Rice Women’s Basketball got back on the right track with a dominant win over Marshall in their first Conference USA action of the season.
From Nancy Mulkey’s opening lay up to the final buzzer, Rice women’s basketball looked completely in control of their conference opener against Marshall. The Owls had been all over the place in recent weeks. On Thursday they looked eerily similar to the same team that won 19 consecutive games against C-USA opponents last season.
Rice opened up an early 16-6 lead. Their passes were crisp and their off-ball movement set up plenty of opportunities. They constantly made the extra pass, and were rewarded with good shots.
Then the Owls went ice cold from floor. They made 6 of their next 21 shots (28.5 percent), but managed to extend their lead thanks to lockdown defense. Up 27-14, they cranked up the afterburners, hitting five shots in a row from the field on their way to a 15-0 run to close the first half with a 37-14 advantage.
The second half was all cruise control. Rice had all of their starters off the court before the third quarter came to a close. A core of freshmen and younger players took the massive lead and extended it, finishing off an emphatic opening statement to begin conference play, winning 81-43. Their 81 points tied a season-high while their 40 points allowed were the fewest since they beat Little Rock 66-40 on Nov. 9.
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 3, 2020
Player of the game – Eric Ogwumike
The Owls’ leading scorer and top rebounder was involved in every possession on both ends of the court. She’s the glue that holds this team together. Rice can win without a dominant night from Ogwumike, but when she’s playing at her peak, it’s hard for other schools in the conference to keep pace. Despite only playing 22 minutes, Ogwumike picked up her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
An honorable mention, Lauren Schwartz played a fantastic game. She made a halfcourt block, chased down the ball on the other side of the court and layed it up for two points. Later on, she stole a long pass then went behind the back to maintain possession. That led to Rice points as well. Every time she touches the ball, something magical could happen,
Rice hosts Western Kentucky on Saturday. The Hilltoppers entered conference play 8-3. The Owls last faced WKU in the Conference USA Tournament, beating them in a tightly contested game, 64-57.