The Houston Roundball Review is an online basketball publication
by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
Contact Kris Gardner for details pertaining to advertising on the website; the blogs; and / or the podcasts.
Rice Owls lose to Texas A&M 65-54 in 2018-'19 season opener
November 7, 2018 -- 11:50 p.m.
COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Reed Arena
In a methodical match-up, the Rice Owls lost 65-54 to the Texas A&M Aggies in a hard fought game in front of 4,043 fans gathered inside Texas A&M's Reed Arena.
Junior guard Erica Ogwumike scored a team-high 12 points for the Owls; however, she made only 3 of her 11 field goal attempts. Teammate Nicole Iademarco added 11 points on 4 for 8 field goal shooting.
The Owls (0-1) trailed the Aggies 13-1. Rice did not score a field goal until 4:38 left in the first quarter when freshman Haylee Swayze scored a lay-up to trim Rice's deficit to 14-6.
After trailing 18-6, Rice scored the final six points of the first to trail 18-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Rice had more turnovers (8) than points (6). Rice trailed 28-18 at halftime. The Owls shot 28.6% (6 for 21) in the opening 20 minutes while the Aggies (1-0) shot 41.7% (10 for 24) from the floor.
Rice trailed 35-20 with 7:53 on the clock in the third quarter; however, a 19-7 run brought the Owls within three points (42-39) with 2:26 remaining in the third period.
During the run, Rice made 4 consecutive three-point shots -- including a four-point play by sophomore guard Sydne Wiggins. The Owls did not score the final 2:26; and, the Aggies scored the last six points of the quarter to lead 48-39 after three.
The Owls got as close as 8 points (50-42) in the fourth period; however, the Aggies went on a 10-4 run during a nearly five minute segment to lead 60-46 and cruised to the season-opening victory.
"I thought Texas A&M played a tremendous game, especially on the defensive end of the floor," Rice Head Coach Tina Langley said after the game. "I just really want to credit them. I like how we fought, but execution wise we've got to get better. Our two focuses coming into the game were rebounding and live ball turnovers. I thought we did a really good job on the boards considering our size difference; but, we needed to do a little bit better with the turnovers."
The Owls made 17 of 44 field goal attempts (38.6%) and committed 18 turnovers.
Texas A&M was led by All-America candidate sophomore guard Chennedy Carter. Carter scored a game-high 22 points (7 for 14 field goals). Teammate Aaliyah Wilson scored 18 points on 8 for 16 field goal shooting. Kayla Wells added 16 points (5 for 6 field goals).
"Rice is a good ball club," said Aggies Head Coach Gary Blair. "They will win 20 again this year; and, when they get their post players back they'll be a whole different team. You will see them again in the tournament. The game was very similar to what we thought it would be, but give a lot of to our half-court defense, it was as good as we played half-court defense in a long time."
Rice redshirt sophomore Nancy Mulkey did not play in the game due an injured right wrist. Mulkey's arm is in a sling. Coach Langley does expect Mulkey to play this season.
Rice's next game is Sunday, November 11, at 4 p.m. against UCLA.
Texas A&M's next game is versus Jacksonville, Sunday, November 11, at 6 p.m.
The HRR NCAA women's hoops write-ups
The HRR on Facebook