Playing in their first home game in almost a month, Rice women’s basketball fell at Tudor Fieldhouse to Western Kentucky.
For the second time since mid-December, Rice women’s basketball took the court in a regulation game. The Owls played one game last weekend — and even that contest was delayed — by a snowstorm, rather than COVID-19, at least. Back on their home court, the Owls squared off with Western Kentucky, one of two teams in Conference USA still unbeaten in conference play.
Like they did against Middle Tennessee last Friday, Rice came out firing in the first quarter. Rice jumped out to an 8-2 lead, with all the Owls points coming from the arms of Haylee Swayzee. From then on, both teams seemed to settle in.
A 15-15 first quarter gridlock turned into a 21-21 tie midway through the second quarter then a 29-29 stalemate in the final 90 seconds before the halftime buzzer. Things would turn south for the Owls shortly thereafter.
WKU came out of the break firing, outscoring Rice 7-1 to start the third quarter as they opened up an 11 point lead. Rice struggled from the field and committed six turnovers in the first six minutes of the quarter. “I think we did some good things and made some great runs,” head coach Lindsay Edmonds said in the aftermath, “but then we did some a couple of silly things, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot and negate the run we just went on.”
The Owls would draw close on a few occasions in the fourth quarter, but wouldn’t tie it up again. Western Kentucky ran away with things late, turning what was a relatively close game into a one-sided affair in the final minutes.
Player Spotlight | Haylee Swayzee
It’s hard to believe, but the calendar is turning to mid-January and Haylee Swayzee, a team captain and one of the core pieces of this young team, played in her fourth game on Thursday against Western Kentucky.
“It’s great having her leadership out there, her ability to pull the team in in the huddle and remind them what we’re trying to do. I’m grateful to have her back,” Edmonds said.
Swayzee started strong but wasn’t able to add much to her point total down the stretch as her shots missed the mark. Still, she managed to tie for the team-leading in scoring with 14 points, adding four rebounds and two steals.
Stat Corner | Not all threes are created equal
Western Kentucky dominated Rice women’s basketball in transition from start to finish. Not only was their spacing on point, but they found the right shots to take. Western Kentucky shot 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from three, but not all of their threes looked the same.
On at least four occasions Westen Kentucky thundered down the court and found a three-point shooter unguarded by several paces who drained the wide-open shot. It’s a lot hard to make those kinds of shots with a hand in your face. In Edmonds’ own words, “Giving up wide open threes is not who we are or what we’re about.”
Final Box | WKU 78 – Rice 61
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 14, 2022
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice women’s basketball will have the quickest turnaround they’ve seen in some time ahead of them. The Owls are scheduled to be back on the court on Saturday against Marshall. They’ll hit the road next week for games against Old Dominion and Charlotte.