2020 was filled with highs and lows on the home from, but Rice Athletics made the best of the tough year. Here are some of the most impactful moments.
10. Men’s Basketball upsets C-USA regular-season champion North Texas
Rice basketball started slow out of the gates in conference play this past March, falling to 1-7 with a home game against 8-1 North Texas entering the final month of the season. Not only did the Owls put up a fight, they knocked off the eventual regular season champs. Rice shot 53.6 percent from three and hit 15 triples, includes three apiece from Drew Peterson, Trey Murphy, Robert Martin and four from Ako Adams.
9. Football signs Top 5 C-USA recruiting class
You can read more about the recent signees in detail in our recruiting updates over on Patreon. In short, the 2021 Rice Football Signing Class edged out the 2020 class for the highest-rated class in program history. The Owls currently hold the No. 4 class in C-USA and a Top 100 class in the country with a few spots remaining before National Signing Day in February.
8. Women’s Track and Field wins C-USA Indoor Championship
For the fourth time in program history and the first time since 2009, the Rice women took home the gold in the C-USA Indoor Championships. Grace Forbes and Michelle Fokam helped spur the Owls victory. Head coach Jim Bevan was recognized afterward as the Coach of the Year.
7. Swimming top Tulane in duat meet
In their only home meet of the fall, Rice swimming emerged with a win. The Owls were dominant in the pool in the two-day meet, winning 15 of 21 events, including 400-freestyle relay. Rice set a facility record in the event, closing out the meet with a resounding 245-146 final score.
6. Women’s Basketball avenges Old Dominion loss
The Rice women’s basketball team saw a 30-game conference winning streak snapped on the road against Old Dominion. It was only fitting the Owls closed out the regular season with a rematch against the Monarchs. The game marked the final time senior Erica Ogwumike took the court for the Owls, making the victorious sendoff that much sweeter.
5. Grace Forbes wins C-USA Title
The women’s cross country squad only made one appearance this fall, but Grace Forbes made it count. The sophomore left her competition in the dust, crossing the finish line with no foes in sight. Her strong showing propelled the Owls to a fourth place finish in the meet.
4. Erica Ogwumike selected in WNBA Draft
The Ogwumike family name had already become a mainstay in WNBA circles before Erica Ogwumike played her final season at South Main. Her sisters, Nneka and Chiney, were both No. 1 overall selections. Erica went from off draft boards to becoming a third round pick of the New York Liberty, which was then traded to the Minnesota Lynx. Ogwumike said she was just grateful to hear her named called.
3. Women’s Basketball win’s second consecutive regular season title
Not only did Rice get revenge when they beat Old Dominion to close out the regular season this spring, they clinched their second consecutive regular season championship. The Owls were the favorites to cut down the nets in the conference tournament and to make a repeat appearance in the NCAA Tournament before COVID-19 concerns forced the cancelation of the remainder of the season.
2 Jack Fox named to NFL Pro Bowl
Released by the Chiefs last season, Fox signed a futures contract with the Detroit Lions in the offseason and won the Lions’ starting punting job in camp. From that point on, he took the NFL by storm. Fox led the NFL in most key measures for most of the season before being named to his first Pro Bowl. He’s the 12th Owl to earn a spot on a Pro Bowl roster and the first since fellow specialist Chris Boswell in 2017.
1. Rice Football shuts outs No. 15 Marshall
Rice football hadn’t beaten a ranked opponent in more than two decades when they made the trip to a cold Huntington, WV on Dec. 5 to play a then undefeated No. 15 Marshall squad. Not only did Rice win, they shut out The Herd, forcing five interceptions on their way to the upset win, a marquee victory for Rice. The Owls became the first team in 206 games to shut out Marshall at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
How about you? Which of these moments from Rice Athletics did you enjoy the most? Which Rice Athletics events should be added to the list?
- CUSA Media Day Roundup: All eyes on the Rice football offense
- The Roost Podcast | Ep 83 – Realignment and Rice Football with Shehan Jeyarajah
- Olympian Ariana Ince, a fitting ambassador of Rice Athletics, on and off the field
- Rice Baseball: 2021 MiLB Owls mid-July update