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WBB knocks off A&M for best start in program history

Photo courtesy Rice Athletics

By Reed Myers     11/29/22 11:19pm

College Station was full of upsets over the holiday weekend as the women’s basketball team capped off the weekend by upsetting Texas A&M University 66-58. The victory pushed the Owls’ record to 6-0, earning them the best start in program history. 

According to head coach Lindsay Edmonds, the Owls’ experiences from last year have carried over to their record-breaking start in her second season. 

“Last year, we were pretty inexperienced, myself included,” Edmonds said. “This is a group that played a lot of minutes last year, and so I think they had that confidence, and they knew that they had won in close games before. I felt like they weren’t worried about what was across the chest of the opponents; they were just playing basketball.”

Battling on the road for the fourth consecutive game, the Owls found themselves in a difficult matchup as the Aggies’ offense was focused on pounding the ball inside to their physical frontcourt players. According to senior forward India Bellamy, preparing for the Aggies’ frontcourt was at the forefront of their minds during the Owls’ preparation for the game.

“We go head to head and practice every day and make sure we get better as a team to make sure our posts all get better,” Bellamy said. “So just going against [Aggies freshman forward Janiah] Barker helped us. She had a great game, but it helped us to get somebody else to score and help our team defense.”

The back-and-forth contest saw the two teams deadlocked at 25 points apiece at halftime. The Aggies made a 10-2 run to open the third quarter, but the Owls made their own run to close the quarter and took a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter. 

According to Edmonds, the third quarter gave the Owls the momentum to add to their lead in the fourth quarter and seal the game.

“I thought the third quarter was really big for us,” Edmonds said. “Texas A&M came out and made a big run to start the third quarter. But we came back with our own run, and then I think we felt like we had the advantage in the fourth because of that.”

Rice was able to tack onto their lead in the latter stages of the fourth quarter thanks to two timely three-pointers from senior guard Katelyn Crosthwait. 

The versatility of the Owls’ post players allowed them to attack the Aggie defenders in the paint, off the dribble and from beyond the arc. The trio of Bellamy, sophomore forward Malia Fisher and senior forward Ashlee Austin accounted for 36 of the Owls’ 66 points. 

Austin, who sparked the Owls’ offense off the bench with 16 points and three assists, relished getting the victory in College Station after the game. 

“We’ve played A&M two times before, [and] we missed the game last year because of COVID,” Austin said. “So it just feels amazing to come in here and get that win finally. I feel like we’ve been waiting for it since our freshman year. So it’s really a full circle moment.”

This marked the program’s second victory in 11 games against the Aggies. The Owls will look to build on their fast start when they host Texas Christian University on Friday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.

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