Houston – The Rice Owls women's basketball team came up just short in a last second, 62-61 loss to No. 5 Texas A&M Sunday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice (2-2) held a 61-60 lead with under 10 seconds remaining but Texas A&M's Cierra Johnson had a putback with nine seconds left, which proved to be the winning field goal.
The Owls were led in scoring by freshman Lauren Schwartz, who poured in a season-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Schwartz made 7-of-8 free throw attempts and scored in 14 points in the second half alone.
Rice junior guard Sydne Wiggins also scored in double-figures with 13 points, which included a 3-of-5 performance from three-point territory. Senior guard Erica Ogwumike narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points a team-best 12 rebounds. Junior center Nancy Mulkey chipped in eight points and added three more blocks after her record-breaking 11-block performance earlier in the week.
Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter led all players with a game-high 29 points, 17 of which came in the opening quarter, while Kayla Wells also scored in double-figures with 19 points.
Tina Langley Postgame Reaction
"Our young women prepared really well for this game and battled competitively hard all day. I'm very proud of who they are and how they played today. I think we're still learning each other. We have a young team and as we play together more, experience is going to be a great teacher for us."
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Aggies outscored Rice 24-14 in the opening period with Carter scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Wiggins helped keep the Owls close with five points in the quarter, including the first three-pointer of the afternoon for Rice.
The Owls picked up the intensity on the defensive end, limiting the Aggies to just 33 percent shooting from the field and pulled to within 36-29 at the half by outscoring A&M 15-12. Wiggins scored another five points in the quarter while Haylee Swayze added four points off the bench.
Schwartz came alive offensively by scoring 12 of the Owls' 24 points in the period on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 at the charity stripe. It was Wiggins though, who gave the Owls their first lead of the afternoon, knocking down a corner three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining to put Rice up 51-49. Ogwumike added a layup seconds later to help create a 9-0 run to close the quarter.
The Owls trailed 60-59 in the final minute but an Ogwumike layup following a travel by Carter put Rice in front 61-60 with 23 seconds remaining and sent Tudor Fieldhouse in a frenzy. Out of a timeout, A&M's Shambria Washington missed a corner three-pointer but Johnson was able to corral the rebound and her putback gave the Aggies the lead. Wiggins had a last-second attempt for the win but her jumper was off the mark at the buzzer.
The Owls will return to the road for a Big 12 tussle with Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m.