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Rice rallies to beat MU women in OT

Feb. 25, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HOUSTON -- Rice rallied from a 15-point deficit with 7:35 left in regulation to force overtime and then used a 12-2 run in the extra session to defeat Marshall, 71-61, in Conference USA women's basketball Sunday at Tudor Fieldhouse.

The Owls (12-14, 4-9 C-USA) closed the contest on a 29-4 run through the last seven minutes of regulation and overtime.

"I'm very proud of the team," Rice coach Greg Williams said. "You don't have many games where you're down 15 with 7:35 left to go and win. We hung in there. It was a very important win for us. We needed to protect our home court as we go on the road this week."

The Thundering Herd (9-17, 3-10 C-USA) remains winless in league road games. Marshall's final chance comes March 7 at Memphis.

Trailing 57-42 with 7:35 to play, the Owls went on a 17-0 run in the next seven minutes to take a 59-57 lead. Alyssa Lang scored the last four points of regulation for the Owls, tying the game with two free throws, and making a layup to briefly take the lead, before the Herd tied the game with 16 seconds left at 59-59 to force overtime.

Elena Gumbs hit a 3-pointer to give the Owls a 64-61 lead with 2:27 left in overtime, which opened the floodgates. The Owls tallied eight points in 71 seconds to put the game out of reach. This is Rice's fourth comeback of nine or more points this season, and the largest comeback since Nov. 14, 2004, when the Owls also erased a 15-point deficit against Stephen F. Austin. Their 17-0 run at the end of regulation is their largest run this season.

Jessica Kuster led Rice with 16 points.

Suporia Dickens led Marshall with a career-high 21 points. He made 5-of-9 three-pointers. The Herd made eight from behind the arc in the first half, but just one in the second.

"They changed the defense on us a little bit -- stymieing us," first-year Herd coach Matt Daniel said. "Fatigue is a factor, turnovers are a factor. They close the game on a 29-4 run. You can't win a game like that. We were up 15 with six minutes to go. We should have won the ball game, plain and simple.

"Even if you can't score, you can guard. That's how we have won games. If we hold them to 27-4 to close the game, we win. There is no excuse for it."

Marshall will return to action Thursday at home against Southern Miss. Game time is 7 p.m. at Cam Henderson Center. The final home game is against UCF next Sunday at 2 p.m.