Owls Hang Tough But Fall to First Place WKU
Feb. 7, 2015
HOUSTON, Texas - An incredible effort by the Rice Owls women's basketball team against the league-leading WKU Lady Toppers fell just short Saturday afternoon in an 83-76 setback at Tudor Fieldhouse.
In the loss Rice (7-14, 2-8) had four players score in double-figures, led by 18 points from sophomore forward Jasmine Goodwine. Senior guard Nakachi Maduka scored a season-high 16 points in 35 minutes while also accumulating eight rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and a steal. Senior guard Maya Adetula came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points, making 5-of-10 attempts from the field and 3-of-3 at the free throw line. Senior center Christal Porter notched her fourth consecutive double-double and seventh of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
It marked the first time the Owls had four players score in double-figures since the team's 97-63 win over Lamar on Dec. 22, 2014. Rice shot a season-best 56 percent (31-of-55) from the field and came up one assist shy (24) of matching their season-high set against Lamar. However, the Owls downfall was a season-high 27 turnovers that resulted 33 points for WKU.
"Today was a game of runs as a lot of basketball games are," Rice head coach Greg Williams said afterwards. "We led for 31 minutes of the basketball game against an extremely talented team. They had two unbelievable runs to end both halves where they capitalized on our turnovers, which were really the difference in the game."
WKU (20-4, 9-2) had five players score in double-figures, including a game-high 19 points from each of Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan. The Lady Toppers shot 44 percent from the field for the game and outrebounded the Owls, 39-38. WKU scored 50 of their 83 points in the paint and had 14 second chance points.
Rice built a 33-21 first half lead but WKU went on a 19-2 run over the final five minutes to take a 40-35 halftime lead. The Lady Toppers forced eight Rice turnovers over the final five minutes of the half and held the Owls scoreless the final 3:42.
Maduka led the Owls in scoring in the opening half with nine points, making 2-of-3 shots from the field and 5-of-7 at the free throw line. Porter also chipped in eight first half points and led the team with five rebounds. Adetula came off the bench to give the Owls a big boost in the first half, establishing a season-high with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.
The Owls came out of the locker room to start the second half on fire, outscoring WKU 22-6 over the first nine minutes of the half to open up a 59-46 advantage following a jumper from freshman Shani Rainey. During that stretch the Owls made 10-of-15 shots from the field, including two three-pointers from sophomore guard Maya Hawkins.
"We really challenged the team at halftime to come out and show some fight and fire, which they did and I was very proud of," Williams said. "But we were -18 in points off turnovers and it's really hard to win that way."
WKU slowly chipped away at the Rice lead and a layup from Gooch at the 2:18 mark gave the Lady Toppers a 73-71 lead that would hold up to the end. WKU outscored Rice 12-5 the final three minutes and during that span both Porter and Goodwine fouled out of the game.
The Owls now hit the road for a pair of contests beginning Thursday when they travel to Murfreesboro, TN to face the other first place team in C-USA, Middle Tennessee at 7 p.m. Rice then faces UAB on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Birmingham, AL.