By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON - Rice junior Jasmine Goodwine scored a game-high 21 points and the Owls shot 48 percent as a team but turnovers and a 23-14 fourth quarter point differential proved to be the difference in a 69-58 loss to the Charlotte 49ers Thursday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (4-18, 3-8), playing in their first home game since Jan. 23, had managed to rally from a nine-point third quarter deficit to pull within 53-52 with 5:51 remaining in the fourth quarter but were outscored 16-6 the rest of the way.
Rice outshot Charlotte (13-9, 6-5) 48 percent-44 percent and outrebounded (37-36) the 49ers but 21 Owl turnovers were converted into 28 points. The Owls also managed to make just 1-of-10 shots from beyond the arc, scoring 40 of their 58 points inside the paint.
"Cara does a great job, so first let me say congratulations to Charlotte, they're a very good team," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "We had two great days of practice and execution. I'm disappointed with the carryover into the game. You cannot give a team like Charlotte 28 points off turnovers."
Goodwine registered her sixth 20-point performance of the season and fourth in her last five games by making 9-of-16 shots from the floor, including the Owls lone three-pointer. Sophomore Shani Rainey pitched in 14 points and was one of five Owls to grab five or more rebounds with a team-best seven boards.
Charlotte posed a balanced scoring attack with four different players scoring 10 or more points, led by 19 from guard Grace Hunter. The 49ers also took advantage of 13 offensive rebounds with 15 second chance points.
The 49ers outscored Rice 31-26 in the opening half and opened up a 41-32 edge over the Owls with 6:17 left in the third quarter with an 8-0 run. However, just as quickly as Charlotte grabbed the big advantage the Owls erased the deficit in almost the same amount of time. A Maya Hawkins jumper with 2:08 left in the third quarter trimmed the Rice deficit to 43-42 before ending the quarter trailing just 46-44.
Goodwine would go on to score nine of her 21 points in the fourth quarter but Hunter matched her with nine points of her own.
The Owls will look to bounce back and stop their three-game slide on Saturday when they host Old Dominion (11-12, 7-4) at 2 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.