HOUSTON – Junior Brianna Taylor scored a career-high 19 points and No. 11/8 Texas overcame a six-point first quarter deficit to earn a 70-47 win against Rice on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Longhorns (3-0), who trailed 20-14 after the opening quarter, led 32-28 at intermission. Texas outscored Rice (0-3) 14-2 in the third quarter and held the Owls scoreless for more than seven minutes in that period. Three Texas players scored in double figures for the third consecutive game.
The Texas bench proved to be a difference-maker in the game as the Longhorns, who were plagued with foul trouble for much of the game, used a rotation of 11 players. The Texas reserves outscored the Rice bench 30-12.
"I'm proud we found a way to win the game on the road," Texas head coach Karen Aston said. "We were out of sync for most of the day. We didn't play in sync offensively or rebound the ball particularly well. Brianna Taylor was the player of the game for us and not even because she was the leading scorer. Her minutes were so energetic and valuable to us."
Taylor's 19 points came on 8-for-11 shooting from the field to complement a game-high seven rebounds. She bested her previous career high of 15 points scored against Kansas last February. Sophomore guard Brooke McCarty scored in double figures for the third time in as many games this season with 11 points, playing a game-high 34 minutes. Freshman Lashann Higgs tallied 10 points, brought down six rebounds and came up with three steals.
Senior Imani Boyette scored four points to increase her career points total to 996. She is four points away from becoming the 38th player in Texas history to join the exclusive 1,000-points club. Boyette also blocked two shots to increase her career blocks total to 205 and added three steals.
Texas shot 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field in the game and connected on 86.7 percent (13-of-15) of its free throws. After Rice opened the game by shooting 50 percent (9-of-18) from the field in the first half, the Owls were limited to just six field goals in the second half and finished the game shooting 32.6 percent (15-of-46). The Longhorns out-rebounded Rice, 37-29.
Rice was led by guard Shani Rainey's game-high 20 points, including 17 in the first half.
Rice jumped out to an early 8-3 lead at the 8:40 mark of the first quarter on the strength of a pair of three-pointers by Rainey. Texas rallied to take the lead at 10-9 thanks to a three-pointer by Celina Rodrigo and a jumper by Higgs at the 3:02 mark of the opening quarter. The two squads traded advantages until Rice pushed its lead to six, 18-12, with 1:13 left in the first quarter. The Owls led 20-14 after the first quarter, shooting 75 percent from the field in the opening period.
Texas began the second quarter on a 14-6 run over the first six minutes of the period that was capped by a pair of McCarty free throws at the 3:47 mark to take a 28-26 lead. Back-to-back baskets by Taylor, including one at the halftime buzzer, gave the Longhorns a 32-28 advantage at intermission.
The Longhorns took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Rice 14-2 in the period and holding the Owls scoreless for the last 7:14. Five different Texas players scored in the third quarter, including four points by Taylor. Texas led by 13 or more points the remainder of the game.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday when it plays host to Hampton at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally by Longhorn Network. (Continued below...)
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· Texas now leads the all-time series with Rice, 34-1, including a 16-1 mark when the game is played in Houston.
· The Longhorns improve to 434-108 all-time against opponents from within the state of Texas. Saturday's game marked the second of nine scheduled games this season for the Longhorns against opponents from within the Lone Star State.
· Texas now has 984 wins all-time in program history. The Longhorns need 16 more victories to become just the fourth program in NCAA history to eclipse the 1,000-win plateau.