HOUSTON - The Rice Owls women's basketball team won their fourth consecutive game with a convincing 70-36 victory over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders Thursday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
With the win, the Owls (7-2) have jumped out to their best nine-game start since the 1997-98 campaign. The 36 points allowed were the lowest by a Rice opponent this season, pushing the league's-leading scoring defense down to 52.2 points per game. The Owls limited the Islanders (4-5) to just 13 second half points, the fewest by a Rice team since the 1992 season.
"To come into this game after a tough week of studying for exams, and to play with the heart we did tonight says a lot about our team," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "I love the way we defended, I think we keep getting better on that end of the floor. We also improved on taking care of the ball."
Rice limited A&M-Corpus to just 30 percent shooting from the field and had a 21-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Offensively the Owls had three players score in double-figures, led by a season-high 13 points off the bench from redshirt sophomore Nicole Iademarco. The Woodlands, Texas native made 4-of-9 shots from the field, including three trifectas, and was part of bench unit that outscored the Islanders 27-7.
Junior guard Shani Rainey scored in double-figures (12 points) for the fifth time this season and set a career-high in assists (6) while tying a career-high in steals (4) in 34 minutes. Senior forward Jasmine Goodwine added 11 points and tied a career-high with a game-high four blocks. Senior guard Maya Hawkins finished with nine points and five assists while sophomore forward Lexie Ducat flirted with a double-double with nine points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Rice actually fell behind by as many as nine points (15-6) in the opening quarter but responded with a 12-0 run, which included three-point makes by Iademarco and Rainey, to take an 18-15 lead after the opening 10 minutes.
The Owls turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter by holding the Islanders to just eight points on 4-of-18 shooting (22 percent) while Rice connected from the field at a 50 percent rate (6-of-12) to increase their advantage to 32-23 going into the break.
Rice nearly duplicated their second quarter performance in the third period with a 16-8 advantage, spearheaded by seven points from Goodwine and five more points from Iademarco. In the fourth quarter the Owls put the game away by shooting a sizzling 67 percent en route to a 22-5 advantage in which eight different players scored points.
The Owls will look for their fifth straight win on Sunday when they travel to Monroe, La. to face the ULM Warhawks (2-7) at 2 p.m.