Rainey's 22 Points Not Enough in Loss to UTSA
March 5, 2015
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice freshman guard Shani Rainey established a career-high with 22 points and senior guard Nakachi Maduka chipped in 16 points but it was the UTSA Roadrunners that stole the show Thursday evening with a 60-49 victory over the Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (8-20, 3-14) were undone by 19 turnovers that resulted in a 20-8 advantage in points for the Roadrunners (15-14, 10-7). UTSA's Tesha Smith gave Rice fits on the inside with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and the Owls shot just 31 percent (15-of-48) from the field for the game.
"We had four more turnovers than they did but the point differential was 20-8 in their favor," Rice head coach Greg Williams said afterwards. "That combined with them outscoring us 40-24 in points in the paint really makes it hard to win the game. Shani Rainey was tremendous for us and Nakachi Maduka had a strong game but we struggled to have an inside presence and that really hurt us."
The Owls held a 14-6 edge in the opening half with 11:53 remaining with Maduka scoring eight of the Owls' first 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting. Rice pushed their lead to 21-12 at the 6:49 mark following a Maduka three-point play but from that point on the Roadrunners outscored the Owls 16-5 to take a 28-26 lead into halftime behind eight points from Smith.
UTSA's momentum carried over into the second half and a critical 28-second stretch saw the Roadrunners score eight points on back-to-back three-point plays and another layup around three Rice turnovers.
Rice was outscored 32-23 in the second half and struggled at the free throw stripe, making just 8-of-15 (53 percent). Owls' senior Christal Porter, the league leader in rebounding, grabbed another 16 boards on Thursday.
Despite the loss, Rice is still alive for the 12th and final C-USA Tournament spot after North Texas lost to UTEP on Thursday evening. The Owls are just one game back of the Mean Green and although the two teams split the season series, 1-1, Rice holds the next tiebreaker with their win over UTSA earlier this season.
The Owls will host UTEP Saturday at 2 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse on Senior Day and Rice will honor the careers of five seniors: Maya Adetula, Maduka, Reem Moussa, Porter and Megan Shafer.