Rice women’s basketball gutted out a hard-fought road win, overcoming foul trouble to dispatch Abilene Christian and improve to 2-0.
On the road for the first time this season, Rice women’s basketball opened their trip to Abilene Christian looking composed and comfortable on both sides of the court. The Owls jumped out to an 11-3 lead, limiting the Wildcats to just one made basket across the first five minutes of action.
Rather than run away with the victory, though, the Rice defense sagged and became much more reminiscent of the unit that allowed Houston Christian to pour on some late points than the team that produced a historic first half outing in that same opening game.
ACU battled back, cutting the Rice lead to as few as two points before entering halftime trailing by three. Malia Fisher kickstarted the Owls immediately after the break, putting up back-to-back layups to spark what turned into a 16-4 Rice run and a 15-point Rice advantage. In a matter of a few minutes, a close game teetered on the verge of a blowout once again, but a comfortable game was not in the cards.
Every time Rice started to get in a groove, trouble came. That big lead dwindled to 10 by the time the third quarter had come to a close on its way to just a six-point advantage for Rice with seven minutes remaining in the game.
When push came to shove, Dominque Ennis delivered the daggers. Her pair of three pointers in the final minutes kept the Rice lead at double-digits and helped finish off the pesky Wildcats.
“Winning on the road is hard,” Rice women’s basketball head coach Lindsay Edmonds said. “Coming into someone else’s gym and getting a road win is really, really tough. I thought our players came in here and they showed toughness and the showed togetherness.”
Final Box | Rice 69 – ACU 58
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) November 10, 2023
Key takeaway | Fighting through Foul Trouble
Foul trouble shaped the course of this game significantly. Emily Klaczek was limited to six minutes in the first half. Malia Fisher only played 10. Trinity Gooden, just eight and then quickly returned to the bench when she picked up her third foul early on in the third quarter.
Getting into any sort of rhythm proved challenging for the Owls, who barely were able to keep a consistent five on the court for more than a few moments. It was a grimy game with lots of contact and lots of whistles. Three Rice starters finished with four fouls. None fouled out, but all had their minutes significantly reduced.
Fair or not, the good teams find ways to win these types of games, and that’s what Rice was able to achieve on Thursday night. They’ve now won 13 consecutive non-conference games, a streak that dates back to December 2021.
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