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Friday, March 24, 2023 — Houston, TX

WBB stunned by UTSA in C-USA quarterfinals after late collapse


Courtesy Rice Athletics

By Cadan Hanson     3/13/23 5:47pm

After earning the No. 3 seed and a first round bye, the Rice women’s basketball team’s Conference USA tournament run ended abruptly on Friday when they lost to the No. 6 seed University of Texas at San Antonio 62-54 in the quarterfinals. 

Riding a five game win streak, the Owls started the game hot, jumping out to a 6-0 lead but runs from the Roadrunners closed the gap to three at the end of the first quarter. A 12-0 run to start the second quarter extended the Owls lead, and they went into the half up by 14. UTSA closed the gap slightly in the third quarter before coming alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 28 points to fuel the comeback. Rice led as late as the final two minutes, but a 10-0 UTSA run iced the game. After the loss, head coach Lindsey Edmonds said that her team had plenty of chances to seal the game but they couldn’t take advantage. 

“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” Edmonds said. “We did a great job scoring the basketball and getting defensive stops in the first half and unfortunately we weren’t able to do those two things in the second half. We had opportunities to pull away and we didn’t take advantage of that.” 

The Owls were undefeated (20-0) when leading with five minutes left and 17-1 when leading by double digits, but despite leading by 15 at one point, were unable to handle the late surge by the Roadrunners. According to Edmonds, the Owls, who are a characteristically strong shooting team, started to lose confidence which led to the collapse.

“I felt like we became unsure of ourselves,” Edmonds said. “Shots weren’t falling and we seemed to become less confident with the ball and in return became less aggressive on the defensive end.”

The senior class fueled the Owl’s efforts, with forward India Bellamy leading the team with 14 points and nine rebounds and forward Ashlee Austin joining her in double figures with 10 points. However, the Owls were without their starting point guard, senior Destiny Jackson, who was sidelined with an injury. Overall, the Owls struggled offensively, scoring their fewest points in a game this season, 54, while going 2-19 from beyond the arc.

The loss ends the teams hopes at an appearance in the C-USA championship game or the NCAA tournament. Despite the disappointing end to their conference season, Edmonds said she is proud of what the team accomplished in her second season at the helm.

“This team makes me proud to be their coach,” Edmonds said. “They are wonderful players but even better people and I feel so honored to be a part of it! 22-8 is an amazing season.  I know we all wanted more wins in the regular season and in the conference tournaments but, many teams around the country do not reach 20 wins in a season.”

The Owls were able to earn a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, where they’ll face Brigham Young University in Friday’s first round The Owls last participated in the WNIT in 2021, when they won the tournament. The game tips off at 8 p.m.

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