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No. 21 Middle Tennessee beats Rice 65-54

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP)

Ebony Rowe scored 12 points and added 12 rebounds as No. 21 Middle Tennessee defeated Rice 65-54 on Saturday afternoon.

Rowe recorded her 19th double-double of the season and 72nd of her career. Laken Leonard came off the bench to add 13 points. The Blue Raiders were coming off their first conference loss, 68-56 against Southern Miss on Wednesday.

Middle Tennessee (19-4, 8-1 Conference USA) led by 10 at the break and held the Owls to their lowest-scoring first half of the season. The Blue Raiders shot 46 percent from the floor in the first half, compared to Rice's 23 percent.

Middle Tennessee led by 21 points midway through the second half, but the Owls responded with an 18-6 run to cut the lead to single digits with 3:58 remaining.

Jessica Kuster scored 15 points to lead Rice (10-12, 3-6), Maya Hawkins finished with 13 and Megan Palmer added 11.

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