HOUSTON - The Rice Owls women's basketball team recorded the team's first postseason victory since 2006 by defeating Lamar 73-72 in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) on Thursday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (19-13) advances to the WBI Quarterfinals where they will host the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Owls' 19th victory of the season marked the first time they accomplished the feat since the 2006-07 season and Rice will be attempting their first 20-win season since 2004-05 on Sunday.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team and staff," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "This season has been a journey that we've really enjoyed so far and we definitely don't want it to end. I'm really excited about the progress we've made this season."
Rice senior forward Jasmine Goodwine led the Owls with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field along with six rebounds. Senior guard Maya Hawkins added an additional 14 points to go with a game-high seven assists and six rebounds. Junior guard Shani Rainey also posted a balanced line with 14 points, five assists and five rebounds.
Kiandra Bowers and Chastadie Barrs led Lamar (22-8) with 16 points apiece.
The Owls shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field for the game and outrebounded the Lady Cardinals by a 38-35 margin. Rice also dished out 21 assists and made 8-of-22 attempts from beyond the arc (36 percent).
Rice led for nearly 33 of Thursday's 40 minutes, taking control of the game after Lamar took the opening quarter 15-12. The Owls picked it up on the offensive end in the second period by shooting 67 percent, making four three-pointers, three of which came in the final 3:38 of the half. Goodwine, Rainey and sophomore guard Nicole Iademarco all scored six points apiece in the quarter to push Rice to a 35-27 halftime advantage.
The Owls pushed their lead to as large as 45-34 in the third quarter before Lamar made a mini-run in the final three minutes to close to within 51-45 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter Hawkins scored 10 points and helped stave off another Lamar run in the final minutes by making 5-of-6 at the free throw line.
Lamar's Moe Kinard had a chance to give the Lady Cardinals the lead with 15 seconds remaining but her three-point attempt was off the mark with Rice leading 68-66.