Lady Monarch’s Prevail Late Against Rice 69-59

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ODU Athletics

ODU’s Amari Young #23 goes up for the layup against Rice.

Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor

The Lady Monarchs were back in action on Thursday afternoon, as they welcomed the Rice Owls into town for a Conference USA matchup. Old Dominion came into the game with a 12-3 (2-1 C-USA) record as the Owls came in at 5-6 (0-3 C-USA). Tip-Off was originally scheduled for 6:30pm, but the game was rescheduled to 3pm instead due to the snowy weather forecast hitting Norfolk this weekend. 

In the first few minutes of the game, the Owls came out hot, hitting two 3-pointers and a layup to take the early lead 8-0. Senior Mariah Adams got the first points for ODU after making both of her free throws. Rice could not sink the bucket on their next possession and Adams found senior Ajah Wayne coming down the lane for a quick layup to make it 8-4. The Monarchs got another rebound off the Owls missed shot and went back down court where Wayne would get another bucket to cut the deficit down to two. Rice went on a quick 6-0 scoring run in the next few minutes of the quarter to lead 14-6. Junior Brianna Jackson would score the last four points for the Monarchs in the quarter as the Owls held a 18-12 lead at the end of one. 

ODU’s Brianna Jackson #12 tries to get past her defender for the bucket. (ODU Athletics)

To begin the second, Rice comes out with a quick layup to extend the lead to eight. After a missed shot from ODU, the Owls come back down court and drain a 3-pointer to make it 23-12. The Monarchs would cut into the lead with a bucket from junior Kaye Clark to cut the lead back to nine points. On the ensuing possession, Rice adds another layup to tally two more points. Jackson would come down the lane into the paint and get another layup for ODU to make it 25-16. After another Owls bucket, Allen would drain the first 3-pointer of the matchup for the Monarchs. Rice would put up another four points to make it 29-19, but late in the half, the Monarchs outscored the Owls 9-2 and went into halftime only being down 31-28. 

 Coming out of the break, the Owls add a quick bucket to make it 33-28 in their favor. In the next few minutes, Old Dominion would go on a 7-1 scoring run and finally break through and gain their first lead of the afternoon after Wayne drove to the bucket and scored to make it 35-34. After a missed shot from the Owls, Wayne comes back down the court into the paint and finds another bucket to extend the Monarch lead to three points. Rice would score the next four points in the quarter and regain the lead 38-37 over ODU. On the next Monarch possession, senior Aziah Hudson threw up a 3-pointer from the corner and sank it to give the Monarchs the lead back 40-38. In the final seconds of the quarter, the Owls would score another bucket and tie the game at 40 going into the fourth quarter.

In the final frame of the afternoon, both teams went back and forth with early scores as the score stood 44-43 in ODU’s favor. The Monarchs went on 7-2 scoring run in the next few minutes of the quarter and held a 51-45 lead before Rice would drain another 3-pointer to cut the lead down to three. The Monarchs would not convert a bucket on their next possession and Rice would counter with another three points after the score and the and-one free throw made. On the next offensive possession for ODU, Allen would dazzle her way to the bucket for another score and the Monarchs led 55-51. Allen played a pivotal role for Old Dominion in the fourth as she took over the game and scored 17 in the quarter alone. In the final four minutes of the game, Old Dominion led 55-53 and would begin to pull away after outscoring the Owls 14-6 the rest of the way. ODU would go onto win the game over Rice 69-59 and have won two straight games.

It may not have been the prettiest game for ODU, but they came together in the second half and held off the Owls. Allen finished the afternoon with 20 points along with 13 rebounds to give her the double-double for the sixth time this season. Wayne finished the afternoon with 16 points, and eight rebounds, while Jackson finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Adams finished the game with two points and five assists. ODU finished the game shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from beyond the arc. 

The Lady Monarchs celebrate on the bench after another score. (ODU Athletics)

After the game, Head Coach Delisha Milton-Jones expressed her thoughts on the changes to the tip-off time and how coming back and winning the game in the second half was good for the team. “We moved this game up three hours because of the weather forecast. There’s a lot going on that can affect the mental psyche of our players,” Milton-Jones said. “We settled down and really played well. This was a good victory.”

Old Dominion has won ten of their last 11 matchups and moved to 13-3(3-1 C-USA). The Lady Monarchs are back in action on Saturday, January 22nd when they welcome North Texas for another conference game. Tip-off is set for 3pm.