Rice women’s basketball started slow but rallied late, taking Tulsa down to the wire before suffering their first road loss in AAC play.
Things couldn’t have gotten off to much of a worse start for Rice women’s basketball on Wednesday night against Tulsa. Just days removed from climbing to the top spot in the AAC standings, the visiting Owls found themselves in an early 18-3 hole. Malisa Fisher did not play in this game, throwing a wrench into a rhythm that had gotten Rice off to a 5-1 start in league play.
Rice shot 26 percent in the first half, failing to close the gap by any meaningful amount. They would need quite an adjustment at halftime to make a game out of a contest that had been quite one-sided to that point.
The third quarter brought with it a spark. Emily Klaczek provided the first, adding to a strong start with a team-high two steals, two rebounds and seven points in that frame, alone. That helped Rice narrow the deficit to six points, getting the game within reach for one last push in the fourth quarter.
Rally they did, blasting out of the gates in the final quarter on a 9-2 run, narrowing the gap to a single score. After trailing by as many as 19, the combination of Dominque Ennis and Destiny Jackson carved up the Tulsa defense. They played off each other so well, propelling the Owls to a tied game with less than a minute to go. An untimely deflection would thwart the Owls’ chances, giving Tulsa one extra possession late as they secured the lead for good.
Final Box | Tulsa 70 – Rice 65
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) January 25, 2024
Key takeaway | On a bad night
On the road without one of their key players in a massive early deficit, Rice women’s basketball was one bad bounce from a game-tying shot in the closing minutes. This trip to Tulsa checked a lot of the boxes head coach Lindsay Edmonds might have laid out when asked for a potential worst-case scenario, and still, this team was right there in the thick of it.
There are no moral victories and this team has come far enough that they’re not going to treat this game as such. But we’ve now seen two conference losses for this squad and both required unusual circumstances for this program to lose in league play. Maybe Rice isn’t head and shoulders above everyone else just yet, that’s evident after nights like this. But the range of outcomes for this team is starting to fully materialize.
On bad nights, this team is still good enough to challenge you to the very end and perhaps even beat you without playing their best brand of basketball. On good nights…. good luck.
Up Next: vs Memphis (Saturday, Jan. 27)
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