Houston Roundball Review: Women's Hoops

This is The Houston Roundball Review's (www.TheHRR.com) blog to discuss women's basketball. The HRR began in 1994 and has been media credentialed to cover college and pro hoops since 1997. Member of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Owls get ready for C-USA Tourney

Yesterday, the Rice Owls women's basketball team boarded a bus headed for Tulsa, OK, to prepare for the 2007 Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament. The Owls (#4 seed) play Friday afternoon (3:30pm) in a quarter-final game versus the winner of a first-round match-up between #5 seed Texas El-Paso and #12 seed Memphis.

Head coach Greg Williams told the HRR: "...we have as good a chance as any to win the Tournamaent..."
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From Reed Arena - Horns battle Aggies

I'm at Reed Arena right now getting ready for the Texas - Texas A&M basketball game which is set to tip-off at 6 pm. The game will also be shown on FSN.

A&M (22-5, 12-3) seeks its first-ever Big 12 Title with a win tonight. (The Aggies own the head-to-head tiebreaker with Oklahoma by sweeping the Sooners this season.)

The Longhorns (17-12, 6-9) could really use a win tonight to further enhance the NCAA Tournament homes.

Texas defeated the Aggies earlier this season, in Austin, last month by 19 points (64 to 45). In that game, Tiffany Jackson scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Horns to the victory. Texas limited the Aggies to 31.4% (16 for 51) shooting from the field.

In that game, A&M was led by Takia Starks (14 points) followed by Patrice Reado's 12 points. That loss was the Aggies' only defeat to a team from Big 12 South this season.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rice Owl Seniors, 2-24-07, Autry Court


Rice honored their seniors before their final regular season game yesterday at Autry Court.
Lauren Neaves, Samantha Stovall, and Krystal Frazier, along with their proud families, walked to center court to receive a colorful spring bouquet and a picture or plaque. It was a simple ceremony but very nice. Sorry for the picture quality.

Rice cruised to victory over Memphis. The seniors all had good games, and special kudos to Kadie Riverin for feeding the seniors the ball as much as possible while being very hot offensively herself.
This last game was fun, and a little sad, but it's not over - Go Owls, win the C-USA tournament in Tulsa! Like Cynthia Cooper said, "I'm in it to win it!"

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Team that couldn't shoot Straight.

This afternoon, UH's Lady Cougars lost to UAB's Blazers by 21 points, 84-63. The Blazers were aptly named because they were blazing from the three point land. The Blazers connected on 12-21 three points compared to the Lady Cougars 4-22.

But the three point shots were not the only problem the Lady Cougars had today. Lousy free throw shooting hurt the Lady Cougars as much as the three point discrepancy. The Lady Cougars shot a dismal 11-24, less than 50%. Compared to 75% free throw shooting and 58% three point shooting by the Blazers, it is easy to see why the Lady Cougars lost today.

Misa-Uli (#14) was one of the bright spots on the Lady Cougars. She had a double double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. She has the eye for where the ball is going and positions herself well for the rebound. This is a player we should watch next year. Tye Jackson (#23) scored 22 points, but she struggled on her shots and free throws most of the game. She proves the "Reggie Miller" theory works...if you struggle with your shot, just keep throwing it up till you make your average. Tye connected on 8 of 29 shots and 3-9 free throws.

For UAB, they shot 30-56 from the floor and 12-16 from the free throw line. They outplayed UH because of the steady leadership of Senior Carman Guzman (#22). She has good court vision, her passes are on target, she has great basketball knowledge and she plays in a controlled manner. She might be someone the Comets should take a look. Another player to watch the next few years is Freshman Amanda Scott (#50), a 6-2 F/C that can shoot threes.

Before the game, Sha'Quaylon McKinney was honored for her last home game. With her mother by her side, she was presented a framed picture of her years at UH. Later in the game, her mother caught a T-shirt and entertained the crowd of a couple hundred fans to a "celebration" dance.

