Nov. 23, 2011
Houston - Jessica Kuster scored a team-high 29 points for Rice as the Owls held off a pesky Alcorn State squad 74-57 Wednesday night in Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls have now won their fourth in a row and sport a 4-2 overall record. Alcorn State drops to 0-4 on the season.
For the night, Rice shot a school record 47 free throws and made 32 of them as ASU committed 30 personal fouls. The 47 free throw attempts surpass the 44 attempts vs. Lamar in 1997. Also, the 32 made free throws is the fourth-most in school history.
"I was proud of our team because it was a physical game and at half time, I said it would be another 20 minutes but we can't back down," commented Owl head coach Greg Williams. "We have to stay tough and strong, and in the past, we struggled in games like this."
Kuster was 9-11 from the field and 11-16 at the free throw and she collected a game-high 12 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. Besides Kuster, she received scoring help from Brianna Hypolite with 14 points and Jessica Goswitz added 11 points. Freshman Christal Porter also reached double-digits in rebounding for the Owls with 10 boards.
The Owls had no defense for Alcorn State's Kiarra Ruffin who scored a game-high 31 points. The diminutive 5'1" guard made 12 of the 20 from the field and sank 6 of 7 three-pointers in 36 minutes of action. Tierro Frost added 11 points.
Rice started the contest on a 7-0 spurt, but Alcorn State toughened up its defense and outscored the Owls 19 to 12 to tie the contest at 19 with 9:35 in the first. The Lady Braves then went ahead for the first time on a long distance trey by Kiara Ruffin for 22-19 lead.
With score tied 25-25, Rice closed out the half on a 13-5 run, with Jessica Goswitz scoring 7 points for the Owls and Kuster added 5 points in the run.
Alcorn State was paced by Ruffin's 16 points in the first 20 minutes as it shot 44 percent from the field, while committing 19 turnovers. The Owls made 42 percent of their shots and were led by Kuster's 19 points and 6 rebounds.
The second half was just as tense as the first half with the Owls holding a slim 53-49 lead (8:23). Rice then proceeded to go on a 16-2 run for a commanding 66-53 margin with 2:00 remaining.
Rice hosts Arkansas-Little Rock (1-3) on Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Tudor Fieldhouse.