Rice women’s basketball has soared to new heights under head coach Tina Langley. With her at the helm, the future remains bright for the Owls’ program
Tina Langley brought a championship-caliber resume with her when she was hired to be the next head coach for Rice Women’s Basketball. She had a Final Four appearance as an assistant at Maryland under her belt and a vision of what she wanted Rice to become. Five years later, the Owls are right on course.
The Owls’ haven’t made it to the Final Four yet, but each successive season has brought with it validation that Langley knows the way. After one year to get her feet under her, Rice won the WBI Championship in her second season. That was the first postseason title in program history. Rice made the WNIT in Year 3 and the NCAA Tournament in Year 4. The Owls’ were on track to repeat with another ticket to the Big Dance when the season was canceled.
Even without a clear resolution, the results of Langley’s teams speak for themselves. In the past two seasons, Rice is 49-12, a .803 winning percentage). They’ve won 32 of 34 conference games, including a Conference USA record 30 consecutive conference victories.
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Getting to this point wouldn’t have been possible without establishing a strong culture. “One of the neat things about this team is how selfless they all are,” Langley said, “I think that’s what will continue to push us forward.”
Those players responded well when lineups shifted from night to night with injuries. All five Rice freshman played meaningful minutes. They responded well to their first conference loss in more than a year, rallying to win the conference title on their home court. From top to bottom, everyone seemed to understand the expectations and they knew how to carry them out.
“That’s what sets the standard for a great program. We have to be ready to answer the call,” Langely said, in a simple, yet knowing way. Success isn’t so easy. But Langley has found a way to unify her program in such a way that the wins seem to fall into place.
Langely signed a new five-year extension following the 2019-2020 season, keeping her at South Main through 2024. At this point, Langley has done enough to stay at Rice for as long as she would like.