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The 2012 Conference USA Championship for women's basketball tips off on Wednesday, March 7 in Memphis, Tenn. The Owls, under head coach Greg Williams, play Houston on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. inside the Elma Roane Fieldhouse on the University of Memphis campus.

Below, Coach Williams previews this year's championship.


For the first time in league history, Conference USA's Indoor Track and Field Championships will be televised. On Friday, March 2, Fox Sports Network will air the finals of the two-day event that saw 26 facility records, 23 championship marks and four NCAA automatic times set.

Tulsa men and East Carolina women won their first indoor crowns in what was the closest combined title race in league history. Only 11.5 points separated the men's and women's first- and second-place teams. The Golden Hurricane won the program's first title on the last race of the day, edging out five-time defending C-USA champion Houston by one point, 139-138. The Pirates took control of the championship midway through the day as ECU collected 123 points to edge defending champion UCF's 113.5.

The Rice men's squad placed seventh and was led by the podium in the heptathlon as Clayton Chaney won the event with Chris Sanders placing second and Sam McGuffie was third. The Rice women's squad finished fifth. Owl Senior Becky Wade won the mile event and placed second in the 3000m.

The following is air dates and times on Fox Sports Networks:

FOX SPORTS DETROIT
Friday - 03/02/2012
2:00 PM Eastern

FOX SPORTS FLORIDA (Non Florida Panthers)
Sunday - 03/04/2012
5:00 PM Eastern

FOX SPORTS FLORIDA
Monday - 03/05/2012
6:00 AM Eastern

FOX SPORTS HOUSTON (Texas)
Friday - 03/02/2012
1:00 PM Central

FOX SPORTS NORTH (PLUS)
Friday - 03/02/2012
1:00 PM Central

FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST (TX & OK)
Friday - 03/02/2012
1:00 PM Central

FOX SPORTS WEST
Friday - 03/02/2012
3:00 PM Pacific

FOX SPORTS WISCONSIN
Monday - 03/05/2012
2:00 AM Central

FOX SPORTS SOUTH
Monday - 03/05/2012
8:00 PM Eastern

SPORTSOUTH
Monday - 03/12/2012
11:00 PM Eastern

SUN SPORTS
Saturday - 03/03/2012
12:00 PM Eastern

SUN SPORTS
Tuesday - 03/13/2012
10:30 AM Eastern

COMCAST CHICAGO
Tuesday - 03/06/2012
12:30 AM Central

COMCAST MID-ATLANTIC
Sunday - 03/04/2012
8:00 PM Eastern

ROOT SPORTS (Pittsburgh Region)
Friday - 03/02/2012
2:00 PM Eastern

Rice freshman soccer player Gabi Iribarne is back on campus and up to speed with her classes this semester.

 

Iribarne, who holds dual citizenship for both the United States and Argentina, was out of the U.S. the first part of the spring semester while helping the Argentinean Under-20 National Soccer Team play at the South American Women's U-20 World Cup qualifying tournament. As you may have already seen on RiceOwls.com, her Argentinean team (or Las Albicelestes if you're an Argentine futbol fan) came up big with a second place finish to mighty Brazil in the qualifier's gold medal game on Feb. 5.

 

All of Argentina may have celebrated their soccer success of qualifying for the U-20 World Cup, but Iribarne had to quickly turnaround and return to classes at Rice. After some time to get caught up in her course work and catch her breath from a whirlwind start to the semester, Iribarne recently had enough time to have a Q & A with the R Blog.

 

Q: How did you get to be on the team for this qualifying tournament, then what was the timetable like for you last December-January when you had to report-in, train and play in the games?

Iribarne: I had been on the Argentinean Under-17 team before, so I had been in the national program. My coach told me he wanted me on the team for this South American Cup, which is the world cup qualifier for South American countries, so the day after semester finals I went down Buenos Aires for a week and a half to practice with the team. We practiced at the national camp field and he told me he wanted me to be a travel member of the team that would go to Brazil in January in the South American Cup.

I came back to Rice, just to start the new semester for a few days, and then left on January 11 for Argentina for more practice. The team then left on January 16 and stayed in Brazil until February 6th. We had seven games where we finished in second place.

 

Q: How did you work it out that you would be able to miss the first part of the Rice semester?

Iribarne: I was here three days in January to get school started. I talked to my professors. I talked to them and they were supportive and really very helpful. I still had to do the work of course when I was in South America, and I had to do it on my own because no on the team could speak English well enough who would be able to help me. It's hard to learn and do everything on your own. The professors really helped me, but I still had to do the work or it would have been terrible when I got back to Rice.

 

Q: Just how long a flight is that down to Argentina?

Iribarne: Houston to Buenos Aires was like 10 hours. One time though I went through Atlanta and missed my connection. I got on another flight that went to Santiago Chile, then made it to Argentina and that took like 17 hours.

