HOUSTON, Tx. -- The Old Dominion women's basketball team held second-place Rice to under 30 percent shooting, but the Owls utilized a late run to pull out a 53-45 victory at Tudor Fieldhouse on Sunday. "They hit big threes when they needed to," said head coach Nikki McCray-Penson. "We wanted them to two us, rather than three us. We can't allow a team that likes to shoot threes to get open threes."
With the game tied 45-45 and under three minutes remaining, the Owls' Nicole Iademarco hit a corner three at the end of the shot clock to give Rice (16-3, 6-1 C-USA) its first lead since the first quarter.
Old Dominion (4-18, 2-6 C-USA) could not convert on its next offensive possession and the Owls hit their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win. Rice ended the game on a 13-0 run. "They forced us to take jump shots down the stretch and we just missed them," said McCray. Victoria Morris and MaKayla Timmons led ODU with 13 points each. Timmons also dished out a team-high three assists.
Defensively, ODU held Rice to just 16 points in the first half, the lowest half total for the Owls this season. Rice also shot just 29.8 percent from the field, its second-lowest field goal percentage of the season. Freshman Dejah Carter played a key role for the Monarchs on the defensive end, blocking a career-high four shots.
However, foul trouble was a thorn in the Monarchs' side, as six of ODU's eight players were forced to play with three or more fouls for a majority of the fourth quarter. At the line, Rice connected on 17-of-26 free throws while ODU was just 3-of-7. "We're growing. I like where out team is at," said McCray. "We just need to continue to try and find a way to win on the road."