Hawai'i falls to Rice on road, 54-50
For the first time at Autry Court, Hawai'i did everything it needed to defeat Rice last night except score enough points.
The Rainbow Wahine beat the Owls to the foul line and never allowed Rice to get its vaunted running game going, yet lost another WAC road basketball game, 54-50, in Houston.
UH (11-6, 5-3 WAC) fell out of a share of second with the loss. It has lost all three road games this season and is 0-for-5 at Autry.
Rice (7-10, 4-4), picked to finish second behind 10th-ranked Louisiana Tech, pulled its WAC record up to .500 with the victory. It outscored Hawai'i 10-3 in the final five minutes.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Rainbow Wahine play at Tulsa, Okla., now at the top of a bunched group of six WAC teams fighting for second.
"Rice is pretty good, very talented, and so were SMU and Louisiana Tech," UH coach Vince Goo said. "Tulsa might be more talented than Rice. It's looking like you better win your home games and get a few on the road. The teams we've played on the road so far have been so even, it's just a matter of homecourt."
Goo said his team played the defense it needed to beat the Owls, and took the shots it wanted. Hawai'i even drove its way to the foul line 23 times, to the home team's seven.
But, after taking an 18-8 advantage early in the game, the 'Bows could not stop Rice from rallying. The Owls, who missed their first seven shots, scored the first basket of the second half to take their first lead, 26-25.
There would be six more lead changes. Rice went ahead for good on Lindsey Maynard's drive, which made it 50-48. Maynard also hit a 3-pointer as the clock shot expired to give the Owls their 54-50 edge with 15 seconds remaining.
UH committed two turnovers in the final 4:53 and missed seven free throws in the game. It also had a block go off Christen Roper's hand and into Rice's basket.
Roper and Natasja Allen scored 10 points each. Kim Willoughby added eight points and 10 rebounds. Those post players held Johnetta Hayes and Elisa Inman, the Owls' top scorers, to a total of 12 points on 6-of-21 shooting.