 

Q: How long have you held dual-citizenship for the U.S. and Argentina?

Iribarne: I've only had dual citizenship pretty recently, like a year. I wasn't able to play in the U-17 Tournament because I didn't have my dual-citizenship at the time. The paperwork was being processed.

 

Q: How well do you speak Spanish?

Spanish is my first language actually. I speak it at home with my parents.

 

Q: What position did you play for Argentina?

Iribarne: Center-mid or outside-mid, depending on the game.

 

Q: How did the team do early in the tournament's pool play format?

Iribarne: We lost our opening game to Columbia, a very tough team in our bracket. We thought it would be us or them to win the bracket, but after we lost to them in the first game we had to win the rest of our games to move past pool play. There was no margin for error.

            We started winning and played Chile in our last pool game and basically if they tied or beat us, they would advance. We had to win to go on. We got a penalty kick in the last minute of the game, which was essentially the last play of the game. It was a legitimate call, and we were just going to see if she would call it in the box or out of the box. We got the PK and ended up winning 3-2.

That was exciting. If we lost we'd be going home, but the top two teams from pool play got to stay another week - medal play.

 

Q: In medal play there was now just four teams left in the tournament and there was a big game against Paraguay. Describe what happened in that game.

Iribarne: In the second round we had to play Paraguay. We were losing 2-1 and I scored in the second half to tie the game. The whole tournament was held in Brazil, and that night Brazil was playing after us. It was really fun because in the second half that night that's when the stadium started to fill-up. We had some fans, but of course the tournament was in Brazil and everyone wanted to see Brazil. It was exciting. They didn't care which team won the first game, but the love soccer and started cheering when they saw a goal, which was my goal. It was pretty cool.

 

Q: Your goal forced a tie with Paraguay. Then what happened in the next game?

Iribarne: We ended up getting rematched with Columbia, the team that beat us way back in the first game of the tournament. That loss helped us get focused and this time we won to move on. We were going to play Brazil in Brazil for the gold medal.

 

Q: Brazil is a country that loves soccer. How was the soccer facility where the medal-round games were held?

Iribarne: It was in a pretty big stadium of one of the top club teams. It was a really nice stadium and there were a good amount of people there

 

Q: We hear stories about fans at international soccer games. How were the Brazilian fans?

Iribarne: It was a pretty big crowd, and basically everyone was cheering for Brazil. It was still fun playing in front of a crowd, even if it's not your crowd. They appreciate the game. They were loud, but it was in Portuguese so we couldn't really tell what they were saying.

 

Q: Brazil coasted through the entire tournament winning games by scores of 8-0, 7-0 and 6-0. How did you and Las Albicelestes do in the Gold Medal game?

Iribarne: We lost 2-0, but played pretty well. One of their goals was a penalty kick. We held our own. I think if we played them we'd do even better. We'd know what to expect and we didn't play a lot of other games before the tournament itself.

 

Q: Explain the added reasons why it was important to play well in the Gold Medal game?

Iribarne: We were playing for the South American Championship, which we wanted to win, but the top two teams from the South American tournament get to play U-20 World Cup later this summer in Japan.

The South American tournament winner would qualify for Japan but it was not automatic, however, that the second place team would get to go. The other South American team (to play in the World Cup) would be determined by goal-differential. Because Brazil was beating teams by really high scores, there was still a chance we wouldn't get to go to Japan if we got beat the same way. We had to play pretty well to avoid that, which we did.

We didn't win the South American championship, but we played well and qualified for the World Cup. Now, by playing well, it gave us a good idea of what to expect in Japan and that's encouraging.

 

Q: There's a photo of you with an Argentinean flag after one of the games and it appears to say "Rice" on the flag? What's the story on this 'Rice-Argentina' flag?

Iribarne: One of my teammates had the flag. It actually says something else, but it looks like it says "Rice." I truthfully don't know what it says because the lettering is kind of weird, but I see what people are saying that in the photo it looks like it says "Rice." I didn't try and get it to say Rice, but now I kind of want it to say Rice. It was meant to be.

If I go to Japan, I'll make sure I bring one that does say "Rice."

 

Q: Were your teammates familiar with Rice and is there a chance they could come see you play with your Owl team later this fall?

Iribarne: They knew I was in college and that it's important to me, but I'm not sure if they knew much about Rice University or not. I invited all the girls on my team to come up here to Houston. I'm the only one on the team who speaks English, so that could be a little bit of a language barrier. I would love them to see a Rice soccer game or at least visit?

 

Q: Was it tough to get back in the swing of classes at Rice and how has the adjustment been to be back in the United States?

