Rice Owls (1-0, 0-0 C-USA) at Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (0-1, 0-0 Big Sky)
Game 2 • Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 • 2 p.m. (CT)
Flagstaff, Ariz. • J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome
Video Stream: Pluto TV (download platform here - game is on channel 239)
Live Stats: StatBroadcast.com
Twitter Updates: @RiceWBasketball | @NAU_WBB
Series Record: First Meeting
Owls Travel to NAU
Rice will look to start a season 2-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign this Sunday when they travel to NAU for their first ever meeting against the Lumberjacks. Rice is coming off a 69-59 season-opening victory at GCU while NAU dropped their opener at home to UC Santa Barbara, 96-93.
In Friday's season-opening win the Owls erased a 15-point halftime deficit, led by a 19-point performance from redshirt junior forward Olivia Ogwumike. Rice shot 53 percent from the field in the win and scored 35 points in the decisive third quarter.
NAU Scouting Report
The Lumberjacks are led by first-year head coach Loree Payne, whose team was picked to finish 11th in the Big Sky Preseason Poll. The Lumberjacks return six players from last year's 9-21 squad, including All-Big Sky Third Team selection Olivia Lucero (14.8 ppg).
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).
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.
Rice returns to Houston for their home opener when they host Houston Baptist on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.