Women's Basketball Goes To Memphis In C-USA Play

Germantown, Tenn. native Christal Porter returns to the Memphis-area

Jan. 30, 2013

Rice Owls (9-10, 1-5 C-USA) at Memphis Tigers (12-8, 3-3 C-USA)

Game 20 • Thursday, January 31, 2013 • 7 p.m.

Memphis, Tenn. • Elma Roane Fieldhouse (2,565)
Audio: RiceOwls.com • TV: None

Series Record: Memphis leads 6-4

Tickets | Watch | Listen | Gametracker | Twitter | Game Notes

The Last Meeting
March 1, 2012
Tudor Fieldhouse
Memphis Comes Back to Beat Rice 65-60
Jasmine Lee scored a game-high 25 points as Memphis came from behind to defeat Rice 65-60 in the final regular season game for both teams Thursday night in Tudor Fieldhouse.

Rice Looks To Rebound At Memphis

Rice returns to Tennessee to take on Memphis in Conference USA play. Rice fell in its last meeting to Southern Miss, after holding a halftime lead against the Lady Eagles. The Owls have held a lead or have been tied in the second half in four of their last five C-USA games, but have only been able to come away with one victory in that timespan.

Briefly On The Owls

Jessica Kuster leads C-USA in double doubles this season

Christal Porter is from the Memphis area, hailing from Germantown, Tenn. Jessica Goswitz (Knoxville) is the other Tennessee native on the Owls



Breion Allen has set career-highs in scoring in each of the last two games

• Rice ranked 128th in the RPI in the most recent report, which ranks ahead of schools such as Indiana, New Mexico and TCU

• The Owls have recieved assists on 77.8% of their made field goals since Jan. 17

• Rice has had a second half lead or tie in four of their last five C-USA games

• Rice has held nine opponents to less than 60 points this season.

Rice vs. Memphis

Memphis has won the last two meetings in the series, but Rice won their last matchup against Memphis in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, in 2011. Rice won one of two games in Elma Roane Fieldhouse during the 2012 C-USA Tournament, beating Houston but falling to UAB.

Homecomings Now Or Later

With this game, nine of Rice's 12 players have played in their hometown or home-area this season. Rice has three players (Shafer, Palmer, Rogers) from the Houston-area, and play most of their games in their hometown. Three players are from the DFW Metroplex and played in Dallas against SMU (Maduka, Moussa, Lang). Jessica Goswitz and Christal Porter played games in their hometown at Tennessee and at Memphis. The other three players, Jessica Kuster (San Antonio), Elena Gumbs (Cibolo), Breion Allen (Birmingham), have the potential to play in their hometown next season, with UTSA and UAB on the C-USA schedule for Rice in 2013-14.

Tale Of Two Halves

In two consecutive games from Jan. 24-27, Rice played very well in one half. In the second half against UTEP, Rice outscored the Miners 29-20, shooting 44.4% and getting 16 points from Jessica Kuster. In the first half at Southern Miss, Rice shot 47.1%, with 13 points from Kuster, in taking a 41-23 lead over Southern Miss.

Assists, Assists, Assists

The Owls have 65 assists on 74 made field goals in their last three games (77.8 percent). Against SMU, the Owls had assists on their first 10 made baskets, and against UTEP, the Owls first 12 field goals were assisted.

The Miner Things

Rice nearly came all the way back from down 14 points against UTEP on Jan. 24, but fell 49-48 to the defending conference champs. The Owls took a three point lead late in the second half, but UTEP put together two scores, the last of which came on a mad scramble off of a tipped UTEP pass, with 10.0 remaining in the game. Rice had a clean look to win as time expired, but the shot hit the rim and fell out.

Rice's Seven Game Home Win Streak Was 8th In School History

Rice won seven consecutive home games from Dec. 1 to Jan. 13, which was the 8th-longest home winning streak in Rice school history when it was snapped on Jan. 17. The school record was 17 consecutive wins, from 1996-99.

Rice Finishes Strong Against Texas A&M

Rice fell down early to Texas A&M, but outscored the No. 24 team in the nation 44-43 over the last 26:54 of the game. Rice had a 10-2 run between halves to help them in the overall 44-43 run. Jessica Kuster had 13 points in the last 26:54, and the Owls matched the Aggies over the course of the game with 37 total rebounds.

Owls Tie Best Mark Entering Conference Play

Rice tied the school record for wins entering conference play. The Owls have won eight games before conference play five times in their history.

Year Rec. Finish Remaining Non-Conference Play

1988-89 8-1 14-13 1-0 vs. UMKC in Mar.