Iribarne: I was pretty difficult getting back into the school routine initially. I'm caught-up and the professors have really been helpful. One of the biggest changes has been the weather. The seasons are reversed in South America, and where we were in Brazil was really tropical. It's been good to come back to Rice and Houston. I got to come back, wear sweaters for a little while and speak English.

Women's Hoops Senior Tribute Video

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The final regular season game for the Rice Owls women's basketball team is Thursday, (March 1) when it hosts Memphis. Tip-off is set for 7p.m. (CT) and the Owls will honor their four seniors, Candace Ashford, Brianna Hypolite, Amenemope McKinney, and D'Frantz Smart in a pre-game ceremony inside Tudor Fieldhouse.

The Conference USA Championship will be held in Memphis from March 7-10.

Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Central


Rice Women's Basketball 2012 Senior Night Video Tribute:

Scholar-Athlete Awards Ceremony - PHOTO GALLERY

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Photo Gallery

Houston - Rice Athletics and the R Association honored 18 student-athletes who were named the top academic performers in their respective sports at the 26th annual Rice Scholar-Athlete reception Wednesday evening in the R Room.

The Rice Scholar-Athlete Award is presented to a junior, senior, or fifth-year senior who has accumulated the highest cumulative grade point average on their respective team.

R Association Scholar-Athlete Award Winners
Men's Basketball: Connor Frizzelle, Kinesiology (McMurtry College)
Women's Basketball: Jessica Goswitz, Kinesiology, Sports Medicine (Duncan College)
Baseball: Daniel Gonzales-Luna, Civil Engineering (Hanszen College)
Jeremy Rathjen, Economics (Brown College)
Men's Cross Country: Matthew Carey, Economics (McMurtry College)
Women's Cross Country: Rebecca Wade, History, Psychology, Sociology (Martel College)
Football: Travis Bradshaw, Chemical Engineering (Wiess College)
Matthew Nordstrom, Civil Engineering (Brown College)
Golf: Erik Mayer, Mathematical Economic Analysis (Wiess College)
Soccer: Lauren LaGro, Kinesiology, Sports Medicine (Duncan College)
Swimming: Louise Gliga, Chemistry (Will Rice College)
Danielle Spence, Mathematical Economic Analysis (Will Rice College)
Men's Tennis: Andy Wang, Political Science, History (McMurtry College)
Women's Tennis: Ana Guzman, Psychology (Wiess College)
Men's Track & Field: Daniel Sloat, Civil Engineering (Sid Richardson College)
Women's Track and Field: Allison Pye, Kinesiology, Policy Studies (Martel College)
Sophie Peeters, Track & Field, Hanszen College, Kinesiology, Psychology
Volleyball: Jordan Meredith, Sport Management (Will Rice College)

Coach Bevan Talks Women's T&F C-USA Indoor Championship

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C-USA Indoor Track & Field Championship Live Results

The Rice Owls men's track and field squad competes this weekend at the 2012 Conference USA Indoor Championship in Birmingham, Ala., inside the Birmingham CrossPlex. UAB hosts the championship for the first time.

The two-day event is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26. Prior to this season, Houston had been the only school to host the Championships at an on-campus site.

The indoor championship will be televised by Fox Sports Network on a tape delayed.


Head coach Jim Bevan Previews the 2012 C-USA Indoor Track & Field Championship


C-USA Indoor Track & Field Championship Live Results

The Rice Owls men's track and field squad competes this weekend at the 2012 Conference USA Indoor Championship in Birmingham, Ala., inside the Birmingham CrossPlex. UAB hosts the championship for the first time.

The two-day event is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26. Prior to this season, Houston had been the only school to host the Championships at an on-campus site.

The indoor championship will be televised by Fox Sports Network on a tape delayed.


Head coach Jon Warren Previews the 2012 C-USA Indoor Track & Field Championship

Rice vs. Houston Post-game Highlights

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Jessica Kuster registered her 12th double-double of the season to propel the Rice Owls women's basketball team to a convincing 68-40 Conference USA victory over Houston Thursday night inside Tudor Fieldhouse.

Kuster, in only 29 minutes of action, poured in 22 points and collected 16 rebounds, both of which were game-highs.

The Owls sweep the season series vs. UH and now sport a 14-13 overall record and an 8-6 mark in C-USA. Houston falls to 2-24 and 1-13 in league action. It is the first series sweep of Houston by Rice since the Owls captured both games during the 1986-87 campaign.

Post-game Highlights:

Williams Previews UH & UTEP

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The Rice women's basketball team hosts the Houston Cougars on Thursday (Feb. 23). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls will then play at UTEP on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. (CT) in El Paso, Texas.
Owl head coach Greg Williams previews the upcoming action:

Opening Day--Shooting for 7:05 first pitch

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openingdayrain.JPGLooks like we will have to wait a little longer to start the 2012 season....

UPDATE

The tarp is off the field, we are getting ready for a 7:05 first pitch

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