The Rice women’s basketball team ended its regular season this past week with a pair of split games, while the men’s season came to a crashing end.
The Rice Owls began the final week of the regular season with a 70-62 loss to Louisiana Tech on Thursday at home. Rice recovered in the form of a 47-45 win over North Texas on Saturday at home, finishing the regular season with a 20-8 overall record and a 10-6 showing in conference play.
For the fourth time in five games, the Owls found themselves on the short end, losing to Louisiana Tech by eight on Thursday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
It was a game that brought an end to the team’s school record 15-game home winning streak.
It was the first loss for the Owls at home since their 80-75 defeat to Western Kentucky on March 4, 2017.
Erica Ogwumike scored 22 points to lead the Owls and tied a season-high of four made 3-pointers. She also put up team-high nine rebounds.
Nicole Iademarco finished with 19 points.
Tech was led by Kierra Anthony, who finished with 30 points, while Taylor Stahly put up 14 points.
Rice took a 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter before Tech closed the second quarter on a 12-0 run.
Rice fell behind by as many as 11 points in the third before climbing back to a 42-40 deficit. But Tech kept pushing back.
Eager to right the ship, the Owls survived a determined effort by the North Texas Mean Green in Saturday’s 47-45 win at home on senior day.
North Texas’ Terriell Bradley’s fadeaway jumper bounced off the rim as the final buzzer sounded, and Rice took its 20th win of the season.
Ogwumike recorded her 11th double-double of the season by scoring a game-high 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Sydne Wiggins scored 13 points for the Owls.
Despite the effort by North Texas, the Owls stayed in front for the majority of the game, even taking a 42-31 lead after using a 7-2 surge to open the final quarter.
North Texas went on a 10-0 run to narrow its deficit and both teams kept it close until time expired.
Bradley scored 14 points to lead the Mean Green while Grace Goodhart finished with eight.
North Texas finished the regular season at 15-13 overall (6-10 in conference play) and locked up the 11th seed in the women’s Conference USA basketball tournament for this week.
The Owls will have to settle for a fifth seed in the Conference USA women’s basketball tournament, just barely missing out on a first-round bye.
The top four teams in the conference standings get a bye to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
The Owls will take on the Old Dominion Monarchs (8-22, 6-10) at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in Frisco in the first round.
Rice defeated the Monarchs in a 53-45 win back on Jan. 28 at home. If the Owls win, they will advance to face fourth-seeded Middle Tennessee (18-11, 10-6) at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
The Rice men’s basketball team recorded a 76-70 victory over the UTEP Miners on Thursday at home. They fell to the UTSA Roadrunners in a 79-60 loss on Saturday at home to end the regular season and end their hopes of an appearance in the Conference USA basketball tournament.
For just the seventh time this season, the Owls managed to pull a victory in their six-point win on Thursday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Najja Hunter scored a career-high 24 points to help the Owls halt a nine-game losing skid to the Miners.
Hunter also finished with five rebounds and had three 3-pointers.
Ako Adams scored 15 points while Malik Osborne finished with a double-double, putting up 10 points and 10 rebounds.
UTEP had a 21-13 advantage midway through the first half before the Owls came back.
Rice had a 36-29 lead at the half.
The Owls opened up the second half on the heels of a 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the game.
Omega Harris finished with 18 points to lead the Miners while Isiah Osborne finished with 13 and Paul Thomas scored 12 points.
The Owls were dealt a 79-60 loss to the Roadrunners on Saturday at home on senior day.
Rice could not recover from a slow start.
Connor Cashaw scored 18 points to lead the Owls with 10 rebounds. Hunter finished with 13 points while Adams put up 12.
At one point, UTSA had a 40-18 lead with 2:13 left in the first half.
UTSA scored 11 of the first 15 points of the second half to take a 51-26 lead.
Deon Lyle scored 33 points to lead the Roadrunners while Keaton Wallace had 14 and Giovanni De Nicolao finished with 11 points.
UTSA (18-13, 11-7) locked up a fifth seed in the conference tournament.
For the Owls (7-24, 4-14), their season came to an end after finishing outside of the top 12 in the Conference USA standings, falling short of a bid in this week’s tournament.
Despite losing to Rice earlier in the week, the Miners (7-24, 4-12) had the final laugh, securing the 12th and final spot in the conference championship.
The Owls finished 13th in the conference standings with Charlotte (6-23, 2-16) right behind them in last place.