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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.

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Rice hangs on to edge UTSA 78-76

POSTED: January 17, 2023 -- 8:58 a.m. CST

HOUSTON, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) -- The Rice Owls defeated the UTSA Roadrunners 78-76 Monday night and improved 12-4 overall this season and 3-4 in Conference USA.

"Winning's hard and winning in conference play is hard," Rice Head Coach Lindsay Edmonds said after the game.

Rice senior guard Katelyn Crosthwait led the Owls with a career-high 23 points. Crosthwait knocked down 7 three-point shots to tie the Rice record. Her 7 made threes came on 14 attempts.

After the game, Crosthwait said she was surprised UTSA left her open as often as they did.

"Yes, in the sweetest way," Crosthwait said while grinning. "I think I've had a lot of games where I can show that I shoot threes. I definitely think that's on my scout. I'm going to put it up if I'm open."

Oddly enough, Rice began the game ice cold in the first quarter. The Owls made just 1 of 12 three-point attempts in the first frame. The Owls finished the first quarter 5 for 18 from the floor and trailed UTSA 20-12.

Crosthwait and freshman Dominique Ennis each made 2 three-pointers in the second quarter. UTSA committed 7 turnovers in the second quarter which Rice converted into 13 points. The Owls did not commit a turnover in the first half and outscored UTSA 14-0 in points off turnovers in the first stanza.

Rice trailed UTSA 39-38 at halftime.

The third quarter was filled with turnovers. The two teams combined for 17 turnovers in the quarter. Rice went from zero turnovers in the first half to committing 8 turnovers in the third.

Crosthwait sank 2 more threes in the third quarter. Teammates Malia Fisher and Destiny Jackson each made a three-pointer to help Rice outscore UTSA 19-13 in the third and lead 57-52 heading to the fourth quarter.

Crosthwait's second three-pointer in the third came during transition. She apologized to Coach Edmonds for taking the shot.

"She dribbled down the court and shot one and it went in," Coach Edmonds said. "And, she said, 'I'm sorry.' and I'm like 'What are you saying sorry for?' "

Ennis and Crosthwait made threes early in the fourth to stretch Rice's lead to 70-59 with more than 5 minutes remaining. Rice led 75-64 with 3:19 left in the game when UTSA mounted a comeback. The Roadrunners scored 8 straight points to cut Rice's lead to 2 (75-73) with 98 seconds remaining.

Destiny Jackson ended Rice's scoring drought and split two free throws for a 76-73 lead with 1:05 remaining in the game.

UTSA's Kyra White missed a jumper and Elyssa Coleman missed the putback layup attempt. Jackson was fouled again and made both free throws for a 78-73 Rice lead with 47 seconds remaining.

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins sank a tough jumper in the paint and was fouled. Jenkins made the foul shot to trim Rice's lead to 78-76 with 32 seconds on the clock.

Rice called a 30-second timeout. After the timeout, Rice used nearly all of the 30-second shot clock before Destiny Jackson missed a jumper. UTSA's Maya Linton grabbed the rebound with 2.7 seconds remaining.

UTSA called a timeout to advance the ball into the frontcourt. After the timeout, Kyra White lobbed an inbounds pass towards Jenkins. Jenkins was a few feet away from the basket; however, the pass tipped off her hands and the game clock expired.

Crosthwait's career-high 23 points led a balanced Rice scoring attack. In addition to Crosthwait's 23 points, four more Owls scored in double-digits: Malia Fisher scored 14; Destiny Jackson scored 13; Dominique Ennis chipped in 11 and India Bellamy added 10.

Jordyn Jenkins scored a game-high 26 points for UTSA.

Rice outscored UTSA 23-4 in points off turnovers.

"I thought we had a slow start; but, we found a way," Coach Edmonds commented. "We won the second and third quarters, which put us in position to have a few slip ups in the fourth and we were still able to finish the game out."


Rice hosts North Texas this Thursday, January 19, at 7 p.m., on ESPN+.

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