HOUSTON, Texas (SMU) – Christine Elliott led the Mustangs with 12 points and Raquel Christian added 10, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Mustangs as SMU fell 69-60 to Rice in Tudor Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Mallory Singleton set season-highs with eight points and seven rebounds, and Haley Day led the Mustangs with nine rebounds, but Rice freshman Jessica Kuster was the story of the game. Kuster finished with 22 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks.
Over the first nine minutes of the first half, the Mustangs and Owls were tied 14-14 and Rice’s stellar freshman and leading scorer, Jessica Kuster, had just four points. Over the next 11 minutes, Kuster got to within one rebound of her eighth double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the first half to lead the Owls to a 33-26 halftime lead.
Christian led the Mustangs at the break with 10 points, sinking four
field goals, but Christine Elliott was the only other SMU player with multiple field goals in a half in which SMU went 10-for-27, 37.0-percent from the field.
Rice shot just 30.3-percent from the field as a team, 10-of-33, but hit 11-of-14 free throws in the first half to SMU’s 4-of-6. The Owls had a slight advantage on the boards, but allowed SMU just five offensive rebounds to limit second chances for the Mustangs.
The Owls maintained the seven point advantage over the first five minutes of the second half before SMU went on a 10-0 run to take a 42-39 lead with 11:46 to play. The run featured a pair of buckets by Krystal Johnson and Samantha Mahnesmith, the first four points of the game for both players.
Brianna Hypolite ended the SMU run with a free throw with 10:50 left in the game. It was her third point of the game, but sparked a run for the Owls, led by Hypolite. When the buzzer sounded for the final media timeout of the game with 3:48 left, the Owls led 59-51.
The Mustangs were unable to overcome the deficit, falling 69-60. SMU shot 34.4-percent from the field (22-of-64), while the Owls were 22-of-61 (36.1-percent). It was at the free throw line where Rice earned it scoring advantage, connecting on 22-of-28 from the line, while SMU hit 14-of-21.
SMU returns to Dallas for a pair of games at Moody Coliseum, starting the week against Marshall on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.