Rice women’s basketball took care of business in their home opener, opening coach Lindsay Edmond’s tenure with a convincing victory.
To some extent, early season basketball games are hard to evaluate. Rice Women’s basketball opened their 2021-2022 campaign against St. Edwards, a DII school. Even with so many new pieces to work in and early-season jitters to iron out, a win was expected. Anything beyond that would have been icing on the cake.
On Tuesday night, with a crowd in the stands at Tudor Fieldhouse for the first time in more than a year, the Owls had feasted.
After trading buckets in the early moments, Rice extended a 5-4 lead to 28-4 lead before St. Edwards could score again. Freshman Malia Fisher led the way out of the gate. Fellow newcomer Alexis Stover added nine points of her own and the entire team played solid defense, the kind Rice fans have grown accustomed to over the last several years.
“Overall, the gelling is happening. It’s going to continue to happen as we go. I don’t expect it to be perfect on the first night, but I thought we looked pretty good out there for the majority of the game,” head coach Lindsay Edmonds said afterward.
Team captain Katelyn Crosthwait played limited minutes in what is expected to be her last game of reduced minutes this season. Fellow captain Haylee Swayze was held out entirely. Edmonds said she could be a few more weeks away from seeing her first action.
It’s a long season and both are working to get back to 100 percent. That left extra court time available for Rice in the opener which coach Edmonds took advantage of, getting the majority of the roster meaningful playing time.
Given the various combinations of new faces, it wasn’t a perfect game by any means. This was the first time many of these players had seen the court in a live game and there were some growing pains. There was a sequence in which Rice committed a shot clock violation in the first quarter with plenty of time to work with.
There were smaller communication gaps on both sides of the court. But when you open up a 30-point margin, there’s room to work through those issues. Edmonds was quick to mention she was “obviously, a little worried about our third quarter effort” in which St. Edwards cut their deficit from 26 to 27 points, adding later that the team has “some work to do on the rebounding end, for sure.”
In totality, Rice women’s basketball netted just what they needed from this tune-up game. They won, gathered valuable time on the court and came away with a list of things to work on as the season progresses. And most importantly, they’re 1-0.
— Rice Women’s Basketball (@RiceWBB) November 10, 2021
Player Spotlight | Malia Fisher
Freshman Malia Fisher was one of the positives from this game. Fisher scored or assisted on nine of the Owls’ first 11 points. She finished with nine points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. After starting the game a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, she did not attempt another shot from the floor, but found other ways to help the team win.
Edmonds’ noted the second-half lul and seemed confident Fisher’s consistency would come. She went on to call Fisher “a very special player, very athletic” adding that “she hasn’t even tapped into her full potential yet. She’s an exciting player that does a lot of things that make you go ‘wow’.” Consider that a ringing endorsement of one of the Owls’ newest faces.
Final Box | Rice 84 – St. Edwards 41
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) November 10, 2021
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice women’s basketball opens its season with a stretch of five home games, not leaving the confines of Tudor Fieldhouse during the month of November. They’ll host Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 13. That game tips off at 7:00 p.m.
Subscribe on Patreon for exclusive Rice football recruiting updates, practice notes and more.