Owls-Blazers Pits Two of C-USA's Best in Birmingham Thursday

Feb. 13, 2018

by Kenny Bybee (kab10@rice.edu)

Rice Owls (18-4, 8-2 C-USA) at UAB Blazers (20-3, 9-1 C-USA)
Game 23 • Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 • 6 p.m. (CT)
Birmingham, Ala. • Bartow Arena

Video:  CUSAtv
Live Stats:  Sidearm
Twitter Updates:  @RiceWBasketball
Series Record:  UAB leads, 7-5
Rice Game Notes

Battle of C-USA’s Best in Birmingham
The Rice Owls women’s basketball team hits the road for a pair of games this weekend, starting with a critical league showdown in Birmingham against the UAB Blazers. Rice enters play Thursday just a game back of the first place Blazers (20-3, 9-1). A win on Thursday would give the Owls the potential tie-breaker against the top two teams in C-USA (including WKU). Rice is 8-4 on the road this season while the Blazers are 10-1 at Bartow Arena. UAB leads the all-time series against Rice, 7-5.

Last Time Out
Behind a balanced scoring attack and a complete team-effort on the defensive end, the Owls earned a 73-58 home victory over then first place WKU last Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls picked up their first win in four meetings against WKU by limiting the top C-USA scoring offense to their second-lowest scoring output of the season (58 points) and their second-lowest field goal percentage (.333) of the year.

UAB Scouting Report
The Blazers have won six straight entering Thursday and are coming off a 69-62 victory at Marshall last Saturday. UAB, who is receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Blazers have the eighth-fewest turnovers in the nation. Rachael Childress is the team’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg) and has made the 17th-most three-pointers (81) in the country.

Chance of Rain in Bartow
Fans may need raincoats on Thursday, because there’s a 100 percent chance of three-pointers raining down. The Owls and Blazers are two of the top three-point shooting teams in C-USA. UAB ranks first in three-point percentage (.402), total made trifectas (97) and three-point makes per game (8.8) but Rice is second in three-pointers per contest (8.7) and third in three-point percentage (.373). The Owls however have the top three-point field goal defense in C-USA, allowing foes to shoot just 27.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Best Start in School History
The Owls are out to their best 22-game start (18-4) in program history since the 1981-82 team, which also went 18-4 through 22 games. The school record for most wins in a season is held by the 2004-05 Owls, who won 24 games and were the WAC champions.

Stellar Defense
The Owls currently have the number one scoring defense during C-USA play, allowing just 55.3 points per contest. Rice had held 14 of their last 15 opponents to below 70 points.

...Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again
With an 8-4 record away from Tudor Fieldhouse, the Owls have already registered the third-most road victories in a single-season in school history. Only Rice teams from 2003-04 (10 wins) and 2010-11 (9 wins) won more games.

Up Next
The Owls travel to Middle Tennessee to face the Blue Radiers on Saturday at 2 p.m. (CT) on ESPN3. 





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