Rice women’s basketball never trailed on Senior Day, leading wire-to-wire in a convincing victory over Charlotte at home.
There wasn’t a hint of distraction that lingered from Senior Day festivities for Rice Women’s Basketball at home against Charlotte on Saturday. The Owls scored first, scored often and never trailed on their way to their third straight win in conference play.
Destiny Jackson opened the scoring with a layup, two of just four points on the day, which showcased the Owls’ defense as much, if not more so, than their scoring ability. Rice held Charlotte to just 20 points in the first half on 32 percent shooting from the floor. The 49ers couldn’t get anything going on offense until the third quarter after the Owls had taken a 21-point lead.
Charlotte’s most concentrated run came following the final media timeout of the game. They reeled off eight straight points, but it was only good enough to trim an 18-point deficit to a 10-point hole. Rice was able to regain its footing and close the game out with relative ease.
Even when accounting for the minor fourth-quarter slump, head coach Lindsay Edmonds was proud of her team’s ability to finish and how well the program has played over the lat few weeks. “We’re really close,” Edmonds said, referring to playing their best basketball down the stretch. “We’re clicking on a lot of cylinders. Our defense has stepped up. Our offense is scoring the ball really at a really high clip. I’m excited about where we’re at, but we can keep pushing to get better.”
The victory essentially clinches a first round bye in the Conference USA Tournament. The Owls can improve their seeding next weekend in a two-game road finale against FAU and FIU, respectively.
Final Box | Rice 64 – Charlotte 52
FINAL | @RiceWBB 64 – Charlotte 52 pic.twitter.com/2iNhZIFoHk
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) February 25, 2023
Key takeaway | For the seniors with the future
India Bellamy and Ashlee Austin have been core producers for Rice Women’s Basketball over the last few weeks. Each finished with a double-digit scoring effort on Saturday, but neither led the team. That honor went to freshman Shelby Hayes, who stole the show on Senior Day with her first career double-double.
“Shelby was awesome. She came in and gave us a spark off the bench,” Edmonds said. “She was big time on offensive rebounds. She put the ball in the basket. Shelby is just someone that does whatever it takes to make the team better and I just think that she got rewarded tonight and I’m so proud of her.”
Hayes came off the bench in relief of Bellamy, who ran into some early foul trouble, and quickly made her presence felt. Hayes scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, including a staggering 10 offensive boards. It was an impressive performance and served as a reminder that the up-and-coming wave of Owls has plenty to bring to the table, too.
Up Next: at FAU – Thursday, Mar. 2 at 6:00 p.m.
Subscribe on Patreon for exclusive Rice football recruiting updates, practice notes and more.