On a side note, we would like to thank the UH Women's Athletic Department for the courtside tickets today. We appreciate their efforts to correct on oversight earlier this season when the time was posted wrong on their website and we showed up after the game was completed. Now that is a great way to say, we are sorry.
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Checking out girls high school playoffs at Campbell

I took time away from the Rockets and the drama that is the Houston Comets to go to Aldine's Campbell Center Friday night to check out the 5A Regional Semifinals:

Westside vs. Dobie and Cy-Fair versus Dulles.

First things first, there were more fans in attendance that I've seen at Rice and UH women's games this season.

Westside defeated Dobie 49 to 42 in a very physical game.

Cy-Fair remained undefeated Dulles 68 to 49; but, the game wasn't that close. Once sophomore Kelsey Bone (6'4) picked up the two early fouls (then her third in the second quarter), the game turned from a close one to a blow out.

The Regional Final, Westside vs. Cy-Fair, tips off at 4 pm Saturday at Campbell Center.

Sydney vs. Nneka. Two good teams going head-to-head. Should be a lot of fun. The winner advances to Austin.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

East Carolina's Mills Earns C-USA Honor

East Carolina's Cherie Mills averaged 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, while shooting an impressive .625 from the floor (15-of-24) and .933 from the free-throw line (13-of-14). As a result of her outstanding performances last week, Mills was named C-USA's Player of the Week for the week ending February 18.

2007 C-USA's Women's Basketball Players of the Week
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Wieben and Plumley Honored by Big 12

Nicky Wieben (Iowa State) was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week while Jenna Plumley (Oklahoma) was chosen Rookie of the Week by a media voting panel for games from Feb. 12-18. Both were honored for the first time in their careers.

Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Nicky Wieben, Iowa State, F, 6-4, So, Ankeny, Iowa
Wieben led Iowa State to wins over 13th-ranked Texas A&M and Colorado last week as she averaged 19 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2 blocks. She hit 14-of-18 shots from the floor (.788) and went 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. The Ankeny, Iowa, native poured in 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds while hitting 7-of-9 field goal attempts in the win over Texas A&M. Her blocked shot also put her in sole possession of second place on the Iowa State career chart in just her sophomore season. Against Colorado, Wieben went for 18 points, including 11 in the first half, four rebounds and three blocked shots. The Cyclones’ leading scorer has been in double figures in 19 games this season, including five of the last six.


Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week
Jenna Plumley, Oklahoma, PG, 5-4, Fr, Red Rock, Okla.
In the first two starts of her career, Plumley averaged 16.5 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 4.5 three-pointers in wins over Texas and Texas Tech last week. Plumley broke or reset 12 career single game highs in the two contests. The Red Rock, Okla., native capped the breakout week with 22 crucial points in OU’s 70-67 win at TTU. The outburst marked just the second time this season that Courtney Paris did not lead OU in scoring. Plumley tied a Sherri Coale era record with six 3s on eight attempts against the Lady Raiders. In her first career start against Texas, Plumley tallied 11 points, eight assists, five steals and four rebounds. Her final statistical line was the best by a Sooner point guard this season. Her eight assists was also a Sooner high in conference play in 2007. The 5-4 guard shot 58.8 percent from the field (10-17) and 64.3 percent (9-14) from 3-point range. She also finished the week with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.67.
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lady Coogs' Season has two home games left

A second straight woeful season is almost done for the Houston Lady Cougars. With Saturday's road loss at SMU, UH finished 0-13 on the road this season. Winless on the road for just the second time in the history of the program.

Houston 50, SMU 61.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lauren Neaves, All-Time Rice Rebound Leader

Lauren Neaves became the all-time Rice rebound leader, male or female, last Thursday night (2-15-07) in the loss at SMU.

Lauren marked her 49th career double double and scored 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Congratulations to Lauren on her very impressive achievement!

