Rice Women’s Basketball jumped out to an early lead against Tulsa, controlling the game in a convincing home victory.
Rice women’s basketball never led the first time they took the court against Tulsa this season. The Owls trailed for most of that game before mounting a late comeback in the final minutes to tie, but never surpass, the Golden Hurricane. This time around, the Owls were ready, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in a game they would control for the duration.
Tulsa didn’t go quietly into the night, taking a brief one-point lead at the end of the first quarter. It was at that point, though, Rice went to its bench and made good use of its deep roster. Jazzy Owens-Barnett delivered 10 straight points in the second quarter before giving way to Hailey Adams, who scored seven of the Owls’ next 10.
Emily Klaczek had a run of her own in the third quarter. It was as if the Owls were handing off a baton throughout the game, with each player doing their part and passing the task to another. Malia Fisher, Dominque Ennis and Destiny Jackson with a combined 13 points, but Rice held the line and kept the lead.
Tulsa whittled their deficit down to five at the start of the fourth quarter but would not get closer than that. Seemingly every Rice player made at least one basket in the final frame — seven different Owls scored in the fourth quarter — as Rice slammed the door with a 7-0 run punctuated with a run-away layup from Owens-Barnett to go ahead by 15.
“It’s super fun to be able to just know the person you’re throwing to is nine times out of ten going to hit that shot,” Owens-Barnett joked afterward. “It’s really fun,” Adams said. “There’s so many more reads you can make. There’s so many more things that can happen.”
The win propels Rice past Tulsa in the conference standings and ensures a split in the regular season series with the Golden Hurricanes. At 8-4, Rice now moves to third in the AAC standings.
Final Box | Rice 78 – Tulsa 66
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) February 11, 2024
What They’re Saying
“Winning is fun. I’m really proud of this team. I’m really proud of our effort, really proud of how locked in I thought we were from tip to finish. That’s a great basketball team. They’re going to win a lot of games, but I think we just showed today how talented we are, how deep we are, and how impressive we are. Our bench was tremendous for us, 41 points off the bench to their nine. I’ve been talking about it all year long, how deep this team is, and you can sub and there’s no drop off. I think today just showcases that even more. But winning is fun. That was a lot of fun.” – Head coach Lindsay Edmonds
Key takeaway | Making it hard for them
The record might not be pristine, but the focus of this team is to be at their best in March when every game matters that much more. Injuries and bad bounces have handed Rice women’s basketball their fair share of lumps thus far, but time and time again, they’ve responded with nights like tonight.
The last time these two teams met on the court, Delanie Crawford and Temira Poindexter combined for 48 points. This go around that dynamic scoring duo reached 44 points, but it required 35 shots to get there.
“They’re both tremendous players. They both get up a lot of shots. You have to be honed in to them at all times. You’re never going to be able to keep either of them scoreless because they’re that good,” Edmonds said. “We just wanted to make everything hard for them.”
Up Next: vs ECU (Wednesday, Feb. 14)
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