Dec. 4, 2009
HOUSTON -- The sophomore forward tandem of Jackie Stanley and Brianna Hypolite both scored 18 points to lead all players and pace the Rice women's basketball team to a 71-47 victory over visiting UT Pan American in the opening game at the Owls' annual home tournament, the Gene Hackerman Invitational, Friday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (1-6) advances to the tournament's championship game, set for Saturday at 7 pm. The Owls will face longtime rival Sam Houston State, who coasted to a 76-60 win over Jackson State in the opening game of the Invitational. UT Pan American and Jackson State play for the tournament's consolation starting at 5 pm. It's a basketball triple-header Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse as the Rice men are scheduled to face North Texas at 2 pm.
After UT Pan American took an 8-7 lead in the opening minutes of the first period, the Owls turned up the defensive pressure and answered with a 24-8 run to go up by 14, 31-17 at the half. Stanley and Hypolite had combined for eight of Rice's 11 field goals in the first half while everyone seemed to crash the boards for a 21-2 advantage on the Owls' defensive glass.
"We had a really good defensive performance, by far our best of the year," said Rice head coach Greg Williams, now in his fifth season at the helm of the program. "We were pretty good on the boards. We held them to just two offensive rebounds in the first half, so we were only giving them one chance on most of their early possessions. I think we gained some confidence on defense from the previous game.
"Jackie's solid, she's had back-to-back nice games," Williams added. "She's more comfortable with what she can do. Brianna came off the bench and really gave us a spark. She hit those back-to-back three-pointers that kind of busted the game open and she had by far her best game of the year. We had a lot of players step-up and play well.Amenemope McKinney gave us a lot of great minutes off the bench as well, as did Shyrelle Horne with only one turnover in 20 minutes. I am very happy for McKinney because she's worked hard. They are going to get more minutes."
The Owls shot 35.5 percent from the floor in the first half but were even better in the second, hitting 15-of-34 shots (44.1) to score 40 more points and stretch the margin to 24, 71-41. Hypolite scored her 18 points in 19 minutes while Stanley had 18 points, eight rebounds, a block and a steal in 29 minutes. Morgan Mayse led all players with a season-high 11 rebounds.
Andrea Garza came off the bench to lead the Broncos with 10 points. She also had seven rebounds in 16 minutes. UTPA moved to 0-8 on the season. The game's box score is viewable a the above link. Action in the annual Gene Hackerman Invitational Tournament concludes Saturday with a consolation and championship games.