March 17, 2011
Springfield, Mo. - The Rice Owls played hard and hustled but it was not enough, as Missouri State defeated Rice 76-65 in the Women's National Invitational Tournament at the JQH Arena in front of 1,459 fans. The Owls end their season at 18-14, while the Lady Bears improve to 24-10. Rice?s Jessica Kuster posted her 13th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
It was the Owls 10th post-season appearance and seventh in the WNIT. It was also the third WNIT appearance for the program under head coach Greg Williams.
The Lady Bears received 18 points from Casey Garrison, while Whitney Edie and Lacey Bosche scored 13 points each and Christiana Shorter added 12 points. Garrison also had 9 assists and 8 rebounds.
It was a tight game in the first half with both teams trading baskets. Morgan Mayse hit a jumper and a long trey to tie the game at 14. The Owls then recaptured the lead (20-18) when Mayse once again drained a three-pointer and Elliott scored on a driving lay up. Rice went up five (25-20) on a jumper by Amenemope McKinney with the one tick on the shot clock and a three-pointer by D'Frantz Smart on the left wing.
The Owls were up 34-30 (2:37) after Kuster canned her fourth basket, a jumper near the top-of-the-key. The Lady Bears then closed the half on a 7-0 run to forge a 37-30 half-time lead. Rice made 5-9 from three-point for 55.6 percent and shot 40.6 overall (13-32). Missouri State shot 50 percent from the field (16-32) and was 0-4 from three-point range.
The Lady Bears opened the second half on an 8-2 run for a 45-36 lead. A free throw by Memri Carmon and a trey by Carmon brought the Owls back to 45-40. A trey by Elliott brought Rice to within two at 58-56. Missouri State then countered with a basket down low and a three-pointer from the left wing. Goswitz made two free throws and three-pointer to bring the Owls close once again at 63-61 (3:48), but the Lady Bears went on a 13-4 run for the final 76-65 margin.
The Owls only shot 30.3 percent (10-33) and 3-11 (27.3 percent) from three-point range in the second-half. Rice finished at 35.4 percent overall from the field. Missouri State finished at 46 percent (29-63) after making 13-31 in the second-half (41.9 percent).