FRISCO, Texas – Alex Johnson put forth her most dominating game of the season, and one of the best of her career, but it wasn’t enough as No. 4 seeded Middle Tennessee fell to No. 5 seed Rice, 61-53, in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Championship at Ford Center at The Star Thursday.
Johnson poured in a season-high 32 points and ripped down a career-high 14 rebounds for her fourth career double-double. The 32 points were just five shy of the junior forward’s career high. Johnson was 11-of-17 from the field, and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
“Alex was dominant out there today,” Lady Raider Head Coach Rick Insell said. “What you saw today is why she was named Preseason Player of the Year in our conference. Alex has really just got back to herself in the last two weeks. She gave us every opportunity today.”
Rice (22-8) received 22 points from C-USA Newcomer of the Year Erica Ogwumike, and also got double-figure production from Gabby Ozoude (12 points) and Nicole Iademarco (10 points, 7 rebounds).
The Lady Raiders were not able to get into an offensive rhythm. While Johnson was 11-of-17 from the field, the remainder of the team shot just 17 percent (5-of-29), and Middle Tennessee’s long-range shots couldn’t find the mark as the Lady Raiders were 3-of-22 from 3-point range with forwards Johnson and Gabby Lyon contributing two of the three treys.
“We just couldn’t get it going offensively,” Insell said. “Defensively, we played well enough to win. We just couldn’t hit shots, but you have to give Rice some credit for that. They were very good defensively and they are well coached. My hat is off to their team.”
The Lady Raiders (18-12) will now await word on whether their season will be extended into the postseason with a WNIT berth.