Rice Women’s Basketball cruised past Little Rock, an NCAA Tournament team last season, behind a big day from senior guard Erica Ogwumike.
Little Rock and Rice Women’s Basketball are no strangers to each other. The two teams have met on the hardwood in now three consecutive seasons, with Rice completing the three-year, three-game sweep on Saturday. The win improved the Owls’ record to 2-0 this season.
The Rice defense was suffocating for much of this contest, allowing 10 points in the first quarter and nine points in the second. Little Rock managed 31 percent shooting from the floor in the first half. That defensive performance, combined with a 10-17 start from inside the three-point line, helped propel the Owls to a 36-19 halftime lead. They never looked back, winning by a final score of 66-40.
The big lead afforded Rice another opportunity to give their incoming freshmen extended action. All 14 players saw action again on Saturday including another strong shooting day from Lauren Schwartz, who finished with eight points and three rebounds.
“I’m really excited about the way we’re coming together,” head coach Tina Langley said following the win. “I think there’s a lot of new faces on the floor, a lot of pieces to try to figure out how they fit together and I like the way we’re communicating.”
Player of the Game
Like Rice, Little Rock won their conference tournament a season ago, punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Although this was a battle of two March-tested teams, the Owls proved their mettle early, extending an early lead behind the incredible play of senior guard Erica Ogwumike.
For Ogwumike, it didn’t matter that center Nancy Mulkey picked up some early fouls and only played 20 minutes. A deep bench, already heavily utilized in the Owls’ season opener, was more than enough support for an outstanding showing on both ends of the court.
The big game was a reinforcement of the improvement coach Langley has seen Ogwumike make during the offseason. “The neat thing about Erica [Ogwumike] is that she plays as a playmaker. She can create for her teammates or she can progressively find ways to score,” Langely said. “She’s an elite-level scorer and sees the floor really well.”
On Saturday, Ogwumike scored the last eight points of the first half, turning a nine-point Rice advantage into a 17-point lead at halftime. She kept piling in on in the second half, finishing with a game and season-high 23 points and nine rebounds.
FINAL BOX | Rice wins 66-40 pic.twitter.com/N21ZjMMQHg
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) November 9, 2019
The next time Rice Women’s Basketball takes the court, it will be in Dallas for their first road game of the season. The Owls visit SMU on Wednesday, Nov. 13 for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff. Last year the Owls defeated the Mustangs 66-52.