By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 74-FIU 55 (PDF Box Score)
HOUSTON -- The Rice Owls women's basketball team used a 26-6 third quarter surge to defeat the FIU Panthers 74-55 Thursday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (13-9, 4-7) knocked down 10-of-23 attempts from beyond the three-point arc, which included an 8-of-12 (67 percent) performance in the second half. Redshirt sophomore guard Nicole Iademarco led Rice with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and a season-high five three-point makes. Junior guard Shani Rainey added 16 points while sophomore guard Lauren Grigsby scored 11 points off the bench to go along with a game-high five steals. The Owls also got a boost off the bench from freshman center Gabby Ozoude, who established season-highs in points (9), rebounds (7) and minutes (21).
Rice outscored FIU (5-17, 3-8) in bench points (22-7), points off turnovers (22-6) and points in the paint (32-24). The Owls also committed just 10 turnovers, matching a season-low set earlier in the season at ULM.
"This was a great team win," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "We played better on the defensive end of the floor tonight and I'm proud of the effort of everyone that came onto the court. I loved the way we shared the basketball. We had a really good assist-to-turnover ratio and everyone valued the basketball. We also took advantage of the opportunity on scoring off of turnovers, which is an area we're working on."
There were eight lead changes in the opening quarter but it was FIU that took a 19-18 lead after the first 10 minutes, outscoring Rice 13-6 to close the quarter. Rice outscored the Panthers 16-14 in the second period to take a 34-33 lead into the break.
The flood gates opened up in the third quarter with Rice outscoring FIU 26-6 behind a sensational offensive quarter in which the Owls shot a sizzling 83 percent (10-of-12) from the field and made six-of-seven three-point attempts. Rainey made a pair of three-pointers to help Rice open up a 44-33 advantage with 6:50 left in the quarter and Iademarco proceeded to knock down three, three-pointers in the period.
FIU would pull no closer than 18 points in the final quarter as Rice cruised to their 13th victory of the season, matching the most by an Owls teams since the 2013-14 campaign.
Rice will return to action on Saturday (2 p.m.) when they host the Florida Atlantic Owls from Tudor Fieldhouse.