Dec. 19, 2012
UTSA Roadrunners (6-4, 0-0 WAC) at Rice Owls (5-4, 0-0 C-USA)
Game 10 Thursday, December 20, 2012 7 p.m.
Houston, Texas Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750)
Audio: RiceOwls.com TV: None
Series Record: UTSA leads 7-2
San Antonio, Texas
Owls Race Past Roadrunners, 71-46
Sophomore Jessica Kuster did not disappoint her hometown fans. The San Antonio native and Reagan H.S. product scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds to lead Rice in a convincing 71-46 road win over UTSA Friday night. The Owls even their record at 6-6, while the Roadrunners drop to 4-9.
Owls Host Future C-USA Opponent UTSA
The UTSA Roadrunners visit Rice as the Owls continue their seven game homestand and put their three-game winning streak on the line. The Owls are playing their fifth game of a 13 game stretch that has 12 games in Texas. Megan Palmer leads the Owls into action after being selected C-USA Freshman of the Week on Dec. 17. This is Rice's final game before taking an eight-day break for Christmas, to return to action on Dec. 28. This is only the Owls third game in a 26-day stretch, with breaks on either end of the stretch for final exams and Christmas.
Briefly On The Owls
Megan Palmer was named C-USA Freshman of the Week
With a win, the Owls would match their longest winning streak since 2005-06.
The Owls are 31-15 in Tudor Fieldhouse since 2009-10, and 10-3 in the 2012 calendar year.
Jessica Kuster is the only player averaging a double-double in C-USA this season, and has the ninth-most double doubles in the nation. She ranks third in the league in points per game and first in rebounds per game.
Megan Palmer is third in points and second in rebounds among C-USA freshmen
According to WBBState.com's RPI calculations, Rice ranks 110th in the RPI, which ranks ahead of schools such as AP No. 20 Texas, TCU, Arizona, Utah and BYU.
Rice vs. UTSA
Rice and UTSA, who are future Conference USA rivals, have met only three times since 1985, all of those three meetings coming since 2008-09. The Owls won the two most recent contests, including a 71-46 win in San Antonio last season and a 70-56 win in Tudor Fieldhouse during 2009-10.
Rice's Three-Game Win Streak
Rice has won three consecutive games, and with one more win would match its longest winning streak since a nine game win streak in 2005-06. The Owls have had six winning streaks of exactly four games since 2005-06, most recently in November of 2011. Rice has outscored its opponents by 18.0 points per game and grabbed 11.0 more rebounds per game than its opponents over this three game stretch.
Palmer Named C-USA Freshman Of The Week (Dec. 17)
Megan Palmer was named C-USA Freshman of the Week for averaging 17 points and nine rebounds in two Owl victories. She had her second straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Chicago State, in just 27 minutes of play, then posted a 20 point, seven rebound, three assist and four block performance against Stephen F. Austin, picking up the first four blocks of her career.
Owls Engineer A Comeback
Rice came back from down 31-20 to defeat McNeese State 60-51 on Dec. 1, the largest comeback for the Owls since Feb. 28, 2008, when the Owls fought back from a 25-13 deficit to defeat Marshall 68-64. In the Dec. 1 game, the Owls used an 11-0 run to take the lead in the second half.
Palmer Making An Impact
Megan Palmer scored 24 points against McNeese State, the most points scored by a Rice freshman since Dec. 30, 2010 when Jessica Kuster scored 26 at Texas State. She is averaging 12.4 points per game, which would be the most for a Rice freshman since Kuster in 2010-11 and the second-most in the Greg Williams era (since 2005-06).
Rice Ranks Third In C-USA In RPI
According to WBBState.com's RPI projection, Rice ranks 110th nationally and third in C-USA, behind UTEP and Tulane. Nationally, Rice ranks ahead of other notable schools such as No. 20 Texas, TCU, Arizona, Utah and BYU.
Rice Against Top Mid-Majors
Rice has faced two ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll. UALR, who defeated Rice on Nov. 24, is currently ranked 22nd in the poll, and McNeese State, who Rice beat on Dec. 1 was ranked 17th at the time and is receiving votes currently. Lamar, who Rice is slated to play on Dec. 30 is receiving votes in the poll. Rice, as a member of Conference USA, is not eligible for the poll.
Can't Stop Griner...But Everyone Else?
Rice fell to No. 3 Baylor on Nov. 27, in large part due to national player of the year Brittney Griner. The Bears outscored Rice 59-22 when Griner was on the court, but the Bears only were a possesion better than Rice at 30-27, during the nearly 18 minutes Griner was on the bench.
Griner's Return To Houston
Baylor senior Brittney Griner, a native of Houston, returned home on Nov. 27 with her Bear teammates to take on the Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse, an 89-49 victory for No. 3 Baylor. The teams played in front of a Tudor Fieldhouse record 2,318 fans.
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 for this game and 2011 champion Texas A&M hosts Rice on Jan. 1. Rice does not play UConn, who won the 2009 and 2010 titles.
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.
Last Time Against UTSA(Dec. 30, 2011)
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Jessica Kuster scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 21 rebounds to lead Rice in a convincing 71-46 road win over UTSA Friday.
Brianna Hypolite (11 points) was the only other Owl in double-digit scoring. Candace Ashford scored 8 points, while Jessica Goswitz and Amenemope McKinney each scored 7 points. Rice was up 18-16 (6:09) when it proceeded to go on an 8-0 run for a 26-16 lead (4:27) for its biggest lead of the half.The Owls ended the half up 31-23. Rice closed the game on a 10-2 run for the final margin at 71-46.
Baylor Game Sets Attendance Record
The Tudor Fieldhouse attendance record for women's basketball was set on Nov. 27, when No. 3 Baylor visited the Owls. It was the largest Rice home crowd for women's basketball since Feb. 22, 1998, when a school-record 3,704 fans came to Autry Court to see Rice upset No. 16 Hawai'i 76-71.
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.
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.
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
Southern Illinois .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
Cal State Fullerton 1.000 13 13
Rice 1.083 13 12
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.
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.
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 the league's coaches.
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 31-15 since 2009-10 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls are 9-3 at home in the calendar year of 2012 and 4-1 in the 2012-13 season, with the only loss coming to No. 3 Baylor.