March 12, 2012
The Rice women's basketball team's season continues as it has accepted an invitation to play in the third annual Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI).
The Sam Houston State Bearkats (17-11) will host the Owls (16-15) on Wednesday, March 14. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. in Huntsville, Texas, inside Johnson Coliseum. This marks the second straight year in which the Owls have played in a post-season tournament.
"We're excited to participate in the WBI as it gives our players an opportunity to continue their season and it's a credit to their hard work and the season that we had that post-season opportunity is available to them," commented Owl head coach Greg Williams. "It's always exciting to get another chance to compete and wear the Rice uniform and we appreciate the WBI extending the invitation to us."
The Owls and the Bearkats are not strangers to one another as they competed in a closed-scrimmage prior to the season.
"It has been five months since we've seen each other and I have followed their season and watched their scores and know that they have had a really solid year," states Williams. "We just need to do the best that we can do in a limited amount of time to try to get some video of their games and analyze their team and get ready to play on a quick turnaround Wednesday night."
Sam Houston State finished first in the Southland Conference's Western Division with a 12-4 mark. SHSU has now won back-to-back Southland Conference West Division titles. The game represents the first NCAA Division I post-season competition for the Bearkat women's basketball team in the 47-year history of the program.
The Owls have now played in four post-season tournaments under head coach Greg Williams. Rice previously competed in the WNIT in 2006, 2007, and 2011.
The WBI, operated by Sports Tours International, is a 16-team event that takes place over two weeks with all games played on campus sites. This year it begins March 14 and ends with the title game on March 24 or 25. Conference USA rival UAB Blazers won last year's WBI event, while Appalachian State captured the 2010 title.
Tickets priced at $10 each are on sale online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the Sam Houston State athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium.
The Rice-Sam Houston State winner will play the winner of the Northern Iowa vs. Stephen F. Austin State contest in the second round.
The complete first round schedule for the WBI is as follows:
Wednesday, March 14
Rice at Sam Houston State, 6:30 p.m.
Tennessee Tech at Bradley, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 15
North Dakota at Seattle, 7 p.m.
Wright State at SIU-Edwardsville, 7 p.m.
Northern Iowa at Stephen F. Austin, 7 p.m.
Manhattan at Robert Morris, 7 p.m.
New Hampshire at Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 16
Charleston Southern at Minnesota, 7 p.m.