Jan. 26, 2012
Houston - Rice head women's basketball Greg Williams captured his 300th career victory as his Owls defeated East Carolina by a 66-44 count Thursday night inside Tudor Fieldhouse. The win also marks Williams' 99th while coaching at his alma mater.
Williams was humble when asked about the milestone.
"It is nice, but I've been blessed with a lot of great players at Houston, Colorado State, and at Rice and all of the credit in the world goes to the players," stated Williams. "All this means is that I have had a lot of great players and have stayed in the business awhile. I'm happy for our players and to be able to get our fourth Conference USA win at home and to get back to .500 on the season and one game over .500 in conference, is what this win means the most."
The Owls (10-10, 4-3) jumped out to an early 16-5 lead as Jessica Kuster led the Rice attack with five points. ECU's defense stiffened and held Rice in check as the Pirates went on a 7-0 run (16-12; 8:18). Rice then countered by outscoring ECU 17 to 4 in the last eight minutes to finish with a 33-16 lead. In those final eight minutes, Kuster led the way with 10 points. Rice shot 52 percent (13-25) in the first 20 minutes and held the Pirates to only 24.5 percent (6-29).
Rice kept it rolling to the start the second-half by outscoring ECU 14-2 to forge a commanding 47-18 margin. The Owls posted their biggest lead of the game at 5:35 as a Kuster made free throw put the Owls up by 34 (62-28).
East Carolina (6-13, 0-6) made just three field goals and eight free throws to account for its 14 points in the first 15 minutes of the second-half. The Pirates would finish with seven field goals in the second-half to the Owls' 13.
"We were able to control the game for the most part and we've played two teams (Southern Miss and East Carolina) that hadn't won a conference game in our last two games and we haven't overlooked them - we've come out and taken care of business," said Williams.
Kuster registered 21 points to pace the Owls in scoring and has now scored 20+ points in eight contests this season. She also snared seven rebounds.
Owl guard D'Frantz Smart posted 10 points, while fellow senior Brianna Hypolite added eight points. Freshman Christal Porter led Rice on the boards with eight rebounds. Rice shot 40.6 percent (26-64) from the field for the game and had 11 steals.
ECU's Chareya Smith led the team with 10 points, while Janesha Ebron scored nine points with a game-high nine rebounds.
Williams now goes for his 100th career victory at Rice, when the Owls play at Houston (2-16, 1-5) on Saturday. Game time is 4 p.m. inside Hofheinz Pavilion.