By: Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 66-UTSA 61 (PDF Box Score)
SAN ANTONIO – The Rice Owls women’s basketball team rallied from a 14-point third quarter deficit to defeat the UTSA Roadrunners 66-61 Thursday evening at the Convocation Center.
Rice (15-9, 6-7) won for the fourth time in their last five games and stretched their winning streak to three straight overall. The Owls improved to 7-5 on the road this season, which are the most road victories since the 2010-11 season.
Junior Shani Rainey tallied a season-high 22 points for the Owls by making 10-of-16 shots from the field and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Rainey converted a critical three-point play with 47 seconds left in regulation to give Rice their first lead of the night, proving to be the game-winner. Redshirt sophomore Nicole Iademarco also played a large role in the Owls comeback by scoring 16 points, all of which came in the second half.
Rice won the battle of the boards (39-30) for the 14th time this season and had a 24-12 points off turnovers advantage. In addition, the Owls made seven more three-pointers bringing their season total to 171 to tie the single-season school record.
“What a great road win, so many people stepped up in key moments,” Rice head coach Tina Langley said. “Shots wouldn’t fall for us in the first half, but we locked in, defended, and weathered the storm. Shani Rainey was incredible tonight. She had to take on so many roles, and she just kept rising to the challenge. That’s what this team is all about. Whatever is asked of them, they are ready to do. This is a special team. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The Owls outscored UTSA (11-13, 7-6) 48-33 in the second half, including a 23-11 edge in the fourth quarter. After falling behind 55-47 with 6:53 to go, Rice closed the game on a 19-6 run with seven of those points registered by Rainey. Rice shot 62 percent in the quarter and forced five UTSA turnovers.
UTSA outscored the Owls 28-18 in the opening half, which was the fewest point scored in the first half all season by Rice.
Rice will look to make it four straight victories on Saturday when they travel to El Paso to face the UTEP Miners at 3 p.m. (CT).