By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
2016-17 Rice Schedule
IRVING, Texas – The Rice women’s basketball team was picked to finish seventh in Conference USA according to the C-USA Preseason Poll, which was released by the league office on Wednesday.
The Owls are coming off a 9-22 campaign in 2015-16, including a 7-11 record in C-USA play. In her first season as head coach of the Owls, Tina Langley helped guide her team to the quarterfinals of the C-USA Championship for the first time since 2012.
Rice returns eight players from last season’s team, including four starters: Jasmine Goodwine (senior), Maya Hawkins (senior), Shani Rainey (junior) and Wendy Knight (junior). The Owls also welcome in five newcomers, two of which are transfers, along with three freshmen.
WKU was picked to win the league crown as voted on by the C-USA head coaches, while the Lady Toppers’ Kendall Noble was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Middle Tennessee was picked second in the poll, followed by Old Dominion, Charlotte and UTEP.
The Owls were picked to finish 12th in the 2015-16 C-USA Preseason Poll, but finished tied for eighth in the league and advanced to the second round of the C-USA Tournament.
Rice opens the 2016-17 slate with a home exhibition against Concordia on Nov. 4 before opening the regular season at Tudor Fieldhouse on Nov. 11 against Prairie View A&M. The 2016-17 season will culminate with the 2017 C-USA Basketball Championship, March 8-11 in Birmingham, AL with UAB serving as the host school for the third year in a row.
2016-17 C-USA Preseason Poll (first-place votes)
1. WKU (6)
2. Middle Tennessee (5)
3. Old Dominion (2)
6. North Texas
8. Southern Miss
11. UTSA (1)
12. Louisiana Tech
13. Florida Atlantic
2016-17 C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team
Lefty Webster – Charlotte
Ty Petty – Middle Tennessee
Alex Johnson – Middle Tennessee
Jennie Simms – Old Dominion
Jenzel Nash – UTEP
Sparkle Taylor – UTEP
Tashia Brown – WKU
Kendall Noble – WKU (Preseason Player of the Year)