Rice women’s basketball hung around until the final minutes but was unable to get the shots to fall in Saturday’s road loss to North Texas.
Saturday’s back-and-forth slugfest between North Texas and Rice women’s basketball did not disappoint. The Mean Green were the aggressors early on, taking a seven-point lead midway through the first quarter before Rice was able to punch back, courtesy of some clutch three-point shooting from Ashlee Austin and Trinity Gooden.
The second quarter was more of the same; North Texas grabbed an eight-point lead and Rice thundered back via the three-ball, this time courtesy of Dominque Ennis and Malia Fisher. It wasn’t until the third quarter when Rice was able to get in front for a meaningful amount of time — and even then, the Owls led by just one point entering the fourth quarter.
The largest lead by either side in the final 10 minutes would be four points with the game hanging in the balance as the clock ticked below two minutes. Only one field goal was made from either side at that point, a North Texas three, which would break a deadlock and put the Mean Green ahead for good.
Final Box | North Texas 69 – Rice 66
FINAL | NT 69 – @RiceWBB 66 pic.twitter.com/fCBRBbc4Sv
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) February 4, 2023
Key takeaway | The shots won’t fall every night
Rice didn’t shoot particularly well at any point of the game against North Texas, but the fourth quarter was one of their least effective stretches and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Those perfectly timed three-pointers that helped Rice stay close throughout the afternoon disappeared late. Dominque Ennis was the only Owl to attempt a three in the fourth quarter and went 1-for-5.
Then there was Malia Fisher’s tough stretch at the free throw line. On Thursday night against Louisiana Tech, Fisher was unbelievably good. In the fourth quarter on Saturday, she wasn’t at her best, but she continued to get the call in part because of the trust she’s earned to this point. She was 3-for-7 from the line in the fourth quarter, effectively giving up four points in a game the Owls lost by three.
By no means does Fisher bear all the culpability for this defeat, but her final frame does serve as a reminder that the shots won’t fall every night. That’s basketball. Fisher is shooting 75.6 percent from the line this season, even with the rough game. She’ll be fine and Rice will be fine. The Owls have won six of eight and they probably won’t leak free throws on a regular basis going forward.
Up Next: vs Florida Atlantic – Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m.
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