In today's win versus Tulsa, Lauren and Samantha Stovall led the way for the Owls with 15 points each. Lauren also had 19 rebounds, including 12 off the defensive glass, along with five blocked shots and four steals according to the Rice game recap. Math is not my strong point but this would look to be Lauren's 50th career double double, and an impressive one. Congrats again to Lauren! She has been very consistent with double doubles this season.

Jillian Robbins scored 14 points and 8 rebounds for Tulsa, and Robbins' jersey was retired after the game.

The Owls have two regular season games left, both at home. They play UAB on Thursday (2-22) at 7 pm, and then Memphis on Saturday (2-24) at 5 pm. Rice will also celebrate the 21st annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Saturday with a multisport clinic held by some members of the various Rice women's teams.

Rice seniors Lauren Neaves, Samantha Stovall and Krystal Frazier will be honored before the game on Saturday, so be early! At halftime, former Rice player Marla Brumfield, ex-WNBA player, will be honored as well. I tell you what - if the Comets are too late in the hunt for free agents, I would gladly bring these ladies into training camp. It's been a pleasure watching them play.

It's also the last two times to see the Lady Owls play in Autry Court as we know and love it. Autry Court will be undergoing major renovations and the basketball and volleyball teams will be playing at alternative locations next year.

CURTAIN CALL
Countdown to Autry's final game...
13 Days, 14 Hours, 38 Mins, 50 Secs
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Gilbreath and Christmas Named to WBCA All-America Game

Congratulations to Karima Christmas (Dobie HS) and Stefanie Gilbreath (Cinco Rancho HS) for being named to participate in the 2007 WBCA High School All-America Game.

Congratulations also to Sydney Colson (Westside HS) was named as one of the 20 honorable mentions.

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to interview Karima and Stefanie in Cleveland, OH, during the Women's Final Four weekend.
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

WNBA vs. NBA in video game

Call it a sign of progress or not; but, I believe this is pretty good news for the WNBA:

WNBA vs. NBA video game
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Comets to Hold Press Conference

Though I don't know who within the organization is going to send out the press release, the Houston Comets are set to hold a press conference tomorrow, February 14, at 12:00 pm for a major announcement.

The announcement is expected to be Karleen Thompson will be the new head coach and general manager of the Comets.
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Monday, February 12, 2007

Comets to Name Karleen Thompson Coach / GM

The Houston Roundball Review has learned former Comets assistant coach Karleen Thompson will be named the next head coach of the Houston Comets. Thompson will also assume the General Manager duties.

No press conference has been set, yet.
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Aggies' Franklin Named Big 12 Player of the Week

After an outstanding week, Texas A&M's A'Quonesia Franklin was named Big 12 Player of the Week. Franklin averaged 20.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, and 1.5 spg in helping lead the Aggies to wins over Missouri and Oklahoma.

Also, Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week.

February 12 Big Honors
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UAB's Guzman Named C-USA Player of the Week

Though UAB has not yet made a trip to Houston this season, the Blazers are playing well enough for me to look forward to their trip to H-town in a little less than two weeks (at Rice, February 22; at UH, February 24).

For the second straight week a UAB player was named C-USA Player of the Week.

Carmen Guzman received the honor this week.
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dixon Considering Coaching Options

I spoke with Reggie Dixon to get his thoughts on new Comets owner Hilton Koch considering Karleen Thompson as head coach and re-considering Reggie.

Naturally, Reggie told me he was disappointed. Honestly, who wouldn't be disappointed in a similar situation? You're told you're going to be named the head coach; but, the next thing you know you're being passed over; and, by the way, 'will you consider being the assistant coach for the person who we chose instead of you?'

I asked Reggie if he would, indeed, consider being an assistant coach on the Comets staff; and, he simply told me, "I'm thinking about it. I haven't decided what I'm going to do."

