By Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice 70-Old Dominion 48 (PDF Box Score) | Updated Bracket (PDF) | Rice-MT Notes
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Series Record: MT leads, 6-0 (Last: L, 51-41, 2/17/18)
FRISCO, Texas – Behind a balanced scoring attack and a suffocating defense, the Rice Owls women’s basketball team advanced to the Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals with a 70-48 victory over Old Dominion on Wednesday at the Ford Center at The Star.
The No. 5 seeded Owls (21-8, 10-6) recorded their largest margin of victory at the C-USA Tournament since joining the league in 2006, limiting the No. 12 seeded Monarchs (8-23, 6-10) to just 36 percent shooting and five fourth quarter points in the process.
“I’m really proud of our defensive effort today,” Rice head coach Tina Langley said. “We focused so much in the last few days about being prepared defensively. We can’t control how the shots fall, but we can control how we defend. I really like how we approached Old Dominion mentality wise.”
The Owls advance to the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament where they will face No. 4 seeded Middle Tennessee (18-11, 10-6) for a third consecutive postseason, having lost the previous two meetings to the Blue Raiders by scores of 61-59 (2017) and 74-54 (2016). Thursday’s game will be at 11:30 a.m. on Court B and will be streamed on Facebook via Stadium.
Rice junior Nicole Iademarco led all players with 23 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field, 8-of-9 at the free throw line, and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Iademarco, who was named to the C-USA Second Team on Monday, helped the Owls put the game away with Rice’s first 10 points of the fourth quarter.
Redshirt sophomore guard Erica Ogwumike notched her team-leading 12th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while junior Gabrielle Stanton (11 points) and senior Wendy Knight (10 points) also scored in double-figures.
As a team, Rice outshot ODU from the field (41 percent-36 percent) and set a new C-USA Tournament school record with nine made three-pointers while shooting 39 percent from deep. The Owls also established a C-USA Tournament record with 23 made free throws on 25 attempts (92 percent).
Rice outscored ODU 38-26 in the opening half, however, the Monarchs closed the gap to 45-43 with 1:35 left in the third. According to Iademarco though, the Owls were well-prepared for ODU to make one last run.
“We know coming into tournament play we’re getting everyone’s best effort, so at some point they are going to make a run. We talked at the beginning of the game how we needed to be ready for that run and how we were going to respond. We definitely ready and handled it well.”
The Owls would put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter and outscored the Monarchs 19-5 in the final 10 minutes.