HOUSTON -- The Old Dominion women's basketball team opened Conference USA play with a 59-47 victory on the road at Rice on Friday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
"This is a great feeling because I really feel like we were prepared and ready to go," said head coach Karen Barefoot. "We got through so much adversity, and that's something we have learned from the past couple of games."
Old Dominion (6-6, 1-0 C-USA) snapped a three-game losing streak, as the Lady Monarchs used a pair of 7-0 runs in the final quarter to outscore Rice (9-3, 0-1 C-USA), 20-9, in the fourth.
Jennie Simms, who scored 19 of her 26 points in second half, led all players in scoring and also moved into 10th on the Old Dominion all-time scoring list with 1,646 points, passing Mery Andrade and Tia Lewis.
The Owls jumped out to an early lead, as the Lady Monarchs committed nine first-quarter turnovers to give Rice a 15-12 lead heading into the second. The second quarter featured a pair of lead changes and two ties, before ODU held Rice scoreless for the final 2:18 of the half to carry a 26-23 lead into halftime.
Both teams shot 35 percent in the opening half and ODU outrebounded the Owls, 18-17. Rice scored nine points off of 11 first-half ODU turnovers.
In the second half, the Lady Monarchs extended their lead to as many as eight at 37-29 midway through the third quarter. Rice responded with a 9-0 run to claim a brief lead, but ODU led 39-38 heading into the fourth.
ODU then opened the final quarter with a 7-0 run and, after Rice cut the lead to 46-41, mounted another 7-0 run to start an 11-2 rally that pushed the Lady Monarch to 14, its biggest of the game, in the final minutes.
Overall, the Lady Monarchs outrebounded Rice, 41-34, and held the Owls to 28.3 percent shooting form the field and 23.8 percent from three. ODU held a 30-14 advantage in the paint and the Lady Monarchs' bench outscored Rice's, 10-6, marking the fifth consecutive game ODU's bench has outscored its opponent's.
"I really feel like we executed the gameplan and got them off balance," said Barefoot. "Defensively, we did a great job and, offensively, we did a good job of sharing the ball and attacking the rim when we needed to."
The Lady Monarchs wrap up the opening weekend of C-USA play on Sunday at North Texas at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed on CUSA.tv and on radio at ESPN Radio 94.1