Kuster Leads Owls To Season-Opening Win
Senior scores 33 points, grabs 15 boards in 77-63 victory over Panthers
Nov. 8, 2013
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas - Jessica Kuster recorded her 43rd career double-double and was one of three Owls to score in double-figures in the Rice Owls 77-63 season-opening victory Friday evening against the Prairie View A&M Panthers at the William Nicks Building.
"It's always good to win your first game of the season, especially on the road where we struggled last year," Rice head coach Greg Williams said. "We did a lot of good things for the first game. Jessica had a tremendous start to her senior year. I really liked her aggressiveness and the way she hunted shots. Anytime she can get to the line 10 times is a good sign for us. It was just a tremendous game and individual performance. I thought Palmer and Porter played well finishing around the basket too."
Rice (1-0) led from start to finish and shot an efficient 45 percent from the field while out-rebounding the Panthers, 46-40. Kuster finished with 33 points (two off her career-high) and 15 rebounds, while making 11-of-17 shots from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 at the free throw line. The senior from San Antonio, Texas also set a milestone by tying Goya Qualls (1979-82) for second place in Rice history in career rebounds (991).
Kuster also got help from sophomore Megan Palmer and junior Christal Porter, each of whom scored in double-digits. Palmer scored 13 points while Porter chipped in 11 to help the Owls move to 28-8 all-time in season openers.
The 77 points by the Owls surpassed their 2012-13 season-high of 76 points and was tied for the most points by an Owls teams since they scored 77 points in a 77-50 win at Chicago State on Nov. 18, 2011.
Jeanette Jackson led Prairie View A&M (0-1) with a career-high 32 points, shooting 8-of-19 from the floor and 13-of-16 from the charity stripe.
The Owls got off to a sizzling start offensively in the first half, shooting 49 percent from the field (16-of-33) and converted 10-of-13 from the charity stripe. The trio of Kuster, Palmer and Porter combined to score 40 of the Owls 42 first half points on 15-of-23 shooting to take a 42-25 lead into halftime.
Kuster nearly accomplished her double-double in the first 20 minutes, leading all scorers with 19 points and nine rebounds. Palmer added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, followed by eight points from Porter on 4-of-6 shooting.
Rice will return to the court Monday evening when they host Texas Southern (1-0) at 7 p.m.