By Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
RUSTON, La. - A spirited effort on the road against one of the top-scoring teams in Conference USA fell just short Thursday evening as the Rice Owls fell 63-61 to the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters at Thomas Assembly Center.
Junior forward Jasmine Goodwine led the charge for the Owls (4-16, 3-6) in a game that saw 19 ties and 20 lead changes, posting a career-high 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field and a 9-of-11 performance from the free throw line in 36 minutes. The 28-point effort was Goodwine's third consecutive 20-plus point performance and her fifth this season.
Tech (11-9, 6-3) had three players score in double-figures, led by a team-high 20 points from Brandi Wingate. Ashley Santos (12 points) and Jasmine Leblanc (10 points) also chipped in with double-figures.
The Owls continue to play tough against the best C-USA has to offer and have now dropped contests to the top four teams in the league by a combined 12 points.
A close game throughout, Rice took their largest lead of the fourth quarter with 5:32 remaining when freshman guard Gabrielle Stanton knocked down a corner three-pointer to put the Owls up 58-55. Wingate would eventually tie the game back up at 59-59 with 1:58 remaining after a pair of free throws, followed by a go-ahead jumper at the 1:13 mark to take a 61-59 lead.
After Goodwine split a pair at the free throw line to make the score 61-60, Wingate was called for a traveling violation with 35 seconds left in regulation. With an opportunity to take the lead, Rice sophomore Shani Rainey was fouled with just 18 seconds remaining but missed both free throws. However, on the second miss, Tech knocked the loose ball out of bounds and Goodwine was fouled on the ensuing in-bounds play.
Goodwine proceeded to make one of two at the charity stripe, knotting the score up at 61-61 with 13 seconds remaining. However, Wingate was fouled with three seconds remaining and made both to regive the Lady Techsters a 63-61 advantage. With one last opportunity to tie or win the game, Rainey was fouled with under a second remaining but missed both free throws.
The Owls will wrap up their three-game road swing on Saturday (4 p.m.) when they travel to Hattiesburg to face Southern Miss (11-9, 4-5).