SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI (March 11, 2011) The Rice Owls played hard and hustled but it was not enough, as Missouri State defeated Rice 76-65 in the Women?s National Invitational Tournament at the JQH Arena in front of 1,459 fans. The Owls end their season at 18-14, while the Lady Bears improve to 24-10. Rice?s Jessica Kuster posted her 13th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
It was the Owls 10th post-season appearance and seventh in the WNIT. It was also the third WNIT appearance for the program under head coach Greg Williams.
Also in double-digits for Rice was sophomore guard Jessica Goswitz with 13 points and Morgan Mayse with 12 points. Mayse also had 6 rebounds and D?Frantz Smart scored 8 points.
The Lady Bears received 18 points from Casey Garrison, while Whitney Edie and Lacey Bosche scored 13 points each and Christiana Shorter added 12 points. Garrison also had 9 assists and 8 rebounds.
It was a tight game in the first half with both teams trading baskets. Morgan Mayse hit a jumper and a long trey to tie the game at 14. The Owls then recaptured the lead (20-18) when Mayse once again drained a three-pointer and Elliott scored on a driving lay up. Rice went up five (25-20) on a jumper by Amenemope McKinney with the one tick on the shot clock and a three-pointer by D?Frantz Smart on the left wing.
The Owls were up 34-30 (2:37) after Kuster canned her fourth basket, a jumper near the top-of-the-key. The Lady Bears then closed the half on a 7-0 run to forge a 37-30 half-time lead. Rice made 5-9 from three-point for 55.6 percent and shot 40.6 overall (13-32). Missouri State shot 50 percent from the field (16-32) and was 0-4 from three-point range.
The Lady Bears opened the second half on an 8-2 run for a 45-36 lead. A free throw by Memri Carmon and a trey by Carmon brought the Owls back to 45-40. A trey by Elliott brought Rice to within two at 58-56. Missouri State then countered with a basket down low and a three-pointer from the left wing. Goswitz made two free throws and three-pointer to bring the Owls close once again at 63-61 (3:48), but the Lady Bears went on a 13-4 run for the final 76-65 margin.
The Owls only shot 30.3 percent (10-33) and 3-11 (27.3 percent) from three-point range in the second-half. Rice finished at 35.4 percent overall from the field. Missouri State finished at 46 percent (29-63) after making 13-31 in the second-half (41.9 percent).