By Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON, Texas – Rice University head women’s basketball coach Tina Langley has announced the Owls non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2015-16 season and is set to make her coaching debut with the Owls on Nov. 13 at No. 16 Kentucky.
The Wildcats will be one of three preseason Top-25 teams Rice will face during the non-conference season with a total of six schools (3 NCAA Tournament qualifiers, 2 WNIT participants, 1 WBI) playing in last year’s postseason.
The non-conference schedule features six contests away from Tudor Fieldhouse and five at home, which includes visits from No. 9 Texas (Nov. 21) and Houston (Dec. 5).
“We are excited to play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country in preparation for a very competitive conference slate,” Langley said. “We know that this schedule will help us grow as a team and prepare us to be competitive in league play.”
The season-opener in Lexington will be the first-ever meeting between the Owls and Wildcats. Last season Kentucky went 24-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Following another road tilt at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Nov. 18), the Owls return to Houston for their home opener against Texas on Nov. 21. The Longhorns, who lost to the eventual national champion UConn Huskies in the Sweet 16, will be paying their first-ever visit to Tudor Fieldhouse.
Rice faces McNeese St. (WBI participant last year) for a third straight season on Nov. 25 in Lake Charles, La. before returning home to host Harvard on Nov. 28. The matchup between the Owls and Crimson will be the third overall in the series and the first since 1987.
On Dec. 2 the Owls travel to Waco to face their third NCAA Tournament-qualifying team of the non-conference campaign in the No. 5 Baylor Bears. An Elite Eight participant last season, Baylor will be hosting the Owls for the second time in the last three seasons.
Rice will continue to face a string of in-state opponents with a Dec. 5 showdown against rival Houston. The Owls will be looking for revenge after their heartbreaking 59-58 buzzer-beating loss last season to the Cougars. The Owls then hit the road for a pair of Southland Conference games in the state of Texas, facing Sam Houston St. (Dec. 17) and Stephen F. Austin (Dec. 19).
Rice closes their non-conference slate with a pair of home games against Texas Southern (Dec. 21) and Loyola Chicago (Dec. 28).
2015 RICE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Friday, Nov. 13 at No. 12 Kentucky
Wednesday, Nov. 18 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Saturday, Nov. 21 No. 19 Texas
Wednesday, Nov. 25 at McNeese State
Saturday, Nov. 28 Harvard
Wednesday, Dec. 2 at No. 5 Baylor
Saturday, Dec. 5 Houston
Thursday, Dec. 17 at Sam Houston State
Saturday, Dec. 19 at Stephen F. Austin
Monday, Dec. 21 Texas Southern
Monday, Dec. 28 Loyola Chicago