Game 1 Notes (Kentucky)
Rice Owls (0-0) at No. 18/17 Kentucky Wildcats (0-0)
Game 1 • Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 • 6 p.m. (CT)
Lexington, Kentucky • Memorial Coliseum (8,000)
Video Stream: SEC Network+ (via WatchESPN)
Live Stats: UKathletics.com
Twitter Updates: @RiceWBasketball | @UKHoopCats
Series Record: First-ever meeting
Owls Travel to Kentucky for Season Opener
Rice opens a new era of women’s basketball on Nov. 13 as head coach Tina Langley leads the Owls into the season opener at No. 18/17 Kentucky. Friday’s game will mark the first time in Rice history that they will open the season against a Top-25 program. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Owls and Wildcats. The Owls will be looking for their first win over a Top-25 team since a 79-66 victory at No. 10 Texas A&M on Dec. 1, 2006. Friday’s game will be streamed on the SEC Network+, which can be seen via the WatchESPN app. Rice will make another trip to the state of Kentucky when they face WKU on Jan. 14.
Record in Season Opener
Rice is 29-8 in season openers dating back to 1978-79, the first year of data. The Owls have won their last three season openers and four of five overall.
Look Who's Back
The Owls return three starters (Maya Hawkins, Shani Rainey, Jasmine Goodwine) but the roster also feature five new faces. In addition to four true freshmen (Lauren Grigsby, Gabrielle Stanton, Jazz Taylor) the Owls also welcomed redshirt freshman Nicole Iademarco, who transferred from Arizona St. and will sit out the 2015-16 campaign.
Kentucky Scouting Report
The Wildcats were picked to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference following a 24-10 season in 2014-15 in which Kentucky lost to Dayton in the round of 32 at the NCAA Tournament. Junior guard Makayla Epps was named to this year’s Preseason First-Team All-SEC. Epps averaged a team-high 14.3 points per game, which ranked eighth in the SEC. Within league action, she was atop the SEC with 15.1 ppg and had the second-highest field goal percentage at a .413 clip. Epps earned a spot on the prestigious Nancy Lieberman Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s top point guard.
Facing the Best Early
Kentucky is one of three, Top-25 programs the Owls face during the non-conference portion of their schedule, the most of any C-USA programs. Following their contest vs. Kentucky, the Owls will host No. 12/11 Texas in the home opener on Nov. 21. Then on Dec. 2, the Owls travel to No. 5/5 Baylor. In addition, the Owls face WKU on Jan. 14, marking the fourth team the Owls will play this season that participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.