, which included a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.
ODU limited Rice to just 16 first half points and carried a 23-16 edge into halftime after the Owls shot just 1-of-12 in the second period. The Owls outscored the Monarchs 15-13 in the third quarter but still trailed 36-31 entering the fourth.
Ogwumike gave the Owls a lift on the offensive end in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, connecting on a pair of three-pointers to pull Rice to within 40-38 with 6:48 remaining. ODU regained a 45-40 lead with just 4:14 remaining but the Owls didn't allow a single point the rest of the way. Knight scored five unanswered points and tied the game with 2:47 to go on a driving layup, which then setup Iademarco's clutch go-ahead three-pointer.
ODU missed their final five shots from the field, along with two missed free throws, while the Owls put the game away by making 5-of-6 at the charity stripe.
Dating back to last season, the Owls have now won 12 consecutive games at home, which ties for the eighth-longest streak in the nation.
Rice will return to the court on Thursday, Feb. 1 when they host Southern Miss at 7 p.m. to close out a three-game homestand.