Nov. 30, 2013
BOULDER, Colo. - A late second-half surge by the No. 14 Colorado Buffaloes proved to be too much for the Rice Owls women's basketball team to overcome in a 75-58 loss in the Omni Hotels Classic championship game Saturday evening at the Coors Events Center.
Jessica Kuster, who was named to the all-tournament team, led all players with 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and 11-of-16 at the free throw line. It was her third performance this season of 30 points or more.
Rice (4-5) trailed just 33-29 at halftime and hung around for most of the second half before the Buffaloes went on a key 14-0 run midway through the final half, stretching their lead from 49-45 to 63-45 that was sandwiched around two Megan Shafer three-pointers.
Kuster scored the Owls final 10 points to bring Rice within 66-58 with 2:50 remaining but the Owls missed their final four shots from the field and committed a turnover the remainder of the contest.
Colorado (6-0) was led in scoring by Lexy Kresl, who scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting en route to being named the tournament MVP. Jen Reese (13 points) and Brittany Wilson (11 points) also scored in double-figures.
The Owls went toe-to-toe with the Buffaloes in the first half, entering halftime trailing just 33-29 behind 15 points from Kuster. The San Antonio, Texas native made 5-of-9 shots from the field, including an acrobatic one-legged long distance three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to trim the Owls deficit to just 33-29. Kuster also made 4-of-5 attempts at the free throw line while playing all 20 minutes in the first half.
Rice fell behind Colorado by as much as 10 points on two different occasions but each time found a way to slice the lead back to single-digits to stay. Colorado outshot Rice 45-42 percent but the Owls outscored the Buffaloes 11-9 in points off turnovers (10).
Colorado had seven different players score in the first half but none had more than seven points. The Buffaloes also managed to only make two free throws on just five attempts.
It marked the second time this season the Owls trailed by four points or less at halftime against a Top-25 team (trailed 32-30 at No. 21 Michigan State).
Rice will now get a bit of a break before they return home to play Texas State on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse. That will mark the last game before the Owls host Houston on Dec. 20.
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