By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
LA Tech 62-Rice 51 (PDF Box Score)
RUSTON, LA - Rice redshirt sophomore guard Nicole Iademarco surpassed the 20-point barrier for a third consecutive game but the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters used a 20-12 third quarter advantage to defeat the Owls 62-51 Saturday evening at Thomas Assembly Center.
Iademarco scored a game-high 21 points in the loss on 9-of-18 shooting from the field in 36 minutes, becoming the first Owl to score 20 or more points in three consecutive games since Jessica Kuster during the 2013-14 season. The Woodlands, Texas native also made a pair of three-pointers to bring her season total to 54 to surpass Glenda Jensen (1987-88) for the fifth-most three-pointers in a Rice single-season.
The Owls (16-11, 7-9) held their own on the boards against the Lady Techsters, becoming the first team in the last seven games to outrebound (33-25) Tech. The Lady Techsters (17-11, 12-5) won their league-leading seventh consecutive game by outscoring the Owls in points in the paint (36-24) and points off turnovers (16-7). Jasmine LeBlanc led Tech with 15 points and as a team the Lady Techsters made 17-of-20 attempts at the free throw line.
In the opening quarter the two teams both struggled shooting the basketball, making a combined 9-of-27 shots from the field. After Tech jumped out to a 7-0 lead, Rice responded with a 10-0 run with seven of those points coming from Lauren Grigsby off the bench. However, Tech held Rice scoreless over the final 3:36 and took an 11-10 edge after the opening 10 minutes.
The Owls outscored the Lady Techsters 12-6 through the first five minutes of the second quarter to take a 22-17 lead on a layup from Lexie Ducat (11 points, 8 rebounds), but Rice wouldn't score the remainder of the quarter as Tech took a 23-22 halftime advantage.
Iademarco would proceed to score 14 second half points but the Lady Techsters took control of the game in the third quarter by outscoring the Owls 20-12, 11 of which points came from the bench. After trailing 43-34 to start the fourth quarter the Owls managed to trim the deficit to 43-38 at the 9:07 mark on an Iademarco layup but the Lady Techsters outscored Rice 19-13 the rest of the way to prevail 62-51.
Rice, who concluded a season-long road trip and played their regular season road finale Saturday, will return home for a pair of games to close out the C-USA regular season. The Owls will first host Marshall on Thursday, March 2 (7 p.m.) followed by a contest against C-USA leading WKU for Senior Day on Saturday, March 4 (2 p.m.).