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).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Owls blasted by Baylor

HOUSTON, TX -- The Rice Owls competed with the #9/#10 ranked Baylor Lady Bears for much of the first half Sunday afternoon; however, the valiant effort by the Owls was not enough as Baylor pulled away and defeated Rice 83 to 58 before a very partisan Baylor crowd of 1311 fans inside Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse.

Rice sophomore Morgan Mayse gave the Owls a 2 - 0 lead with a made jumper at the 19:16 mark of the first half; but, after Owls' freshman point guard D'Frantz Smart gave the Owls a 5 to 4 lead with a made three-point shot at the 18:02 mark, Rice would not lead the Lady Bears the rest of the ball game.

"I think today's game was a learning experience for us," said Owls senior Maudess Fulton. "We knew they were ranked 10 and they showed us why. They were just so aggressive on the offensive rebounding side and defensive rebounding and just aggressive taking it to the hole. They really showed us how it should be done and we can learn from that and I think we will."

Both teams struggled from the field in the first half; but, Baylor's physical strength began taking a toll on Rice as the Owls couldn't keep Baylor senior Rachel Allison off the glass. Allison finished the first half with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Allison (16 points and 14 rebounds) and sophomore guard Melissa Jones finished the game with double-doubles for Baylor. Jones added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Baylor finished the first half with a 14 to 2 run in the final 3:08 to take a 45 to 25 lead into the locker rooms.

"I thought the run at the end of the half was a big, big momentum push for us," said Kim Mulkey, Baylor head coach. "I also thought the first five minutes of the second half, we outscored them I think 12 to 2 in the first five minutes. I thought that was important."

Rice trailed 59 to 37 with 15:39 left in the ball game; so, the remaining minutes became a learning experience for the Owls as well as a time to compete and improve.

"We don't really know who we can truly depend on from one game to the next to give us any kind of consistent performance," said Owls head coach Greg Williams. "And that's a coach's nightmare quite honestly. But, we're trying to work through it."

Williams also made a very telling statement about his team's toughness.

"We played scared at times. That will happen sometimes with young players; but, we've got some veteran players that are playing tentative. They're playing scared; and, at this time what are you going to do about that."

Baylor outrebounded Rice 52 to 38 for the game.

"I thought Rachel Allison and Melissa Jones -- their uncanny ability to give us second and third opportunities with offensive rebounding. That's effort. That's will. It takes a little work to be an offensive rebounder; and, I thought those kids just kept getting us more touches."

Allison added, "We weren't hitting our first shots; and, the fact that we didn't we had to rebound our ball and get another shot. Second-chance shots are key in every game. You don't want your opponent to get second-chance shots; but, you want to get as many as you can and we did a really good job of that tonight."

After the game, Allison was modest describing her performance.

"I don't think it was anything that I did. I just fed off what my teammates did. Our scoring was pretty balanced; and, that's what we have to do to win is produce."

For the third time in their four games thus far this season, five Lady Bears (4-0) scored in double-figures led by Allison's 16 points.

In addition to Baylor's dominance on the glass, the Lady Bears also attempted 38 free throws (making 25) to just 19 attempts for the Owls.

"They shoot 38. We shoot 19," said Coach Williams. "Usually the team that shoots the most free throws is the more aggressive team and that exemplies that they were. They made six more than we even shot."

Coach Mulkey commented on how the women's game is more physical now compared to previous years.

"In the Big 12, it's almost 'no blood no foul'. As aggressive as we are, I can assure you there's probably 20 teams in the country that are as aggressive. That's just the way the women's game has evolved now. You have to play hard. The little touch fouls are no more. You're out their battling and banging. Bigger, faster, stronger now-a-days That's in a lot, a lot of places."

The Owls (2-1) host Furman this Tuesday afternoon. Tip is set for high noon.

"That's a quick turnaround for us," Coach Williams acknowledged. "We'll see. That's the beauty of a quick turnaround. You get a chance to see if we truly learned anything about playing harder, playing tougher and sustaining it for a 40 minute game."
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