By Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
UAB 70-Rice 63 (PDF Box Score)
BIRMINGHAM, AL – The Rice Owls women’s basketball team placed four players in double-figure scoring but it wasn’t enough to slow down the outside shooting of the C-USA-leading UAB Blazers Thursday evening in a 70-63 loss at Bartow Arena.
Rice (18-5, 8-3) tried to make a late rally in the fourth quarter after falling behind by as much as 12 points with six minutes remaining, but UAB’s 11 made three-pointers (Rice opponent season-high) proved too much to overcome on this particular evening.
UAB (21-3, 10-1) and Rice made the same amount field goals (28) but the Blazers won their seventh straight contest by making eight more three-pointers than the Owls. Rice won the battle of the boards (36-27), points in the paint (30-22), points off turnovers (12-11) and second chance points (12-4).
The Owls were led in scoring by redshirt sophomore Erica Ogwumike, who registered 15 points and picked up her 10th double-double of the season with a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior Nicole Iademarco followed with 14 points while freshman Alexah Chrisman scored a season-high 12 points while playing 38 minutes. Senior guard Wendy Knight also tallied double-figures with 11 points.
UAB received a game-high 18 points from Miyah Barnes while Rachael Childress chipped in 17 points and made three, three-pointers.
Rice kept the Blazers at bay in the first quarter offensively, limiting UAB to just 35 percent shooting and 2-of-8 (25 percent) from deep while taking an 18-16 advantage on the scoreboard after 10 minutes of play. Knight scored seven points in the period while Ogwumike added an additional six points (4-of-4 at the free throw line).
The Owls controlled much of the second quarter as well, and increased their lead to 31-23 with 3:19 left in the half after a Gabrielle Stanton free throw. However, UAB proceeded to outscore Rice 13-2 to close the quarter behind three made three-pointers and took a 36-33 advantage into halftime.
The Blazers pushed their lead to 50-39 midway through the third quarter but the Owls grabbed some late momentum to end the period behind five straight points from Ogwumike and narrowed the gap to 53-46 going to the fourth.
UAB kept the pressure on Rice until deep in the fourth when after falling behind 66-56 with 1:31 to go, the Owls mounted a comeback to slice the deficit to 66-63 with 16 seconds remaining. However, the Owls were forced to foul and Childress converted a pair of free throws to put the game away.
The Owls will attempt to get back in the win column on Saturday when they face the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (15-10, 7-5) from Murfreesboro, Tennessee with opening tip set for 2 p.m. on ESPN3.