He told me if he does indeed decide to be an assistant coach, he will support Karleen and the Comets at all times and do his job as best he can.
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Saturday, February 10, 2007

A&M hosts OU at 1 pm

I'm getting ready for the 1 pm tip-off between the Oklahoma Sooners (18-3,8-2) and the Texas A&M Aggies (18-4, 8-2) here at Reed Arena.

The Aggies will have a moment of silence before the game for legendary men's Aggies head coach Shelby Metcalf. Coach Metcalf passed away earlier this week. As a fan of the old Southwest Conference, I truly enjoyed Mr. Metcalf as a coach and as a man. He, UH head coach Guy V. Lewis; and, UT's Abe Lemons made Texas college basketball fun.

The Aggies will try to beat the Sooners for the second time this season. A&M edged OU two weeks ago in Norman 54 to 52. A&M is the only team in the Big 12 that remains undefeated at home this season with a 13-0 record at Reed Arena.

OU's Courtney Paris was held to just 12 points in the first game; however, she did pull down 20 rebounds. Paris has 49 consecutive (and 54 overall) double-doubles in her young (she's just a sophomore) college career. She's only played in 57 career games at OU.

The Sooners will have to fend off the nation's third-best defense. A&M has allowed opponents only 52.1 points per game this season.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Comets to Name Karleen Thompson Head Coach?

Last night, while I was at Autry Court watching the men's game between Rice and Southern Miss, I received a phone call telling me the Houston Comets (re: new owner Hilton Koch) were changing direction from naming Reggie Dixon head coach and were going to name former(?) Comets assistant Karleen Thompson the new head coach. Thompson was an assistant coach for the Comets the last two seasons.

No one will make any official statements "on the record"; so, I'm simply adding my two cents to what a few people have already posted on certain women's basketball message boards.

No time table was given for a formal press conference to announce the new head coach; however, the more time that passes without any announcement of a new head coach, the more the Comets could miss out on signing any big name free agents.

Karleen has always been cordial with me and given me interviews after practice and on the radio; so, I'd have no problem if she were named the head coach.

If Karleen is indeed named the head coach, I will be curious to see if she will be able to "drop the hammer" on good friend Tina Thompson -- all world power forward -- if ever the need were to arise in practice. Karleen and Tina have almost a good sisters (they are not related though they have the same last name) type of friendship; so, it will be interesting to see if they would be able to work as well in a "head coach - player" basketball relationship.

Hopefully, an official announcement will be made soon because these rumors are growing tiresome.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

2007 WNBA Draft to be held in Cleveland

Today, the WNBA finally announced news I had pestered the leagues' media department for months: the time of the 2007 WNBA Draft. A few weeks ago, a Cleveland newspaper noted the time as 1pm (ET); but, I'm all about verification.

2007 WNBA Draft to Cap Weeklong Celebration of Women’s Basketball in Cleveland

My plan is to stay in Cleveland until the Draft is concluded and then head back to H-town.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why you Should be in Pink February 12

Though I haven't been back to Oklahoma since the Big 12 Media Day in October, this article is one of the reasons why I enjoy covering Big 12 women's basketball...

Give this a read:
Why you Should be in Pink Feb. 12
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Big 12 Announces Weekly Honors

Kelsey Griffin (Nebraska) and Courtney Paris (Oklahoma) were named Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Players of the Week while Earnesia Williams (Texas) was chosen Rookie of the Week by a media voting panel for games from Jan. 29-Feb. 4.

Week ending Feb. 4 honors
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UAB's Rogers Named C-USA Women's Basketball Player of the Week

Diamond Rogers, UAB
Junior, Forward, Jackson, Miss.

UAB’s Diamond Rogers recorded a pair of double-doubles over the weekend to lead the Blazers to a pair of road wins and remain in a tie for first-place in the conference standings.

