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Friday, September 30, 2022 — Houston, TX

Sports notebook: Women's basketball compiles .500 record to start season

By Teddy Grodek     11/18/10 6:00pm

The Owls (2-2) started their season off with a big road win in overtime against Montana State University (3-2), an occurrence that was hard to come by last season. Junior forward Brianna Hypolite stepped up big in her first game as a staple in the starting lineup by scoring 28 points, a career high. Also chipping in double-digit points were junior point guard D'Frantz Smart and senior forward Morgan Mayse with 13 and 12, respectively. The Owls shot especially well in the game, with a 58-percent shooting percentage. Rice was missing key pieces of their lineup, including star junior forward Jackie Stanley, who had to sit the weekend out with knee injuries.

The second game of the tournament did not go as well for the Owls, who, despite having four double-digit scorers, lost to Florida International University (1-2) 66-65. Hypolite had a jumper to win the game at the buzzer, but failed to connect, giving FIU a narrow win. The Owls came out and shot miserably in the first half, converting only 24 percent of their looks, a far cry from the 58 percent they shot the day before.

Sunday was the main attraction, as the Owls tackled the Bears (3-1), a national championship contender. Rice was simply overwhelmed in the first nine minutes, as they were outscored 21-4 and were simply never able to recover from the Baylor run, losing 95-51. Sophomore guard Jessica Goswitz contributed 13 points, while Smart chipped in 12. Rice was out-rebounded 62 to 37 and was simply unable to respond to the Bears' superior athleticism. Brittany Griner, Baylor's star center, threw in 14 points to finish as one of four Bears in double figures.

The Owls hosted their first home game of the season when rival Stephen F. Austin University (0-2) came to Tudor Fieldhouse Wednesday looking for their first win. The game remained tight throughout, with Rice heading to the locker room at halftime clinging to a two-point advantage. However, the Owls' stingy defense helped them prevail 59-54, as the Ladyjacks were only able to muster a paltry 29.7 shooting percentage. Rice was able to halt the scoring efforts of the majority of the SFA squad, as 26 of their 54 points came from just two players.

Smart continued assuming her role as emotional and statistical leader for Rice by posting 12 points to go along with five assists. Junior forward Megan Elliott paced the Owls to a 50-46 advantage in rebounds by contributing 10. The Owls did shoot only 13.3 percent from beyond the arc, a statistic that will need to improve if they wish to knock off some of the perennial powers that litter their schedule.

Texas A&M University (1-0), another women's basketball powerhouse, comes to Tudor tomorrow at 7 p.m., giving Rice another chance to pick off a major power.

- Teddy Grodek

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