Owls Begin 2017-18 Campaign at Grand Canyon

Nov. 9, 2017

Game 1 Notes (GCU)

Rice Owls (0-0, 0-0 C-USA) at Grand Canyon Lopes (0-0, 0-0 WAC)

Game 1 • Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 • 3 p.m. (CT)
Phoenix, Ariz. • GCU Arena
Video Stream:  WAC Digital Network
Live Stats: StatBroadcast.com
Twitter Updates: @RiceWBasketball | @GCU_WBB
Series Record: Rice leads, 1-0 (Last W: 64-50, 2016)

Owls Open 2017-18 Campaign at Grand Canyon
Fresh off their most successful season in 11 years, the Rice Owls women's basketball team embarks upon their third season under head coach Tina Langley this Friday when they travel to Phoenix, Ariz. to face the Grand Canyon Lopes. This will be just the second-ever meeting between the two schools, with Rice winning the lone meeting (64-50) last season at Tudor Fieldhouse. The game will be streamed on the WAC Digital Network.

Rice in Season Openers
The Owls are 30-9 all-time in season openers dating back to 1978-79 and have won five of their last seven opening tilts overall.

Looks Who's Back
The Owls return eight letterwinners from last year's squad and two starters in senior guard Wendy Knight and junior guard Nicole Iademarco. In addition, Rice welcomes back Lauren Grigsby (junior), Gabrielle Stanton (junior), Tayler Bennett (sophomore), and Gabby Ozoude (freshman). Erica and Olivia Ogwumike will be eligible for their first season at Rice after sitting our last year following their transfer from Pepperdine.

Owls Picked to Finish 5th
Rice was picked to place fifth in the 2017-18 Preseason C-USA Women's Basketball Poll.

A Year to Remember
Last season was a banner year for the Owls in numerous ways. Rice's 11-game improvement was tied for the sixth-best in the nation, going from a 9-22 record in 2015-16 to a 22-13 mark last year. The Owls put an exclamation mark on the year by winning the Women's Basketball Invitational title, the team's first-ever postseason title outside a conference tournament. It also marked the first time Rice won a postseason game since the 2005-06 season.

Their 22 wins were the second-most in Rice history and the Owls established a new school record with 13 home victories. In addition, the Owls made a single-season school record 242 three-pointers and ranked 23rd in the nation in total assists (558).

GCU Scouting Report
The Lopes were projected to finish fourth in the WAC, according to a vote done by the league's head coaches. Senior Brie Mobley was voted to both the WAC Media Preseason First Team and the WAC Coaches Preseason First Team. Last year she was the team's second leading scorer (16.0 ppg). GCU went 15-12 overall last year and 7-7 in conference play.

Eye on the Mark
Rice redshirt junior Nicole Iademarco returns as the Owls leading scorer (12.0 ppg) from last season. The former Arizona St. transfer made the second-most three-pointers (70) in a Rice single-season, attempting a school record 207 three-pointers in the process.

What Was Lost
Between graduation and injuries, the Owls are losing 58 percent of their total minutes played from last year's team. Rice lost two 1,000-point scorers to graduation in Jasmine Goodwine (10th-1,211 points) and Maya Hawkins (17th-1,003). Goodwine was a C-USA Second Team selection while Hawkins was named the WBI Tournament MVP.

What's Next
The Owls stay in the state of Arizona when they travel to NAU on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tip-off. 






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