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 Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

Owls top UAB

Posted: February 3, 2013 -- 6:30 p.m. CST

HOUSTON, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) -- The Rice Owls snapped a five-game losing streak with a hard fought 61-53 victory over the UAB Blazers in front of an announced crowd of 377 fans.

The Owls (10-11 overall, 2-6 in Conference USA) trailed just once in the ball game: 2-0; and, once sophomore Christal Porter nailed a jump shot for a 4-2 lead, the Owls never trailed the rest of the game.

The Blazers (13-7, 4-3) struggled on offense in the first half (7 for 28); but, the Owls did not shoot the ball much better: 8 for 24 field goals. The Owls led 30-21 at halftime; and, Jessica Kuster was well on her way to collecting her 11th double-double of the season with 10 points and 8 rebounds in the opening half.

Kuster swished a jump shot to start the second half; then, teammate Nakachi "Nikki" Maduka scored a layup to give the Owls a 34-21 lead with 18:21 remaining in the game.

The Blazers pulled within nine points (36-27) at the 15:22 mark. Neither team scored for three and a half minutes before the Owls' Maya Adetula converted a three-point play to increase the lead to 12 points.

The Owls led by 18 points (54-36) at the 5:24 mark; but, turnovers; missed field goals; and missed free throws enabled the Blazers to creep back into the game in the final minute.

UAB's Ashley Grimes sank a three-point shot to reduce the Owls' lead to 55-47 with 46 seconds left; but, 4 made free throws by Nikki Maduka and two made foul shots by Kuster sealed the Owls' victory.

Jessica Kuster scored a team-high 18 points and pulled down a game 14 rebounds. Freshman Alyssa Lang added eight points and nine rebounds (in 23 minutes off the bench). Maduka scored six points dished four assists and pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Blazers turned the ball over 17 times while the Owls committed 22 turnovers. Rice shot 36% (9 for 25 field goals) in the second half. The Blazers shot 40.6% (13 for 32).

The Owls have a week to prepare for their crosstown rival. Tip off versus Houston is Sunday, February 10, at 2pm.

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