Nov. 14, 2012
Rice Owls (1-0, 0-0 C-USA) at #24 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Game 2 Thursday, November 15, 2012 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET
Knoxville, Tenn. Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)
Audio: RiceOwls.com TV: None
Series Record: First MeetingLive Video (UTSports.com) | Live Audio | Gametracker | Twitter
Rice Takes On Lady Vols In Knoxville
Rice takes senior Jessica Goswitz to her hometown as the Owls take on the Tennessee Lady Vols in Tennessee's first home game of 2012-13 and the first home game without Pat Summitt as head coach since 1973. The Owls won on opening night, powered by a Jessica Kuster 21 point, 12 rebound performance, to down Prairie View A&M, a 2012 NCAA Tournament Team, 57-42.
Briefly On The Owls
Jessica Kuster was named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year
Jessica Kuster needs 9 points to reach 1,000 for her career
Jessica Goswitz is a Knoxville native returning to play in front of friends and family
Tennessee is the second of eight games the Owls have against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams. The Owls are 1-0 against 2012 NCAA Participants.
Rice To Face Tennessee In Historic Game
On Nov. 15, Rice opens a new era in women's basketball, as the Owls face Tennessee in the Lady Vols' first home game since 1973 with someone other than Pat Summitt coaching the team. Holly Warlick, a long-time Summit assistant and player, takes over the helm for the Lady Vols. Summit, one of the legends of collegiate athletics, won six national titles before stepping down after 2011-12 due to her battle with Alzheimer's.
Rice senior Jessica Goswitz plays in front of her friends and family on Nov. 15, as she returns to her hometown of Knoxville to play the Tennessee Lady Vols. A graduate of the Webb School, the Owls play a second contest in her home state, at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 17 before returning home.
Rice Ninth-Youngest Team In Division I
Rice is tied for the ninth-youngest team in Division 1 in terms of years of senior college experience. The Owls have 13 years of experience among the 12 players on the roster, the youngest average experience in C-USA.
Rice vs. Ranked Teams
Rice is 9-79 all-time against teams ranked in the Top 25, and is 5-37 against teams ranked between 11th and 25th, as Tennessee is. Greg Williams has two wins against the Top 25 in his tenure, defeating No. 14 Texas Tech in 2005-06 and No. 10 Texas A&M in 2006-07. Rice has played the No. 24 team in the nation twice, and lost both contests, most recently to UTEP on Feb. 16, 2008.
Rice vs. the Southeastern Conference
The Owls are 1-2 under Greg Williams against schools from the SEC, but have not won a road game against the SEC since a Nov. 22, 1998 win at LSU, losing in the five games since. The Owls lost their last contest against the SEC in 2008 at Mississippi, but beat Mississippi the year prior.
Rice plays three of the last four schools to win a national championship in 2012-13, taking on 2007 and 2008 champion Tennessee in this game, 2012 champion Baylor on Nov. 27, and 2011 champion Texas A&M on Jan. 1. Rice does not play UConn, who won the 2009 and 2010 titles.
For the second consecutive year, Rice is taking a senior to her hometown to play a non-conference game. D'Frantz Smart, currently a student assistant for the Owls, played in front of her family at Chicago State last season, a 77-50 win for the Owls. The product of Chicago's Whitney Young High School had five assists and eight steals in that game. All of Rice's other seniors since 2010-11 have been from Texas.
Playing Into March
Since entering C-USA in 2005-06, Rice has the most postseason appearances of any C-USA school, having reached the postseason in four seasons (2006, 2006, 2011, 2012). Memphis, SMU, and Tulane have reached the postseason three times since 2005-06, and 11 of the 12 C-USA schools have reached the postseason at least once.
Griner Returns To Houston
Baylor senior Brittney Griner, a native of Houston, returns home on Nov. 27 with her Bear teammates to take on the Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Nimitz High School graduate was Player of the Year in 2011-12 and Preseason Player of the Year in 2012-13 by every major service. The Bears went 40-0 to win the NCAA Title in 2011-12, and have not lost a game since the 2011 Regional Final, where the Lady Bears fell to eventual National Champion Texas A&M. Griner has not played in Houston since her senior year of high school.
Kuster On Track For 1,000
Jessica Kuster can become the 18th Rice player to reach 1,000 points in a career with 9 more points. Only seven players have reached the 1,000 point plateau in their junior season. Morgan Mayse is the last Rice player to reach 1,000 points, accomplishing the feat in 2010-11.
Kuster Named Preseason Player of the Year
Rice junior Jessica Kuster was named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, as voted upon by the league's coaches. The selection is Kuster's second straight appearance on the Preseason All-C-USA Team. Kuster is the first Rice player to be named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year since Lauren Neaves prior to the 2005-06 season. In the same poll, the Owls were picked to finish fourth in the league by a poll of the league's coaches.
The largest attendance to see Rice women's basketball team play is 13,116 at Texas Tech on Dec. 5, 2001.
2012-13 marks the final year of the current alignment of C-USA, which has not changed since Rice entered the league for 2005-06. C-USA adds Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion, Charlotte, UTSA, FIU and North Texas for 2012-13. Louisiana Tech won the 1982 and 1988 NCAA Championships, and has ten Final Four appearances; Old Dominion won the 1985 NCAA Championship and has three Final Four appearances; Charlotte has made nine consecutive postseason appearances; UTSA has won five conference championships since 2000; FIU has made 12 postseason appearances; and North Texas engineered one of the nation's best turnarounds in 2011-12. Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF depart C-USA after this season to join the Big East.
Owls Face Three Teams In Top 25
Rice has games scheduled against No. 24 Tennessee, No. 1 Baylor and No. 16 Texas A&M in the non-conference portion of its schedule. If the opponents hold their ranking, it will be the first time since 2004-05 that Rice has faced three or more Top 25 schools.
Rice plays seven teams from last season's NCAA Tournament field a total of eight times, and has a total of 11 games against postseason participants from a year ago. Prairie View A&M, Tennessee, UALR, Baylor, McNeese St., Texas A&M, and UTEP reached the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12
Rice is 28-14 since 2009-10 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls went 9-5 in their home building last season.
Rice welcomed WNBA standout Taj McWilliams-Franklin to the staff this summer, but she joined the Owls on November 5th, after finishing her season with the Minnesota Lynx, who advanced to the WNBA Finals for a second straight year. McWilliams-Franklin, nicknamed "Mama Taj," averaged 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds, in addition to starting 33 of 34 games for the Western Conference Champions in 2012.
Moussa Represents Egypt
Reem Moussa represented Egypt in the FIBA Africa AfroBasket U18 tournament this summer. She averaged 6.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and had a field goal percentage of .407 for the Egyptians in six games, as they took Bronze, only losing two games in the tournament. She started three games in the tournament, and posted her tournament-high with 18 points against Tunsia.