By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com
HOUSTON - The Rice Owls women's basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak with one of their better performances of the season Saturday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse, defeating the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs 68-46.
"ODU is a very good team and Karen is a phenomenal coach and I have so much respect for her and her team," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "It took our team defense to be able to come together and put together some of the stops we had today. Jennie Simms is obviously a tremendous player and it wasn't just one person slowing her down it was great team defense throughout that really carried us."
The victory for the Owls (5-18, 4-8) was the first in five tries against the Lady Monarchs (11-13, 7-5), who saw their season-high four-game win streak come to a crashing halt.
Rice junior forward Jasmine Goodwine led the charge yet again with her third double-double of the season, compiling a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes of action. The Killeen, Texas native scored 10 or more points in a game for the 12th time this season, nine of which have come in C-USA play. Goodwine made just 6-of-18 shots from the field but was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line and continued to make progress on her ever-expanding outside touch with her seventh made three-pointer of the season, six of them coming in her last five games.
"We watched a lot of film from the last game," Goodwine said afterwards. "We learned from it and knew we had to play with a lot more energy, especially at home. This is a very passionate game and we tried to focus on our energy and effort today because we were lacking that on Thursday. We really came together as a team today and the good practices we've had carried over."
The Owls limited ODU to an opponents' season low 28 percent (16-of-57) shooting for the game and held Simms, C-USA's leading scorer (19.9 ppg), to just 7 points on 3-of-17 shooting and 3 turnovers. Rice held a big edge in points in the paint (36-16) and had advantages in points off turnovers (10-4) and second chance points (14-4). The Owls also did a good job protecting the basketball, tying their season-low with 12 turnovers.
In addition to Goodwine, sophomore guard Wendy Knight also gave the Owls a boost with 13 points and 7 rebounds and knocked down 3-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Shani Rainey also registered double-figure points (11) and was one of six players to pull down five or more rebounds with six boards in 28 minutes.
Rice led for 39 of the 40 minutes played Saturday and never looked back after outscoring the Lady Monarchs 21-5 in the opening 10 minutes of the first quarter. After making a shot on their first attempt of the game, ODU proceeded to miss their remaining 12 attempts in the quarter. During that span Rice shot 53 percent in the period and seven different Owls scored points, including five from Goodwine. The Owls would take a 38-23 lead into the locker room at halftime, their largest advantage all season.
In the second half the Owls kept ODU at bay, never letting the Lady Monarchs get closer than 47-36 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Owls will next embark on a road trip to the Sunshine State next week when they face Florida Atlantic (Thursday, Feb. 18) and FIU (Saturday, Feb. 20).