In UAB's 73-69 overtime win at East Carolina Thursday, Rogers put up a game-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while flirting with a triple-double with a career-best seven steals. Rogers tallied five of UAB's 10 points in the overtime period, including a key 3-pointer with 1:29 left to tie the game at 69. She followed that with a jumper with 33 seconds remaining to give UAB a two-point lead, 71-69. Rogers' seven steals against the Pirates was the most by a Blazer this season.

On Saturday, Rogers gained another double-double, her second in three days and third in a week, with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in UAB's 62-55 win over Marshall. Rogers sank four from beyond the arc on her way to her 17th double figure scoring game of the season, and her sixth in a row. She also tallied three assists, two steals and a pair of blocks against the Thundering Herd.

Rogers is averaging 15.4 ppg, which ranks seventh in the league, and a team-high 7.8 rpg, which is fifth-best in the conference. She also ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.494) and sixth in 3-point field goals made with 2.00 per contest.
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

At the TC for Hilton's Press Conference

February 4, 2007

Mr. Hilton Koch was officially named the new owner of the Houston Comets on January 31, 2007. As a ten year season ticket holder of the Houston Comets, at every Comets championship and parade, you could bet if there was any way possible that I would be at the Toyota Center for this important event in Houston Comets history.

I had planned to arrive a little before 1pm for the pep rally but someone posted on The HRR that they thought there would be a tv in the lobby for the public to watch the press conference so I arrived about 12:15 pm.

Things didn't start too well as they were only allowing invited guests into the small, glass-walled room with the tv. They directed me to another entrance where the team shop is located but there was no tv there. I went back to the 1st entrance and security let several of us in to watch the press conference.

I missed the very first of the press conference, and there was no sound for a bit but I just felt lucky to be inside watching it. I was stoked listening to Orender, I thought she was inspiring. Yao Ming walking through the room was the only thing that took my attention from the screen. I softly said his name and he looked at me and smiled. Too cool, looking good, Yao! Hilton, yeah, he lost his place but kept cool and kept his enthusiasm.
Because of the cold, drizzly weather, the pep rally was moved inside the lobby, and a band was playing. We were given a "Get in the Game 2007" red t-shirt with the Comets logo, and a pamphlet with a note from Hilton and the Comets schedule.

After a good while Hilton, the C&D scrap iron guy, a minister, Tad Brown of the Rockets, and a few others took the stage. Dana Jackson, the former Comets PA announcer, was the emcee. At one point she asked how many of us had left work to be there, and Hilton seemed pleased at how many of us raised our hands. Hilton did fabulous. He was more comfortable and gave a very smooth, enthusiastic speech. It was pretty much the same speech as in the press conference but informal and relaxed. He really won me over. I know Swoopes and Cooper were at the press conference so I was disappointed when they didn't show up for the pep rally. I'm not sure I would have called this a pep rally, a lot of praying and not enough "pepping" but I was still glad I went and had a good time. One lady made her way to the front before the speeches, and Hilton signed her WNBA basketball.

Sightings:

1. Little Baby Paris and her nanny were standing right beside me for a little while. A planned "bang" went off and it didn't scare Baby Paris one bit. Something tells me she is used to loud noises with Daddy. ;-)

2. Calvin Murphy walked up and visited with the very pleasant couple standing next to me.

3. I saw Andrea Young in the lobby but away from the crowd before the speeches started. She was just watching a bit. Later, on a local newscast, it was mentioned Andrea will remain with the Rockets organization.

4. I ran into April, and she said she would still be with the Comets.
Watching the press conference was the best part of my experience, and I left feeling very positive about our team.

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Rice edged by Tulane in Barn Burner

February 4, 2007

What a heartbreaking loss for the Lady Owls last night against Tulane. A win would have given Rice a tie with Tulane for 1st or 2nd place, I think. It was a very exciting game, especially the last 10 minutes or so, but we came out on the short end (71-68). It was even closer than the final score. On the bright side, these are the games that build character and battle scars, necessary come tournament time.

