Losing is not a familiar feeling for Rice Women’s basketball. The Owls look to get back to their winning ways against North Texas on Thursday.
Time: Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. CT
Venue: Tudor Fieldhouse
North Texas 9-16 (3-10), Last 5 (0-5)
- 67-52 (L) vs Rice
- 80-60 (L) vs MTSU
- 51-50 (L) vs UAB
- 72-59 (L) at Charlotte
- 71-66 (L) at Old Dominion
Rice 16-8 (11-2), Last 5 (3-2)
- 67-52 (W) at North Texas
- 64-53 (W) vs UAB
- 77-60 (W) vs MTSU
- 66-59 OT (L) at Old Dominion
- 62-51 (L) at Charlotte
North Texas statistical leaders
- Scoring | Anisha George – 13.2 per game
- Rebounds | Anisha George – 8.4 per game
- Assists | N’Yah Boyd – 2.7 per game
- Steals | Destinee McDowell – 2.6 per game
- Blocks | Destinee McDowell – 1.4 per game
Rice keys to victory
Returning home to play a familiar opponent is nothing but good news for Rice women’s basketball. Rice beat North Texas 67-52 in Denton earlier this season. They beat them three times last year and twice the year before that. The Owls know the Mean Green inside and out. That’s a good start, but not enough by itself to push the home team to a much-needed victory
In their two losses, Rice has not shot well from the floor and relied heavily on Erica Ogwumike and Nancy Mulkey to carry the load. Ogwumike fouled out against Charlotte and Mulkey played less than her usual complement of minutes, exiting with an injury in the second half. Rice needs someone else, anyone else, to step up and provide a scoring threat to make the defense guard something beyond Ogwumike’s drive to the basket.
Lauren Schwartz has been in a bit of a shooting slump of late, connecting on more than two shots from the field once in her last five games — all starts. She’s shown herself to be a capable scoring threat at times this year and could be the key cog Rice needs to snap back into their winning ways.
If not Schwartz, look for fellow starters Sydne Wiggins and Jasmine Smith to knock down the key shots behind the Owls’ leading scorers. Both have had moments, but neither has been leaned upon to carry the offense on a consistent basis.
The defense will continue to be the Owls’ bread and butter. None of their conference opponents have reached 70 points. Six have been held to 60 or fewer. Rice doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel on Thursday. They just need to play their game and create a few more plus opportunities on offense. Finding a new spark their should be more than enough to get this team back in the win column.