A pair of double-doubles fell short as the Pirates were narrowly edged out 82-78 at Rust College on Wednesday.
Rust was hot in the first half, making over 50% of their shots from the field and 50% from three point range to send Southwestern into the locker room trailing 42-33. Owens was tough in the opening frame, logging 15 points in 12 minutes of play and Lashelle Williams added in seven off the bench.
The battle heated up in the second half the Pirates made quick work of erasing the deficit, pulling within one point, 44-43, after Annie Bourne's third layup in the opening three minutes. Kala Williams stopped the bleeding for Rust with a three on the next possession.
Southwestern hung tight until Williams got hot again and scored her 12th point in just over five minutes to put Rust back on top by ten, 61-51 with 11:18 to play.
The Pirates trailed by as many as 13 points with five minutes to play, but refused to go quietly into the night. McKamie Place's three with 1:11 remaining pulled the Pirates within four, 79-75. Southwestern forced a turnover and gave the rock to Jordan Owens who hit the layup with 36 seconds remaining. SU drew and offensive foul to the ball back and once again Owens delivered with a layup to bring Southwestern within one, 78-79.
A quick foul put Rust on the line and, after converting on one of the two free throws, Southwestern got the ball back down two with 20 seconds remaining.
Owens' layup with four seconds left rolled off the rim and McNeal made both free throws to seal the win for Rust.
Southwestern shot 46.4% from the floor and 38.9% from three point range and was led by Owens with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Bourne added a double-double as well with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Williams and Place both had 11 points for the Pirates.
SU falls to 2-7 on the year while Rust improves to 3-10. The Pirates head to Memphis, TN to face #24 Rhodes College on Thursday at 5 p.m.