Defense Carries Owls to Victory Over Southern Miss

Feb. 1, 2018

Final Stats

By Kenny Bybee (

Rice 62-Southern Miss 56 (PDF Box Score)

- The Rice Owls top-ranked defense shined bright again Thursday evening in a 62-56 victory over Southern Miss, the team's 12th consecutive win at home dating back to last season.

The Owls (17-3, 7-1), who recorded their 17th victory in their first 20 games of the season for the best start in program history, allowed 60 points or less for a fourth straight game and seventh time in league play. Rice is surrendering a league-low 52.5 points per contest in C-USA play through the first eight games.

"I'm really proud of the toughness of our team to battle through an incredibly physical game," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "We battled tonight, played hard and executed."

Rice redshirt sophomore guard Erica Ogwumike recorded a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) for a third consecutive game and swiped a game-high five steals while senior Wendy Knight scored in double-figures (13 points) for a 10th straight game. The Owls also got key contributions from Nicole Iademarco (8 points) and freshman post Alexah Chrisman (7 points).

The Owls forced 19 Southern Miss turnovers and capitalized with an 18-11 advantage in points off miscues. In addition, the Owls bench stepped up big by outscoring the Lady Eagles 14-2, all of those points coming from Sydne Wiggins (7 points) and Lauren Grigsby (7 points).

Southern Miss (12-9, 4-4) was led in scoring by Jayla King, who scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

Both teams came out of the gate efficient on the offensive end with Rice converting at a 64 percent clip from the field to outscore USM, 16-15. Ogwumike scored six points in the first period while Chrisman and Knight added five points apiece but the Lady Eagles shot 54 percent from the quarter themselves, and King scored six points.

The Owls outscored USM 19-12 in the second quarter and Rice took a 35-27 halftime lead, eventually improving their record to 13-0 this season when leading at the break.

The Lady Eagles turned up the pressure to start the third quarter and clawed back into the game with a 9-0 run to pull to within 38-36 with 4:29 to go. However, Rice showed their composure with an 8-0 run of their own over the final three minutes to create a 46-36 cushion at quarter's end. Grigsby and Iademarco each knocked down a three-pointer and Knight converted on an up-and-under layup during the run.

In the fourth quarter, the Owls outscored USM 10-4 in the opening minutes to extend their lead to 56-40, and although Southern Miss managed to cut the deficit down to 58-54, the Owls defense got the necessary stops in the final minutes and put the game away at the free throw line.

Rice will now have five days off before traveling to Ruston, La. to face the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters on Wednesday, Feb. 7 (6:30 p.m.) and will then return home on Saturday, Feb. 10 to host C-USA leading WKU in a key conference showdown at 2 p.m.





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