Nov. 16, 2012
Rice Owls (1-1, 0-0 C-USA) at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-1, 0-0 OVC)
Game 3 Saturday, November 17, 2012 7:00 p.m.
Cookville, Tenn. Eblen Center (9,280)
Audio: RiceOwls.com TV: None
Series Record: First Meeting
Owls Round Out Tennessee Trip With Game At Tennessee Tech
Rice plays its second game in three days as it takes on Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tenn., just 90 minutes away from Knoxville, Tenn., hometown of Rice senior Jessica Goswitz and the Owls' last game, a 101-48 defeat to No. 24 Tennessee. Jessica Kuster scored her 1,000th career point in the loss, becoming the 8th junior and 18th Rice player overall to reach 1,000 points.
Briefly On The Owls
Jessica Kuster was named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year
Jessica Kuster became the 18th player and 8th junior to reach 1,000 career points at Rice
The Owls led Tennessee by as much as six points and did not trail by more than two points until 7:33 of the first half
Rice played in front of 10,913 fans in Knoxville, Tenn., the largest crowd to see a Rice game since Nov. 22, 2004
Megan Palmer scored 15 points against No. 24 Tennessee, the first double-digit scoring game of her career
Rice vs. Tennessee Tech
The two programs have never met.
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.
Youngest Teams In Division I (By Years of Collegiate Experience)
Rank School Avg. Exp. Players
1. San Jose State .444 4 9
2. Temple .727 8 11
SIU-Carbondale .727 8 11
4. Clemson .833 10 12
Florida .909 10 11
6. Dayton 1.000 12 12
Southern Miss 1.091 12 11
Tennessee 1.091 12 11
9. Rhode Island 1.000 13 13
CS Fullerton 1.000 13 13
Rice 1.083 13 12
Owls Start Strong Against Lady Vols
Despite falling in the contest 101-48, Rice scared No. 24 Tennessee, leading the Lady Vols until the 9:05 mark of the first half. Rice and Tennessee traded baskets for the first three possessions, before the Owls took the lead at 8-6 with 17:25 remaining in the first half. The Owls led by as much as 6, at 22-16. Jessica Kuster at several points had as many points as the entire Lady Vol team, starting the game 5-for-5 with 12 points. The Lady Vols took the lead at 23-22 with a Cierra Burdick jumper and did not trail afterwards.
Kuster Reaches 1,000 Points
Jessica Kuster became the 18th Rice player to reach 1,000 points in a career with 16 points against Tennessee on Nov. 15. She is the eighth Rice player to have reached the 1,000 point plateau in her junior season. Morgan Mayse was the last Rice player to reach 1,000 points, accomplishing the feat in 2010-11.
Rice At Tennessee In Historic Game
On Nov. 15, Rice opened a new era in women's basketball, as the Owls faced 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 plays three of the last four schools to win a national championship in 2012-13, having lost to 2007 and 2008 champion Tennessee on Nov. 15, 2012 champion Baylor visits Houston on Nov. 27, and 2011 champion Texas A&M hosts Rice on Jan. 1. Rice does not play UConn, who won the 2009 and 2010 titles.
Rice senior Jessica Goswitz played in front of her friends and family on Nov. 15, as she returned to her hometown of Knoxville to play the Tennessee Lady Vols. Over 60 supporters were attendance, and the Knoxville crowd gave her a very warm welcome when introduced.
For the second consecutive year, Rice took a senior to her hometown to play a non-conference game. Jessica Goswitz of Knoxville's Webb School played against Tennessee on Nov. 15. 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 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.
Eyes On The Owls
On Nov. 15 10,981 fans saw the Rice Owls take on Tennessee in Thompson-Boling Arena, the largest crowd to watch a Rice women's basketball game since Nov. 22, 2004, when 11,876 fans saw Rice take on Texas Tech.
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 Baylor and Texas A&M 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.