HOUSTON - A furious comeback by the Rice Owls women's basketball team came up just short in a dramatic 69-66 overtime loss to Texas Southern Monday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (1-9) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force an extra five minutes but TSU (3-6) outscored the Owls 10-7 in the critical overtime.
"I'm excited about where our team is going," Rice head coach Tina Langley said. "Our team did a great job of moving forward from our previous game, learning and growing as a team. You didn't see any fear from our team tonight. They were incredibly focused and locked in and weren't afraid to make mistakes, which was probably our biggest area of growth."
Monday marked the first time this season the Owls had three players score in double-figures. Sophomore guard Shani Rainey notched her second double-double of the season by tying her career-high with a team-best 21 points while also pulling down 10 rebounds. Rice sophomore guard Wendy Knight also established a new career-high with 14 points while freshman guard Gabrielle Stanton came off the bench to score a season-high 11 points, including a game-tying three-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation.
In addition, senior forward Alyssa Lang came off the bench to record her third straight double-digit rebounding performances with a team-best 12 boards in 41 minutes.
TSU had four players score in double-figures, led by a game-high 29 points off the bench from Jazzmin Parker, who shot 11-of-26 from the field.
After both teams played to a 12-12 first quarter, the Lady Tigers proceeded to outscore the Owls 14-6 in the second quarter and took a 26-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.
However, the Owls came out determined in the second half, outscoring TSU 19-18 in the third period and carried that momentum into the fourth quarter. Trailing 51-41 with 7:01 remaining, the Owls began their comeback with consecutive three-pointers from Stanton to trim the deficit to 51-47 with 5:43 to go.
Junior forward Jasmine Goodwine would cut the TSU lead to 57-56 with just over a minute remaining but two Lady Tiger free throws pushed the lead back to 59-56 with 19 seconds left in the fourth. Out of a timeout, Stanton would hit the Owls' biggest shot of the night with a self-created, game-tying three-pointer with seven seconds left. A Maya Hawkins steal then created a half court heave from Goodwine that nearly banked in as the regulation buzzer sounded.
Parker would have an answer in overtime, making the go-ahead and eventual game-winning shot with 51 seconds remaining to give TSU the lead for good, 68-66. Rice had one last opportunity to force a second overtime but consecutive three-point attempts from Stanton were off the mark.
The Owls will now have six days off before returning home to host Loyola of Chicago on Monday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.