It was the first time this season that I got to Autry Court early enough to watch warm ups which was fun. I thought Tulane seemed like the bigger team, and Rice didn't look worried at all, or intense, warming up. They seemed confident, and I noticed Sam's shot was falling. Once they gathered at center court for the jump, Rice was all business and very intense. Tulane seemed to play catch up the 1st half, coming back from 9 points down at the 4:32 mark to down by only 3 at the half. I thought Rice had it under control pretty good though I underestimated Tulane. They adjusted well at the break, or just felt the momentum having nearly caught up by halftime.

The last few minutes were so exciting! A real classic basketball game! I have to share it:

2nd half, the lead was back and forth until the 11:31 mark when Rice had to start playing catch up and was down by 8 at one point. The tables had turned from the 1st half.

We finally got within 64-65 at the 2:13 mark when Lauren hit a layup. At the 1:41 mark, Sam had her pass stolen for a critical turnover, then Tulane's Henry scored a layup making the score 64-67 with 1:31 on the clock. Lauren hit a jumper to cut the lead to 66-67 with 1:12 on the clock, and one. Lauren missed the free throw. With 44 seconds left, Tulane's Henry hit a jumper and made the free throw. 66-70 Tulane. The ref then about killed Rice's chance of any come back when he called Lauren for a foul when she merely tipped the out of bounds ball from Tulane's player. It clearly should have been Tulane's ball out of bounds, not a foul. Tulane's Langford hit the 1st free throw, and we are now down 66-71 (as I said critical ref call). They missed the 2nd free throw, and Lauren got the rebound. Lauren misses the 3 pointer with 17 seconds left, Riverin misses the jumper with 10 seconds left, Lauren rebounds the ball and hits a tough jumper with 4.6 seconds left, score 68-71 Tulane. Time out.

Tulane throws the ball in but it goes straight out of bounds and took no time off of the clock! Rice has the chance to tie the game! Take that, ref! Time out.

Rice throws the ball in but is covered well, and Krystal Frazier gets a tough shot off but it doesn't fall, game over. I thought Riverin or maybe Sam should have gotten that last shot, but Riverin was throwing the ball in bounds.

Lauren Neaves had an outstanding game with 27 points (11 of 15) and 18 rebounds. I felt like in those last minutes she should have received the ball even more. She was really a shining star out there.

Samantha Stovall had another fine game with 11 points (5 of 8) and 7 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist. Stove's block of a 3 pointer at the 2:58 mark with Rice down by 3 was important - I thought she played great defense. She did have 4 turnovers though. Her shot was "on" and I wish she had taken more.

Kadie Riverin had good numbers 10 points (4-7) with 8 assists but she wasn't as quick as the Tulane guard and also had 4 turnovers. In hindsight, Riverin and Stovall both should have shot more. Credit Tulane's defense.

Tiffany Loggins was neutralized and her shot wasn't falling like the game before. Krystal Frazier seems like a light bulb, on one game and off the next. She tried to get past it but was in a funk basically imo with 6 turnovers. Maudess Fulton's shot wasn't "on" and she kept taking shots - get the ball to your bread and butter please, translation Lauren Neaves. Shyrelle Horne didn't play but in hindsight I think her energy and quickness might have helped. It couldn't hurt with Krystal, Tara Watts and Maudess not contributing that much. Kudos to Krystal for that last second shot to try and tie the game - it was difficult and she did get it off.

Bottom line, it was the tale of two halves. Tulane adjusted and Rice had trouble the whole 2nd half getting points in the paint (only 10 in the 2nd half). I credit Tulane's defense, it was good. Their defense was good on the perimeter too imo. Rice had to get their shots off pretty quick. 2nd half turnovers, missed free throws in the 2nd half, lack of bench points, and 0-11 on 3 pointers hurt Rice. Rice got tired with only 7 players playing and only 8 dressed out, while Tulane seemed to just keep substituting players.

Sorry this was so long but I also want to say I couldn't have enjoyed the game more with a different group of friends.
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