Porter's Career-Game Leads Owls to Win on Senior Day
March 7, 2015
HOUSTON, Texas - In the face of elimination, Rice senior post Christal Porter saved her best for last with career-highs of 30 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Owls to a 79-62 victory over UTEP on Senior Day in a must-win situation at Tudor Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
Rice (9-20, 4-14) led from start to finish and had four players score in double-figures. Porter, who scored 18 first half points, made a career-high 13 field goals on 19 attempts (4-of-5 at free throw line) in 36 minutes. The 30 points were a season-high by any Rice player and the most since Jessica Kuster scored 30 at Colorado on Nov. 30, 2013.
Sophomore forward Jasmine Goodwine added 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting and freshman guard Shani Rainey came off the bench to score 11 points in 25 minutes. Senior guard Nakachi Maduka had an all-around game with 10 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes while also limiting UTEP leading scorer Cameasha Turner (17 ppg) to just seven points.
The Owls outshot the Miners (7-11, 12-15) 49-38 percent, dominated the boards 47-31, won the second chance points 19-10 and outscored UTEP in points in the paint 38-26.
"We had to win to keep our conference playoff opportunity and it was just a great home finale for her (Porter) and the rest of the seniors," Rice head coach Greg Williams said. "Maduka had a tremendous game on both ends and held Turner to just 2-of-11 shooting. It was a really solid team effort and we dominated the boards. We had 19 assists and shot the ball well and the players did a good job adjusting to different defenses. I'm just really proud of the seniors and the way we played."
The Owls jumped out to an 11-2 lead over the Miners in the first four minutes and never looked back. UTEP had managed to cut the Rice lead to just 29-25 with five minutes left before halftime but the Owls closed on a 14-6 run to take a 43-31 advantage going into halftime. Rice outscored UTEP 36-31 in the second half and the lead never slipped below double-digits.
Rice will now await the result of the North Texas-UTSA game later this evening to see if they qualify for the 12th and final seed of the C-USA Tournament. A win by the Roadrunners would pull North Texas even with Rice in the standings and the Owls holds the tiebreaker over the Mean Green thanks to having the best win (UTSA) of the two squads.
Saturday's game marked the final home contest for seniors Maya Adetula, Maduka, Reem Moussa, Porter and Megan Shafer.