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Women's basketball to face SMU for the final game of the season

By Teddy Grodek     3/7/13 6:00pm

If there is a time to get hot in college basketball, it is March. The women's basketball team has won three out of its last four games and is now looking like the team that was picked to finish in the top half of the conference.

In a streak that had the team's first road win since November, the Owls failed to move up the conference standings but no longer look like the easy out that some were counting on them to be around the time of the C-USA tournament.

The streak started with a big home win against the University of Central Florida, where Rice finally found its shooting touch, shooting above an incredible 70 percent in the second half. Megan Palmer, Christal Porter and Jessica Kuster all had double-digit efforts in the win. Perhaps even more impressive than the 70 percent shooting in the game: Rice did not miss a single free-throw attempt on 13 tries.

"The second half, I thought we played as well as we could play," Head Coach Greg Williams said. "Our shooting percentages in the second half were incredible. I thought it was a really important win for us."

Next game, another home contest against Marshall University, found the Owls down 15, with a little over seven minutes to go - a game that would have been a lost cause at many points this season. But the Owls bounced back through the adversity, pushing the game into overtime. 

The Owls kept their momentum during overtime and outscored the Thundering Herd by 10, winning 71-61. They ended the game on a 29-4 run.

Christal Porter came up with her second consecutive double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Jessica Kuster also scored in the double digits adding 16 points.

Coming off two key victories, the Owls were hard to bet against when they took on the far-away University of Texas at El Paso, typically a rough place for the Owls to play.

Rice went down on the first UTEP bucket but never trailed again, despite the tight game at times. The final moments were tense, but an offensive rebound by Kuster managed to seal the game. Rice managed to sneak out of El Paso with a 62-59 win.

Nakachi Maduka played a fantastic game, leading the Owls to victory with 18 points. Kuster once again was in double digits, but barely missed a double-double by falling one rebound short.

Next, the team played the University of Houston at the Cougar's home. However, the Owls came out flat and really never competed. They cut the lead into single digits in the second half, but that was as close to a win as they really ever came.

The Owls have one game left - senior night - against Southern Methodist University at Tudor Fieldhouse. After that final game, the Owls travel to Tulsa, Okla., for the C-USA tournament. For any kind of postseason play, the Owls will have to shock a lot of people by running the table at the tournament. But with how the team has played lately, that might not be the long bet it was a few weeks ago. 

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