Marshall Holds On to Beat Rice 65-57

Jessica Kuster.

Feb. 2, 2012

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Huntington, W.Va. - Marshall posted four players in double-digit scoring to defeat the Rice Owls 65-57 in a Conference USA women's basketball game held inside the Cam Henderson Center Thursday night.

Marshall (13-8, 4-4) began the contest by making seven of its first eight shots from the field for a commanding 17-2 lead. The Thundering Herd reached its biggest lead of the half at 24-8 as it converted 10 of 12 field goal attempts.

"We did get off to a sluggish start which is the worst formula you can have playing on the road against a team that had lost five straight and was hungry for a win," stated seventh-year Owl head coach Greg Williams. "To our credit we did battle back, but it was an uphill climb. We just got off to such a bad start offensively and defensively. We gave them too many easy baskets."

The Thundering Herd scored on seven layups in the first 20 minutes.

Rice responded with a mini 8-0 run as Megan Shafer hit back-to-back three-pointers, first from the left wing and then on the right wing. Maya Adetula then converted two free throws to bring the Owls to within eight (24-16) at 10:47.

Shafer hit another trey to lead the Owls in scoring with nine points (a career-high) in the first-half. She previously scored seven points twice this season. Rice shot 36 percent (9-25), while Marshall cooled off and finished at 48 percent (15-31).

The Thundering Herd started the second-half much like it did in the first, by outscoring the Owls 7-2 for a 43-27 margin (15:38). D'Frantz Smart hit a three-pointer and Jessica Kuster knocked in two baskets to pull Rice to within nine (45-36) at 10:56.

The Owls continued to battled and outscored Marshall 10-4 to be down 55-48 at 5:03. After a Maya Adetula bucket and a free throw by Nakachi Maduka, the Owls were behind seven (61-54; :53), but Marshall hit four free throws to preserve the win.

Marshall finished the game shooting 45.5 percent (25-55), while Rice shot 35.6 percent (21-59). After falling behind 17-2, the Owls outscored Marshall 55 to 48.

Rice (11-11, 5-4) was led by Jessica Kuster's 10th double-double of the season with game-high 18 points and game-high 13 rebounds. Senior guard D'Frantz Smart was also in double-digits with 15 points.

Alaya Mitchell led Marshall with 16 points, while Shay Weaver and Erica Woods added 13 points each. Rashedah Henriques contributed 10 points. Woods also registered a team-high 11rebounds.

Rice faces UTEP, C-USA's first place team (19-2, 8-0), on Sunday, February 5. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. inside Tudor Fieldhouse. This game will be televised live by FSN.





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