Nakachi Maduka had a season-high 11 points, including two 3-pointers.

Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Hosts UTPA

Dec. 27, 2012

UTPA Broncs (5-7, 0-0 Great West) at Rice Owls (6-4, 0-0 C-USA)

Game 11 • Friday, December 28, 2012 • 7 p.m.

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

Series Record: Rice leads 7-0

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Rice Puts Four-Game Win Streak On The Line Against UTPA

Rice hosts WAC-bound UTPA at Tudor Fieldhouse, as the Owls return from an eight-day break for Christmas and begin a stretch of three games in five days. The Owls are playing their sixth game of a 13 game stretch that has 12 games in Texas. The Owls have only played three games in the past 26 days, with breaks on either end of the stretch for final exams and Christmas. The Owls have held all four opponents in their winning streak to 51 or fewer points, and fought back to win 43-41 against UTSA in their last outing with two Nakachi Maduka free throws with 0.1 seconds remaining.

Briefly On The Owls

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

• 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, and has the ninth-most double doubles in the nation. She leads C-USA in rebounding

Megan Palmer is third in points and second in rebounds among C-USA freshmen

• According to's RPI calculations, Rice ranks 102nd in the RPI, which ranks ahead of schools such as AP No. 20 Texas, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and BYU.

Rice vs. UTPA

The Owls have played UTPA seven times, and have won all seven contests, with the closest being a 67-60 victory at UTPA in 2000-01. Rice has hosted UTPA five times in Houston, and the Owls have won each of those contests by at least 24 points. UTPA enters Rice's old conference home, the Western Athletic Conference, in 2013-14.

Rice's Four-Game Win Streak

Rice has won four consecutive games, and have tied 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 14.0 points per game and grabbed 8.8 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 13-7 in those games.

2012-13 Dec. 28, 30, Jan. 1 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 four-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'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, Arizona, Utah and BYU.

Rice Against Top Mid-Majors

Rice has faced two ranked in the 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 UTPA (Dec. 4, 2009)

HOUSTON -- The sophomore forward tandem of Jackie Stanley and Brianna Hypolite both scored 18 points to lead all players and pace the Rice women's basketball team to a 71-47 victory over visiting UT Pan American in the opening game at the Owls' annual home tournament, the Gene Hackerman Invitational at Tudor Fieldhouse.

After UT Pan American took an 8-7 lead in the opening minutes of the first period, the Owls turned up the defensive pressure and answered with a 24-8 run to go up by 14, 31-17 at the half. Stanley and Hypolite had combined for eight of Rice's 11 field goals in the first half while everyone seemed to crash the boards for a 21-2 advantage on the Owls' defensive glass. The Owls shot 35.5 percent from the floor in the first half but were even better in the second, hitting 15-of-34 shots (44.1) to score 40 more points and stretch the margin to 24, 71-41.

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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