1993-94 8-4 13-14 0-1 SWC Tourn.

2012-13 8-5 -- C-USA Tourn.
1999-00 8-5 22-10 3-0 WAC Tourn., 1-1 NCAA

2010-11 8-6 18-14 0-1 C-USA Tourn., 0-1 WNIT

Rice posted a 10-2 non-conference record in 1992-93, but was 7-2 at the time of its conference opener

A December To Remember

Rice went 6-0 in the month of December, giving the Owls their first perfect December in program history. The Owls' last perfect month was February 2005, when the Owls went 7-0.

Owls' Six-Game Win Streak Ranked As Division I's 12th-Best

Rice has won six consecutive games from Dec. 1 to Dec. 30, which was the 12th-longest active Division I winning streak when it was snapped on Jan. 1 at Texas A&M. It was Rice's longest winning streak since a nine game win streak in 2005-06.

Kuster Named College Sports Madness C-USA Player of the Week (Dec. 31)

Jessica Kuster averaged 19.5 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while posting her 34th and 35th career double-doubles in two Rice victories to be named C-USA Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Dec. 31. She scored 18 points against UTPA, shooting 50% from the floor in the Rice blowout win. She helped Rice come back from 13 down to beat Lamar, scoring 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, the second-most in the league this season, next to her 19 rebounds at Texas State. She played the entire duration of the game against Lamar. She rebounded 32% of all misses off of the opposing glass in those two games.

Championship Pedigree

Rice played three of the last four schools to win a national championship in 2012-13, having lost to 2007 and 2008 champion Tennessee on Nov. 15, 2012 champion Baylor on Nov. 27 and 2011 champion Texas A&M on Jan. 1. Rice does not play UConn, who won the 2009 and 2010 titles.

Comeback Owls

Rice has had three come-from-behind (6+ points down) wins this season, coming back from down 31-20 to defeat McNeese State on Dec. 1, erasing a 31-22 deficit against UTSA on Dec. 20, and battling back from a 48-35 disadvantage to beat Lamar on Dec. 30. The Owls' 13-point comeback on Dec. 30 was the largest Rice comeback since Jan. 11, 2007, when Rice came back from down 54-40 against Marshall.

Palmer Named C-USA Freshman Of The Week (Dec. 17)

Megan Palmer was named C-USA Freshman of the Week for averaging 17 points and nine rebounds in two Owl victories. She had her second straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Chicago State, in just 27 minutes of play, then posted a 20 point, seven rebound, three assist and four block performance against Stephen F. Austin, picking up the first four blocks of her career.

Autry Army

Rice is 34-17 since 2009-10 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls were 13-3 at home in the calendar year of 2012 and 8-3 in the 2012-13 season.

Palmer Making An Impact

Megan Palmer scored 24 points against McNeese State, the most points scored by a Rice freshman since Dec. 30, 2010 when Jessica Kuster scored 26 at Texas State. She is averaging 10.9 points per game, which would be the most for a Rice freshman since Kuster in 2010-11 and the second-most in the Greg Williams era (since 2005-06).

Rice Against Top Mid-Majors

Rice has faced two ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll. UALR, who defeated Rice on Nov. 24, is currently ranked 20th in the poll, and McNeese State, who Rice beat on Dec. 1 was ranked 17th at the time.

Can't Stop Griner...But Everyone Else?

Rice fell to No. 3 Baylor on Nov. 27, in large part due to national player of the year Brittney Griner. The Bears outscored Rice 59-22 when Griner was on the court, but the Bears only were a possesion better than Rice at 30-27, during the nearly 18 minutes Griner was on the bench.

Griner's Return To Houston

Baylor senior Brittney Griner, a native of Houston, returned home on Nov. 27 with her Bear teammates to take on the Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse, an 89-49 victory for No. 3 Baylor. The teams played in front of a Tudor Fieldhouse record 2,318 fans.

Playing Into March

Since entering C-USA in 2005-06, Rice, along with Tulane, have the most postseason appearances of all C-USA schools, having reached the postseason in four seasons (2006, 2006, 2011, 2012 for Rice). Memphis and SMU have reached the postseason three times since 2005-06, and 11 of the 12 C-USA schools have reached the postseason at least once.

Baylor Game Sets Attendance Record

The Tudor Fieldhouse attendance record for women's basketball was set on Nov. 27, when No. 3 Baylor visited the Owls and 2,318 fans attended. It was the largest Rice home crowd for women's basketball since Feb. 22, 1998, when a school-record 3,704 fans came to Autry Court to see Rice upset No. 16 Hawai'i 76-71.

