NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion Lady Monarchs avenged a loss to Rice from earlier in the season by taking down the Owls, 61-52, on senior day at the Ted Constant Center on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Monarchs finished the regular season with a 14-16 overall record and a 10-8 mark in Conference USA, while Rice concluded the season 8-21 overall and 7-11 in the league.
Jennie Simms led the Lady Monarchs with 24 points five rebounds, while Ije Ajemba pulled in a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with her eight points. Gianna Smith registered 12 points for ODU, including a 6-for-6 showing from the foul line. Keyana Brown chipped in five points, five rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes of action.
Simms opened the game with five straight points after drawing a foul to go to the free-throw line and draining a three-pointer in span of 53 seconds. The Lady Monarchs took a 9-5 lead over the Owls by the first quarter media timeout (4:55), but Rice went on a 5-0 spurt following the break to take a 10-9 lead with 4:14 left on the clock. With two minutes left in the period, Rice went on another run and put up another five unanswered points to take a four-point advantage over the Lady Monarchs (15-11). The Lady Monarchs tied the game (15-15) with 11 seconds left after a jumper by Ajemba, but the Owls got a three from Gabrielle Stanton at the buzzer to lead ODU 18-15 after the first quarter.
The Lady Monarchs were held to a 2:57 scoring drought starting at the 8:13 mark in the second period, as Rice took a 27-20 lead over ODU at the media timeout (5:16). ODU continued to struggle on the offensive end and trailed Rice by 10 points (30-20) with 3:51 left. Overall, the Lady Monarchs were held scoreless for over five minutes and were forced into four turnovers during that span. Two free-throws from Simms with 2:43 left sparked a 6-1 ODU run to close the period and pull the Lady Monarchs within five points at the intermission.
Simms led the way for ODU with 11 points, while Ajemba added four points and nine rebounds. As a team, Old Dominion shot 38.5 percent from the floor (10-26), while the Owls put up a 44.0 shooting percentage (11-25). The Lady Monarchs dominated the glass and held a 20-11 edge, including an 11-6 advantage on the offensive boards.
The Lady Monarchs made adjustments in the locker room and started the third period with a 12-5 run to take the lead back from the Owls (38-36) by the 5:37 mark. During the run, Simms put up six points, with four of those coming from the charity stripe (4-4). Both teams traded baskets and scored seven points in the closing four minutes, as the Owls held a one-point edge over ODU with the final 10 minutes left to play.
The Lady Monarchs forced Rice into two quick turnovers in the opening minute of the fourth, forcing the Owls to call a timeout ans shifting the momentum ODU's way. Simms tied the game after going 1-for-1 from the charity stripe at the 8:15 mark. Brown drilled a three less than two minutes later to give ODU the three-point lead (49-46) with 6:56 left to play. After the final media timeout, Ashley Jackson came up big for the Lady Monarchs, converting on an old fashioned three-point play. The play increased ODU’s lead to six points (54-48) with 3:43 on the clock. Five free-throws down the stretch from Smith and Simms and a layup from Ajemba secured the victory for ODU, one that avenged a 68-46 loss to the Owls on the road earlier in the season.
For the game, ODU shot 43.8 percent on 21-of-48 shooting from the floor, while holding the Owls to a 41.7 field-goal percentage (20-48). The Lady Monarchs control the boards and held a 35-22 advantage over Rice.
ODU allowed just one player to reach double-figures for Rice, as Jasmine Goodwine finished the game with 13 points to lead the Owls. She also chipped in six rebounds and two assists.
UP NEXT FOR ODU The Lady Monarchs are back in action at the 2016 Conference USA Championships in Birmingham, Ala., starting on Wednesday, March 9. ODU earned a first round bye and who or what time the Lady Monarchs will play in the second round will not be determined until after the conclusion of all the games tonight. Check odusports.com for more information about the tournament in the upcoming days.
SOCIAL MEDIA Be sure to follow ODU Women’s Basketball on Twitter (@ODUWBB) and Instagram (@oduwbasketball) and ‘Like’ the ODU Lady Monarch Basketball on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news and coverage.