Feb. 7, 2010
By MOISEKAPENDA BOWER
One 16-0 run deserves another.
In a game defined by sudden bursts of points, Rice made sure that the first rally of the afternoon ultimately proved the most significant, taking command with a 16-0 blitz midway through the first half before fending off several UAB runs for a 72-58 victory on Sunday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Roughly 24 hours after the Rice men were staggered by a 16-0 run in a home loss to UAB, the women returned the favor. The Owls (11-11, 5-4 Conference USA) turned their 13-11 lead into a 29-11 advantage by relying on the fabulous perimeter shooting of freshman guard Jessica Goswitz and the interior prowess of sophomore forward Jackie Stanley.
Goswitz and Stanley combined for 13 of the Owls' 16 points during the run and, not surprisingly, paced the offensive attack throughout. Goswitz scored a career-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting while Stanley posted her sixth double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds. After shooting 26.8 percent and 26.9 percent in their previous two games, the Owls finished a solid 27-of-62 from the field (43.5 percent).
"It's a big key to move forward and not look back at how bad you did last game or in the games before that," Goswitz said after the Owls led from the opening tip to the final buzzer. "Just come out with confidence and shoot the ball when you're open and the shots will fall eventually."
Rice produced half of its four three-point plays during their first run, but couldn't maintain the momentum as UAB (10-11, 4-5) responded with a 16-4 spurt that cut the Owls' lead to 33-27 with 3:10 left in the half. The Owls' answered with a 14-3 run that bridged the halves and rebuilt the lead to 47-30 with 17:23 remaining. The Blazers, of course, had a reply.
UAB sandwiched runs of 9-0 and 10-3 around a Rice mini-spurt of 8-2 to close to within 58-51 with 8:01 left to play. To that point the Owls had struggled slowing the Blazers' dribble penetration, namely UAB guards Jala Harris (19 points), Khalilah Watson and Amber Jacobs (a combined 14 points), but when they needed a series of defensive stands they got them, stiffening long enough to reel off 11 consecutive points to seal it.
Appropriately, it was Stanley and Goswitz shouldering the load, with Goswitz starting the push with a scoop layup and Stanley following with seven consecutive points in advance of Tara Watts' lone 3 of the game.
"We did not have that same efficiency against UH," Rice coach Greg Williams said. "I thought we did execute much better today."
Stanley had 13 of the Owls' first 21 points. She was assertive on the block and avoided foul trouble, enabling the Owls to structure their offense around her dominance inside. Because Stanley was so effective early it allowed Goswitz open looks from the perimeter, and when the Blazers attempted to hug the 3-point arc, Stanley delivered the dagger with a three-point play at the 6:16 mark of the second half, taking a crisp entry pass from Morgan Mayse, spinning on her pivot foot, and delivering a quick layup while drawing the foul from TaRonda Randall. Stanley made the subsequent free throw to bump the lead to 65-51.
"If I come out and get hot, I get more confident," Stanley said. "And I usually continue to play more confident."