Tulane Comeback Stuns Rice, 82-77

Feb. 24, 2011

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Houston - Rice Owl freshman Jessica Kuster led all players with game-highs in points (23) and rebounds (nine), but Tulane scored the last 10 points of the ball game to come away with an 82-77 victory over Rice in a Conference USA women's basketball tilt at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Green Wave is now 19-8 and 8-6 in C-USA, while the Owls drop to 17-11 and 9-5 in league action.

Kuster for the evening made nine of 11 field goals in 29 minutes. The Owls were also led by junior Brianna Hypolite, who poured in 18 points with nine rebounds, and Jessica Goswitz tallied 13 points. Morgan Mayse also scored 11. Rice point guard D'Frantz Smart dished out a season-high 11 assists. Both Smart and Goswitz played the full 40 minutes.

Kuster is now fourth on the Rice season rebounding chart with 301, while Smart adds to her single-season Rice assist record now at 166.

The first half was tightly contested with both teams trading baskets in the early going. The Owls went ahead for good in the first half when a Memri Carmon trey put them up 24-22 (6:33).

Tulane cut it to one at 43-42, but Rice weathered the storm on back-to-back buckets by Jessica Goswitz and three-pointer from Brianna Hypolite for a 48-42 margin at 14:42. Goswitz and Smart then scored on back-to-back possessions for a 56-49 lead (11:57).

The Owls were clinging to a 59-56 lead, when Kuster scored four points on the same possession to give Rice a seven-point lead (63-56) at 6:54. She was fouled on a made basket, missed the free throw, but Hypolite snared the offensive rebound and found an open Kuster who sank the 16-footer straight on. Hypolite then drained a jumper to give Rice its biggest lead at 71-60 (4:59).

The Owls' last basket came when Kuster had hauled in an offensive rebound underneath the rim and put it back in at 2:05 for a 77-72 lead. Olivia Grayson then answered for Tulane to cut the lead to three (77-74).

Danielle Nunn then canned two free throws and then Tiffany Aidoo stole the ball and scored a layup to give Tulane a 78-77 lead with 32 seconds on the clock. Mayse's shot from the right wing rimmed out on the ensuing Rice possession.

Aidoo was then fouled and calmly made both free throws at 12.6. Hypolite's game-tying trey for Rice misfired from the top of the key with five seconds on the clock. Aidoo again sank two more free throws for the final score after an Owl called an inadvertent timeout when Rice had zero timeouts left with 1.7 showing on the clock.

Rice on the night was 9-17 (53 percent) from the free throw line including three misses in the final minute. The Green Wave made 14 of 17 at the stripe for 82 percent.

Tulane also made 68 percent from the field in the second half and finished at 56 percent (32-57). Rice, meanwhile, shot 51 percent in the final 20 minutes and concluded at 46 percent (31-67).

Brittany Lindsey led Tulane with 22 points on 10 of 14 from the field and 2-2 free throws. Aidoo contributed 17 points, while Nunn scored 13 and Roshaunda Barnes added 11.

Rice is in action again on Sunday, February 27 when it hosts Houston at 2 p.m. It will be the final home game of the season and the Owls will also honor their four seniors, Jackie Stanley, Memri Carmon, Megan Elliott, and Morgan Mayse.





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