Rice 88-NAU 83 (PDF Box Score)
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Rice Owls women's basketball team completed a sweep of their season-opening Arizona road trip with an 88-83 victory over the NAU Lumberjacks Sunday afternoon.
Redshirt junior Nicole Iademarco scored a career-high 28 points in the victory for the Owls (2-0), helping lead Rice to their first 2-0 start since the 2013-14 season. The Woodlands, Texas native made 11 of 20 shots from the field, including 4-of-8 on three-pointers. Redshirt sophomore guard Erica Ogwumike came up just shy of a double-double, scoring 21 points (7-of-8 at the free throw line) and grabbing a team-best nine rebounds, to go along with seven steals.
In addition, senior guard Wendy Knight established a career-high with 20 points, making 6-of-7 shots from the floor (5-of-6 from deep).
"We really like what we're seeing from this team," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "We had different players step up in each of these first two games so we really feel like it's been a team effort each night. We were really clicking, execution wise, and created open shot opportunities for each other. The players had the confidence to step up and knock them down."
The Owls outrebounded NAU (0-2) by a 40-36 margin and led for all but two minutes the entire game.
Rice outscored the Lumberjacks 29-15 in the opening quarter thanks to a 6-of-10 performance from three-point territory. In the first 10 minutes, Knight was a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc while Iademarco went 2-of-2 from deep.
In the second quarter, NAU shot 53 percent from the field and managed to close the deficit to 45-38 at the half by outscoring the Owls 23-16 in the quarter.
The Lumberjacks cut the Owls lead down to 48-47 to start the third quarter with a 7-0 run but Rice junior guard Gabrielle Stanton stymied the run with consecutive layups to push the lead back out to 52-49. Rice increased their lead to 65-56 as the third quarter closed.
In the fourth, the Lumberjacks closed to within 71-70 with 4:12 to play but Olivia Ogwumike scored
five straight points, including a straight away three-pointer to give the Owls some breathing room. Erica Ogwumike played the role of closer late, scoring seven points in the final two minutes to secure a 2-0 start for the Owls.
Rice returns to Houston for their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 18 when they host the Houston Baptist Huskies at 2 p.m.