Sept. 9, 2011
Rice University head women's basketball coach Greg Williams has announced the upcoming 2011-12 basketball schedule. The non-conference schedule features seven road games and six home games, in addition to the 16 Conference USA games.
The Owls open the season with two contests on the road - Prairie View A&M (Nov. 11) and Oklahoma State (Nov. 13). Rice has its home opener on Nov. 16 vs. Houston Baptist (7 p.m.), before heading north to compete at Chicago State (Nov. 18) and at Valparaiso (Nov. 20).
"We are taking a trip to Chicago to return senior D'Frantz Smart to her hometown where she played at Whitney Young High School," says head coach Greg Williams. "That's a tradition that we have at Rice, in that we try get our out-of-state kids back to their local area in their senior year."
Rice then returns to Tudor Fieldhouse for five home dates with games vs. Alcorn State (Nov. 23), UALR (Nov. 26), and it will host the Gene Hackerman Invitational (Dec. 2-3) with Texas A&M Corpus Christi playing Rice and North Texas vs. Oregon State on day one. The Owls then return to action after final exams with a game vs. Texas State on Dec. 16.
The non-conference portion of the schedule wraps up with three games on the road - SFA (Dec. 20), UTSA (Dec. 30), and Lamar (Jan. 2).
Conference USA women's basketball games again will be held on Thursdays and Sundays. The Owls open C-USA action at UAB on Jan. 5, before retuning home to host SMU (Jan. 8) and Tulane (Jan. 12).
"UAB is coming off a strong finish to its season last year after winning the Women's Basketball Invitational post-season tournament," says Williams. "They had to play their first four games on the road in the WBI and then won the championship game on their home court."
Other home C-USA dates include Southern Miss (Jan. 22), East Carolina (Jan. 26), UTEP (Feb. 5), Tulsa (Feb. 12), and Houston (Feb. 23). Rice's senior night takes place on March 1 vs. Memphis.
The Conference USA Championship this season will be hosted by Memphis. Action takes place inside Elma Roane Fieldhouse and the FedEx Forum (March 7-10).
The Owls posted an 18-14 record last season and placed third in the C-USA standings at 10-6. Coach Williams returns four starters including sophomore forward Jessica Kuster who, a year ago, was named as the league's Freshman of the Year and was selected to the All-C-USA First Team after averaging 14.1 points per game and 10.6 rebounds. Also back is the aforementioned D'Frant Smart who set a Rice season record with 189 assists. Furthermore, Smart only needs 38 assists to surpass Kim Lawson' (1999-03) mark of 475 to hold the Rice career assist record.
General admission season tickets are now available online at www.riceowls.com, over the phone at 713-522-OWLS, or in person at the Rice Ticket Office in Tudor Fieldhouse.