HOUSTON, Texas — McNeese women’s basketball got into early foul trouble with three starters going to the bench early in the game and Rice made good on 10 three-pointers to pick up a 93-65 win here Sunday afternoon.
“Our game planned bothered them on defense early in the game then we got into foul trouble,” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “We lost our players on defense but then on the flip side we were converting on offense which is a positive for us because that is where we have been struggling.”
Despite the loss, McNeese (0-6) had its best shooting night from the field this season, connecting on 24 of 58 including six three-pointers for 41.4 percent. Both teams made 11 free throws and rebounds were equal as well with 34 apiece.
McNeese placed three players in double figure scoring with Callie Maddox leading the way with 16. Maddox scored 11 of her 16 points from the free throw line. Regan Bolton ended with a season high 13 on 5 of 10 from the field including three 3-pointers. Maia Robinson ended the game with 12 points and six rebounds. Damilola Balogun led McNeese in rebounds with seven. The Cowgirls played without its leading rebounder, Divine Tanks, who missed the game due to an injury.
The Cowgirls got a spark off the bench from senior Cinthya Rivas who ended the game with a career high eight points. Rivas was 4 of 9 from the field with five rebounds.
Maddox, Jamar Levy, Balogun, and Sky Jasper, all starters, all got into foul trouble early in the game with Balogun picking up three fouls in the first quarter.
Rice opened the game by scoring the first three points before Levy tied the game with a jumper in the lane. The teams traded baskets and McNeese took its only lead of the game (9-7) on a Regan Bolton jumper. Bolton drained a three on the Cowgirls’ next possession for a 12-7 lead. Two free throws by Balogun and a three-pointer by Maddisen Martin gave McNeese its largest lead of the game (15-9) midway through the first quarter.
Rice put together a 17-4 run to end the quarter to lead 26-19. The Owls took a double-digit lead early in second quarter and held a 53-36 halftime lead.
The Owls extended their lead to 22 (62-40) but a 6-0 run by the Cowgirls off two three-pointers by Martin and Maddox cut the lead to 62-42.
Rice took advantage of McNeese’s miscommunication on defense to score 50 points in the paint with most of those coming off layups. The Owls also got 29 points off 22 Cowgirl turnovers. When the Owls weren’t scoring in the paint, they used the arc to counter act, coming away with 10 three-pointers.
“There are a lot of positives we can take from this game despite the score. Rice was doing a great job of kicking it out and hitting their three’s. We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball at all today, we just need to be smarter with the ball,” said Cryer.
Haylee Swayze came off the bench to make five three-pointers to lead Rice with a career high 23 points. Swayze was one of four Owls to score in double figures. Erica Ogwumike scored 21 while Lauren Grigsby pitched in 16 and Nicole Iademarco added 10.
McNeese will take a 13-day break for finals and will return on the road at UAB on Dec. 8 and at LSU on Dec. 11 before returning home Dec. 17 to host Southern (N.O.).