Feb. 1, 2007
After an almost surreal first half that saw Rice limit UTEP to only eight points, the lowest ever by a Conference USA team, the Owls cruised to an 84-31 win Thursday at Autry Court in a dominating display of offense and defense against the league's leading team. Samantha Stovall had a career-high 16 points, and Tiffany Loggins also scored 16 as Rice won its fourth straight game and improved to 13-9 overall and 6-3 in C-USA play. UTEP fell to 17-4 and 6-3 with the loss.
The Owls shot 58.5 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the free throw line, while stifling the Miners. UTEP shot only 18.9 percent from the field, the second-worst shooting display ever by a Rice opponent, and converted only nine of 16 from the foul line.
UTEP's 31 points tied the second-lowest score ever by a C-USA team in a league game, and the 53-point margin of victory also tied the largest gap in a league game. The 10 field goals by the Miners equaled the lowest ever in a C-USA contest.
Izabela Piekarska drew first blood for the Miners with a layup in the first minute, but Rice came back with a 12-0 run powered by three-pointers from Stovall and Loggins. Piekarska scored again with 16:12 to go to close it to 12-4, then it was off to the races for the explosive Rice offense. The Owls put together a 29-2 run over the next 12 minutes and then closed out the half with another 9-0 run to make it 50-8. The eight-point half by UTEP was also the second-lowest ever by a Rice opponent, and the 42-point margin was the third-largest ever by the Owls.
UTEP fought back briefly to open the second half, closing the gap to 37 with 13:55 to go on a Piekarska trey, and a pair of Piekarska free throws kept it at 37 as Rice led 56-19 a minute later. Strong guard play from Kadie Riverin, Maudess Fulton and Krystal Frazier helped keep the cushion around 40 until a pair of Lauren Neaves free throws made it 68-25 with 6:01 on the clock. Neaves, who recorded her 46th career double-double, popped in a layup three minutes later to put the Owls up by 47, and Stovall and Loggins closed out the scoring to hand the Miners their worst loss of the year.
Neaves had 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while Fulton chipped in 12 points and five assists, and Frazier added 10 points. Riverin had nine points, five assists and four steals. Rice outrebounded the Miners 44-27.
Piekarska led UTEP with 11 points.
Rice hosts Tulane Saturday at 5 pm at Autry Court.
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