March 11, 2014
EL PASO, Texas - Rice senior forward Jessica Kuster scored 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds but it was not enough to avoid elimination in the opening round of the C-USA Tournament, falling 85-65 to the FIU Panthers Tuesday afternoon.
Rice (13-17), who defeated FIU 59-41 earlier in the season, saw the Panthers shoot 53 percent from the floor and had four players score in double-figures. On the flip side Rice shot just 36 percent from the field and was outscored 16-7 in points off turnovers.
Kuster made 10-of-21 attempts from the field and finishes her illustrious career with 2,081 points and 1,376 rebounds, both of which are school records. The double-double was the 67th of her career and the 26th this season. She also surpassed TCU's Sandora Irvin (1,371 rebounds) as the C-USA all-time rebounder on Tuesday.
FIU (13-17) senior guard C-USA first-teamer Jerica Coley scored 16 of her team-high 20 points in the second half and was joined by Taylor Shade (18 points), Tynia McKenzie (16 points) and Arielle Durant (14 points) in the double-figures group.
In the first half the Owls held Coley to a season-low four points but the combination of Taylor Shade and Arielle Durant scored 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting. The Panthers finished the final seven minutes of the opening half on a 15-8 run to take a 37-28 advantage into halftime.
Kuster led the Owls with 10 first half points on 5-of-11 shooting while Nakachi Maduka came off the bench to score seven points in 14 minutes. As a team Rice made 12-of-31 shot attempts (39 percent) and outscored FIU 14-6 in points in the paint.
The Owls were never able to crawl closer than eight points in the second half and FIU made 15-of-25 from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Rice returns everyone to next season's roster aside from Kuster.