WKU Men’s and Women’s Basketball face Rice University


Tucker Covey

WKU sophomore guard Mya Meredith (5) attempts a two-pointer during the matchup with Little Rock in E.A. Diddle Arena on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. WKU won 48-25.

Jake McMahon

Editor’s Note: This story may change as more information becomes available.

From home to Houston, WKU Men’s and Women’s Basketball rivaled Rice University Thursday. 

WKU Mens Basketball (8-4) lost their third game in a row to the Rice University Owls (10-3) 81-78 at E.A. Diddle Arena. 

Before the game it was announced that Assistant Coach Phil Cunningham would fill in for regular head coach Rick Stansbury, who was dealing with a health matter.

“It was a tale of two halves,” said Cunningham. “Give them [Rice] credit, they made shots and they were tremendous in the second half.” 

Fifth year senior Jairus Hamilton played well in the loss. Hamilton led the Hilltoppers in scoring with 18 points. The Forward also made an impact on the glass, gathering seven rebounds in the game.

Senior center Jamarion Sharp played a good game against the owls. Sharp scored 10 points and gathered eight boards. Sharp made his presence felt on the defensive end with four blocks and two steals. He also played a staggering 37 minutes in the match-up. 

As a team, the Hilltoppers shot 44% from the field and 7-20 from three in the game. WKU was able to dominate the interior offensively against the Owls as they scored 34 points in the paint. 

WKU came out of the gate running. The Hilltoppers went on a 12-1 run to start the game. The Owls were able to start producing on offense but the Hilltoppers never took their foot off the gas. WKU was able to ride their early double digit lead into halftime, making the score 36-26.

The Owls answered their first half deficit quickly. Rice went on a 23-8 run within the first six minutes to take the lead 49-46. Both teams continued to stay close throughout the rest of the game. A 9-0 Rice run looked to be the dagger as the Owls took a late 73-66 lead. 

However, the Hilltoppers answered right back. A three from Jairus Hamilton capped off a 12-4 WKU stretch and gave WKU a 78-77 lead with a minute left. In spite of the Hilltopper comeback effort, Rice shut down the WKU offense in the final 60 seconds. The Owls went on a 4-0 run to take down the Hilltoppers 81-78. 

The Hilltoppers will look to end their three game skid Saturday, December 31 against rival Middle Tennessee State at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 

WKU Women’s Basketball (4-6) took down the Rice Owls (9-2) in a great comeback effort at Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas. 

Sophomore forward Jaylin Foster had a strong game against the Owls. She tallied 15 points and three assists. Foster also shot an impressive 75% from the field and also went 3-4 from beyond the arc. 

Sophomore Guard Mya Meredith also played well against Rice. Meredith had 15 points and six rebounds to aid the Hilltoppers in the victory.

As a team, the Hilltoppers shot 46.7% from the field. Additionally, WKU shot an impressive 44% from the perimeter. 

Both teams played closely for a while in the first quarter. Neither team could find separation as Rice had a one-point lead, 10-9, with four minutes left to go. The owls were able to find some space late in the first ten minutes. Rice went on a 16-8 run to end the first quarter up 10 points, 26-16. 

The Hilltoppers were able to respond to the early adversity in the second quarter. Throughout the second period, WKU outscored Rice 26-17. The run cut the 10 point Rice lead down to one, 43-42, to end the first half. 

Rice came out of the locker room fast to start the second half. The Owls went on a five minute, 13-2 run to take a 56-44 lead. The Hilltoppers were able to find their offensive stride in the quarter but Rice never slowed down. WKU went into the fourth quarter down nine, 60-51. 

Similar to the second quarter, the Hilltoppers were able to respond to the adversity. WKU went on a 15-2 run that put the Hilltoppers up two, 66-64. However, the Owls were able to answer WKU as Rice went up 72-71 with only 1:30 left to play. The deficit did not bother the Hilltoppers. WKU was able to finish the game on a 8-2 run to beat the Owls 79-74.

The Hilltoppers will look to build off the win in their next game on Saturday, Dec. 31 against rival Middle Tennessee State at E.A. Diddle Arena.