Eyes On The Owls

On Nov. 15, 10,981 fans saw the Rice Owls take on Tennessee in Thompson-Boling Arena, the largest crowd to watch a Rice women's basketball game since Nov. 22, 2004, when 11,876 fans saw Rice take on Texas Tech.

O wls Start Strong Against Lady Vols

Despite falling in the contest 101-48, Rice scared No. 24 Tennessee, leading the Lady Vols until the 9:05 mark of the first half. Rice and Tennessee traded baskets for the first three possessions, before the Owls took the lead at 8-6 with 17:25 remaining in the first half. The Owls led by as much as 6, at 22-16. Jessica Kuster at several points had as many points as the entire Lady Vol team, starting the game 5-for-5 with 12 points. The Lady Vols took the lead at 23-22 with a Cierra Burdick jumper and did not trail afterwards.

Kuster Reaches 1,000 Points

Jessica Kuster became the 18th Rice player to reach 1,000 points in a career with 16 points against Tennessee on Nov. 15. She is the eighth Rice player to have reached the 1,000 point plateau in her junior season. Morgan Mayse was the last Rice player to reach 1,000 points, accomplishing the feat in 2010-11. At two games into her 3rd season, she is the quickest Rice player to reach 1,000 points.

Tournament Tested

Rice plays seven teams from last season's NCAA Tournament field a total of eight times, and has a total of 11 games against postseason participants from a year ago. Prairie View A&M, Tennessee, UALR, Baylor, McNeese St., Texas A&M, and UTEP reached the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12

Rice Ninth-Youngest Team In Division I

Rice is tied for the ninth-youngest team in Division 1 in terms of years of senior college experience. The Owls have 13 years of experience among the 12 players on the roster, the youngest average experience in C-USA.

Youngest Teams In Division I (By Years of Collegiate Experience)

Rank School Avg. Exp. Players

1. San Jose State .444 4 9

2. Temple .727 8 11

Southern Illinois .727 8 11

4. Clemson .833 10 12

Florida .909 10 11

6. Dayton 1.000 12 12

Southern Miss 1.091 12 11

Tennessee 1.091 12 11

9. Rhode Island 1.000 13 13

Cal State Fullerton 1.000 13 13

Rice 1.083 13 12

Rice At Tennessee In Historic Game

On Nov. 15, Rice opened a new era in women's basketball, as the Owls faced Tennessee in the Lady Vols' first home game since 1973 with someone other than Pat Summitt coaching the team. Holly Warlick, a long-time Summit assistant and player, takes over the helm for the Lady Vols. Summit, one of the legends of collegiate athletics, won six national titles before stepping down after 2011-12 due to her battle with Alzheimer's.

Senior Reward

For the second consecutive year, Rice took a senior to her hometown to play a non-conference game. Jessica Goswitz of Knoxville's Webb School played in front of 60 friends and family members at Tennessee on Nov. 15. D'Frantz Smart, currently a student assistant for the Owls, played in front of her family at Chicago State last season, a 77-50 win for the Owls. The product of Chicago's Whitney Young High School had five assists and eight steals in that game. All of Rice's other seniors since 2010-11 have been from Texas.

Kuster Named Preseason Player of the Year

Rice junior Jessica Kuster was named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, as voted upon by the league's coaches. The selection is Kuster's second straight appearance on the Preseason All-C-USA Team. Kuster is the first Rice player to be named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year since Lauren Neaves prior to the 2005-06 season. In the same poll, the Owls were picked to finish fourth in the league by the league's coaches.

Rice On The TV

Rice plays two games on television this year. The Feb. 10 game against Houston is televised on Fox Sports Net, and the Feb. 28 game at UTEP is on CBS Sports Network.

The First Time Since

Accomplishments Rice has achieved in 2012-13 for the first time since: (2012-13 accomplishment)

2010-11: Won eight games prior to conference play (8-6)

2009-10: Had a 6+ game home winning streak (Seven, Dec. 1-Jan. 13)

2007-08: Came back from 11+ points down to win a game (McNeese St., Dec. 1)

2005-06: Had five or more consecutive wins (Six, Dec. 1-30), Came back from 13+ points down to win a game (Lamar, Dec. 30)

2004-05: Had a perfect month (December, 6-0), Had 10,981+ attend a Rice game (at Tennessee, Nov. 15)

1997-98: Had 2,318+ attend a Rice home game (Baylor, Nov. 27)

First: Perfect December (6-0)



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