Owls Fall Short Against UTSA
Kuster scores 26 points, grabs 13 rebounds in 63-61 loss to Roadrunners
Feb. 15, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - In a game that saw 16 lead changes and 10 ties, the Rice Owls women's basketball team was unable to come up with a clutch shot in the final seconds in a 63-61 loss to the UTSA Roadrunners Saturday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (11-13, 4-7) had an opportunity to win the game on the final possession but Elena Gumbs three-point attempt with just seconds remaining clanged off the rim and UTSA (11-13, 3-8) secured the rebound to clinch the victory.
Rice had held a 61-60 lead with under a minute to go but were unable to secure a defensive rebound that led to a foul and game-winning free throws by Kamra King.
The Owls shot just 28 percent (8-of-29) from the field in the second half and the Roadrunners used a 36-18 advantage in points in the paint to withstand several Rice runs.
Owls' senior forward Jessica Kuster notched her 21st double-double of the season (26 points, 13 rebounds) to keep pace for second in the nation in the category. The San Antonio, Texas native made 9-of-14 shots from the floor and all eight free throw attempts and also had three steals and three assists in 40 minutes of action.
Kuster, who has 62 career double-doubles, now sits just three shy of tying TCU's Sandora Irvin for first all-time in career double-doubles in C-USA history. Kuster also surpassed Holly Jones for most 25-plus point games in Rice history with 13.
Kuster got help offensively from junior guard Nakachi Maduka, who scored 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 at the free throw line. Rice also received a big boost from freshman Adaeze Obinnah, who prior to Saturday had scored one point all season but finished with career-highs in points (4), rebounds (10) and blocks (1) in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Roadrunners had three players score in double-figures, led by a team-high 17 points from Tesha Smith.
Kuster came out aggressive on the offensive end to start the second half, scoring the Owls first eight points in the first 2:30 to help the Owls regain a 36-35 lead.
The two teams played a tightly contested first half that saw eight lead changes and four ties before UTSA closed the first half on a 9-4 run to take a 33-28 lead into halftime. The Roadrunners outscored the Owls 20-12 in points in the paint thanks in large part to 10 offensive rebounds. Ashley Spaletta led all scorers with 10 first half points while the Owls' Nakachi Maduka registered a team-best nine points on 4-of-6 shooting.
The Owls shot a respectable 42 percent from the field as a team in the opening half but 10 turnovers led to nine points for the Roadrunners. Kuster scored eight points in the first half on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor and had six rebounds playing all 20 minutes.
Rice will look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday, Feb. 19 when they host Old Dominion at 7 p.m.