Nov. 14, 2013
LAKE CHARLES, La. - The Rice Owls women's basketball suffered their first loss of the season Thursday evening, falling 65-54 to the McNeese State Cowgirls at Burton Coliseum.
Rice (2-1) was looking to begin a season 3-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign but their offensive struggles were too much to overcome on this particular night. The Owls shot a season-low 26 percent (20-of-76), which included leading scorer Jessica Kuster shooting just 5-of-24.
The Cowgirls (2-1) were led in scoring by Allison Baggett, who scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting. McNeese also got double-digit scoring performances from NeTanya Jones (14 points) and Jayln Johnson (10 points).
The Owls were unable to take advantage of a 53-43 rebounding advantage, which included a season-best 28 offensive rebounds. Kuster fell just three rebounds shy of her career-high with a game-best 18 rebounds along with 13 points for her 43rd double-double of her career and third this season.
Rice, who's largest second half deficit was 19 points, used a 10-0 run to trim a 61-44 deficit to 61-54 with just over a minute left but were unable to get any closer as the Cowgirls closed out the contest at the charity stripe.
The Owls struggled shooting the ball in the first half, connecting on just 10-of-35 attempts (29%) and trailed 33-27 entering the locker room. Palmer led the Owls with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and grabbed four rebounds, three of which were offensive. Kuster scored six points and led all players with eight first half rebounds but was just 2-of-9 from the floor along with three turnovers.
Eight different Cowgirls registered points in the opening 20 minutes, led by eight from Baggett. The Cowgirls shot 44 percent from the field and led for a majority of the first half. The Cowgirls closed the first half outscoring the Owls 15-10 and erased a brief 18-17 lead for Rice at the 7:19 mark.
Rice will hit the hardwood again on Monday, Nov. 18 when they travel to Waco to take on the No. 9 ranked Baylor Lady Bears.