Nov. 23, 2012
Rice Owls (2-2, 0-0 C-USA) at UALR Trojans (2-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Game 5 Saturday, November 24, 2012 12:00 p.m.
Little Rock, Ark. Jack Stephens Center (5,600)
Audio: RiceOwls.com TV: None
Series Record: UALR leads 5-1
Last Meeting: L, 47-67, (11/26/11) at Tudor Fieldhouse
UALR Beats Rice 67-47
Taylor Gault poured in a career-high 25 points to lead UALR to a 67-47 road victory over Rice Saturday night in Tudor Fieldhouse.
Owls Take On UALR To Finish Road Swing
Rice finishes up its four game road swing, the longest road stretch of the season, at UALR, coming off of a win at Texas State. The Owls had double-digit scoring games from Jessica Kuster, Jessica Goswitz and Megan Palmer in each of the last two games, and Megan Shafer joined in as the fourth Owl in double figures on Tuesday in San Marcos.
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 at Tennessee
Megan Palmer has scored 14+ points in three consecutive games
The Owls lead C-USA in Free Throw Percentage
Rice is on the last game of a four-game, four-city road swing.
Jessica Kuster ranks second in C-USA and is 32nd in the nation in points scored.
Rice vs. UALR
The Owls have played the two-time defending Sun Belt Tournament Champion in every season since 2006-07, with UALR winning every contest, except for a 49-39 game in Reliant Arena during 2007-08. The Owls have not scored more than 53 points against UALR, a team known for defensive prowess. The Owls are 0-3 in Little Rock.
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
Last Time Against UALR (Nov. 26, 2011)
Taylor Gault poured in a career-high 25 points to lead UALR to a 67-47 road victory over Rice Saturday in Tudor Fieldhouse. Gault came into the game averaging 11.8 ppg, made 11 of 16 from the field and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes of action before fouling out with 2:11 left in the game.
UALR Recognized By Mid-Major Poll
UALR is receiving votes in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, and would rank 38th if the rankings extended that far. The Owls also face McNeese State, who ranks 15th in the poll. Conference USA's programs, including Rice, are considered "High-Major", and are ineligible for the Mid-Major Poll.
The Owls are in the midst of a four-game, four-city road trip, and have had at least a four-city, four-game road swing every year since 2006-07:
2012-13 1-2 Tennessee, Tennessee Tech, Texas State, UALR
2011-12 1-3 Stephen F. Austin, UTSA, Lamar, UAB
2010-11 3-1 UALR, HBU, Northwestern State, Texas State
2009-10 1-3 SMU, Tulsa, UCF, Southern Miss
2008-09 1-4 Hofstra, Lafayette, Tenn.-Martin (neutral), Mississippi, UTSA
2007-08 2-2 Tulane, UTEP, SMU, Tulsa
2006-07 3-1 Southern Miss, UCF, SMU, Tulsa
O wls 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. At two games into her 3rd season, she is the quickest Rice player to reach 1,000 points.
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.
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 in front of 60 friends and family members at 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 won 42 striaght games until losing to now-No. 1 Stanford on Nov. 16. 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.
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.