Rice women’s basketball rallies in the second half to take down Abilene Christian, opening the season 2-0 at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Maya Bokunewicz got the scoring going with a jumper, but that proved to be just the first points in another back-and-forth affair at Tudor Fieldhouse. There were five ties in the first quarter and three more in the third, with the vast majority of the first half being played within a four-point margin to either side.
Jazzy Owens-Barnett gave Rice a six-point lead on the final shot of the first quarter, but that advantage was quickly erased in the first minute or so of the second frame. ACU then closed that quarter out on a run of their own, taking a seven-point advantage into halftime courtesy of back-to-back threes.
Down at halftime, the Owls resolved to keep fighting. “We challenged them and I thought they stepped up and showed who they can really be in that third quarter,” head coach Lindsay Edmonds said.
Rice went on the offensive in the third quarter, quickly erasing the halftime deficit and creating a new lead of their own. The Owls outscored ACU 24-11 in the third with Ashlee Austin leading the way. Up by six entering the final quarter, Rice was able to withstand ACU’s final push and secure their second-straight win to open the season.
“I thought we showed up a little unfocused and not ready and our defense showed that,” Edmonds said after the final buzzer. “And then I think the second half I think we showed up and showed how we can be the defensive team that we can be. We rebounded the basketball and because of our defense and our rebounding we were able to create easier offensive opportunities for us.”
Five Owls reached double-digits, Austin’s 10 points coming entirely in the second half. The team shot 50 percent from the floor after halftime, turning a seven-point deficit into a 16 point victory.
Player Spotlight | Ashlee Austin
This season Rice women’s basketball boasts one of the deepest rosters it has had in some time. Given that influx of young talent, coach Edmonds has been able to spread the ball around, getting contributions from several different players early in the season.
On Sunday though, trailing by seven at half to ACU, Rice needed someone to take charge and seize control. As she’s done time and time again, Ashlee Austin rose to the occasion.
“Our main message coming out of halftime was just to be us,” Austin said. “Especially as a senior, I personally felt a need to be as perfect as possible and try and do everything I can.”
Austin finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, a modest line by her standards, but it was when that production came that mattered most. Austin tallied eight of those points and four of those rebounds in the third quarter, leading the comeback charge and putting the Owls ahead for good.
Final Box | Rice 85 – ACU 69
FINAL | @RiceWBB 85 – ACU 69
Owls move to 2-0 on the season pic.twitter.com/HuMzgMyngb
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) November 13, 2022
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice women’s basketball won’t be back in Tudor Fieldhouse until early December, playing their next four games away from home. That road trip begins on Wednesday at Saint Mary’s — a late tip scheduled for 10:00 p.m. CT — then at Pacific on Friday. Both games will be streamed on WCC Sports.
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