Women's Basketball Hosts Lamar In Battle Of Seven-Win Teams

Christal Porter has had 14+ rebounds in each of her last two games.

Dec. 29, 2012

Lamar Cardinals (7-2, 0-0 Southland) at Rice Owls (7-4, 0-0 C-USA)

Game 12 • Sunday, December 30, 2012 • 2 p.m.

Houston, Texas • Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750)
Audio: RiceOwls.com • TV: None

Series Record: Lamar leads 15-5
Last Meeting: L, 61-54 (1/2/12) at Lamar

The Last Meeting
January 2, 2012
Beaumont, Texas
Lamar Tops Rice 61-54
Lamar's Kalis Loyd scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Cardinals to a 61-54 win over Rice Monday night at the Montagne Center.

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Tudor Fieldhouse Hosts Matchup Between Seven Win Teams

Rice and Lamar face off at Tudor Fieldhouse, each winners of seven games. Lamar enters the contests having lost twice, at No. 3 Baylor and at Texas Tech, while the Owls have dropped contests to No. 24 Tennessee, UALR and the same Baylor team this season. The Owls are looking to finish off a perfect December, and what has been an 11-3 calendar year at Tudor Fieldhouse this season.

Briefly On The Owls

Jessica Kuster needs two points to reach 9th place on Rice's career scoring list.

• The Owls' current five game winning streak is their longest since 2005-06.

• A win in the next two games would tie the school record for wins entering conference play.

• The Owls are 32-15 in Tudor Fieldhouse since 2009-10, and 11-3 in the 2012 calendar year.

Jessica Kuster is the only player averaging a double-double in C-USA this season.

Zoe Rogers has reached double digits in scoring her previous two games, setting career-highs for minutes played in both of those contests.

• According to WBBState.com's RPI calculations, Rice ranks 104th in the RPI, which ranks ahead of schools such as AP No. 20 Texas, Arizona, Utah, TCU and BYU.

Rice vs. Lamar

Lamar has won the past four meetings against the Owls, with the last Rice win coming in 1997-98 at Autry Court. The Cardinals have defeated the Owls each of the past three seasons, pulling out a seven-point victory in Beaumont a season ago. Rice has played Lamar 20 times, making it Rice's second-most played non-conference series, next to Sam Houston State (22).

Owls Chase Best Mark Entering Conference Play

With a win against Lamar or Texas A&M, Rice would tie the school record for wins entering conference play. The Owls have won eight games before conference play four times in their history.

Year Rec. Finish Remaining Non-Conference Play

1988-89 8-1 14-13 1-0 vs. UMKC in Mar.

1993-94 8-4 13-14 0-1 SWC Tourn.
1999-00 8-5 22-10 3-0 WAC Tourn., 1-1 NCAA

2010-11 8-6 18-14 0-1 C-USA Tourn., 0-1 WNIT

Rice posted a 10-2 non-conference record in 1992-93, but was 7-2 at the time of its conference opener

A December To Remember?

A win against Lamar would give Rice its first undefeated December in program history.

Rice's Five-Game Win Streak

Rice has won five consecutive games, and has its longest winning streak since a nine game win streak in 2005-06. Rice has outscored its opponents by 15.4 points per game and grabbed 10.6 more rebounds per game than its opponents over this three game stretch.

Owls Take On Three Games In Five Days

The Owls play three games in five days or fewer for the eighth time under Greg Williams and the fourth time the Owls play exactly three games in five days. The Owls are 14-7 in those games.

2012-13 Dec. 28, 30, Jan. 1 1-0 W UTPA, Lamar, at Texas A&M

2011-12 Nov. 16, 18, 20 3-0 W Houston Baptist, W at Chicago St., W at Valaparaiso

2010-11 Nov. 12, 13, 14 1-2 W vs. Montana St., W vs. FIU, L at Baylor (Waco, Texas)

2007-08 Nov. 9, 10, 11 3-0 W vs. Navy, W vs. North Texas, W at Winthrop (Rock Hill, S.C.)

Nov. 16, 18, 20, 23, 24 2-3 W at Cal St. Northridge, W at UCLA, W UALR,

L vs. Clemson, L at Colorado (Boulder, Colo.)

2006-07 Dec. 29, 30, Jan. 1 0-3 L vs. Kansas State, L vs. George Mason, (Miami, Fla.) L Houston

Mar. 2, 3, 4 2-1 W vs. UTEP, W vs. Tulane, L vs. ECU (Tulsa, Okla.)

2005-06 Mar. 3, 4, 5 2-1 W vs. Houston, W at SMU, L vs. Tulsa (Dallas, Texas)

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.

Comeback Owls

Rice has had two come-from-behind wins in this current five-game winning streak, coming back from down 31-20 to defeat McNeese State on Dec. 1 and erasing a 31-22 deficit against UTSA on Dec. 20. The Owls' 11-point comeback on Dec. 1 was the largest comeback for Rice since Feb. 28, 2008, when Rice erased a 25-13 deficit to beat Marshall.

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 Second In C-USA In RPI

According to WBBState.com's RPI projection, Rice ranks 104th nationally and second in C-USA, behind UTEP and Tulane. Nationally, Rice ranks ahead of other notable schools such as No. 20 Texas, New Mexico, TCU, 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 18th 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.

Championship Pedigree

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 Lamar (Jan. 2, 2012)

BEAUMONT, Texas - Lamar's Kalis Loyd scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Cardinals to a 61-54 win over Rice Monday night at the Montagne Center.

Brianna Hypolite led the Owls in scoring with 15 points, while Jessica Kuster followed with 14 points and a game-high 9 rebounds. Amenemope McKinney came off the bench to tally 9 points with 8 rebounds and Candace Ashford scored 7 points with 8 rebounds.

Monique Whitaker scored 14 points for the Cardinals and Loyd along with Danielle Heithoff each snared 9 rebounds. Lamar shot 35.5 percent (22-62) from the field toRice's 32.2 percent (19-59). The Owls were 11-22 from the free throw line, while Lamar canned 9-11 at the charity stripe.

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.

Senior Reward

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.

Tournament Tested

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

Autry Army

Rice is 32-15 since 2009-10 at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls are 10-3 at home in the calendar year of 2012 and 5-1 in the 2012-13 season, with the only loss coming to No. 3 Baylor.





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