Rice women’s basketball continued their winning ways in Conference USA play, beating UTSA twice in two days on the road.
For the fourth consecutive season, Rice women’s basketball opened conference play 2-0. This year, both of the Owls’ victories came against the same team in the same venue. As a part of Conference USA’s efforts to reduce travel, Rice opened their conference slate with back-to-back road games against UTSA.
Rice announced the arrival in San Antonio with authority, jumping out to a 16-3 lead in the opening quarter of the Friday affair. UTSA would hang around into the before a near-perfect third quarter shooting performance from the Owls, who made 10-of-13 shots to push their lead to 20 points. Lauren Schwartz and Nancy Mulkey led the team in scoring with 19 points apiece.
UTSA managed more than three points in the opening frame during the rematch on Saturday, but the result was the same. Rice held the roadrunner to 32.9 percent shooting and never let the Roadrunners get within striking distance after the Owls took the early lead. Sydne Wiggins had a season-high 14 points, but it was Mulkey, again, who led the team in scoring with 20 points.
Rice has now won 36 of their last 38 games against Conference USA opponents. Tina Langley’s squad has adapted as they’ve gone, developing complementary pieces to keep the Owls consistently ahead of their conference foes.
Player Spotlight | Katelyn Crosthwait
Crosthwait is making the most of her insertion into the starting lineup this season. She scored 20 points across the two games against UTSA, also contributing six assists and a pair of steals. She’s continued to develop as a shot maker and consistently provides the Owls another option on that side of the court. Crosthwait was third on the team in minutes played on the weekend.
Stat Corner | Shooters shoot and stoppers stop
Rice is No. 1 in Conference USA in field goal percentage, connecting on a staggering 50% of their shots through seven games. The Owls are also No. 1 on the defensive side, limiting their opponents to 31.6 percent shooting from the field.
Old Dominion is the only other team in the conference to rank in the top half of both metrics. The Monarchs rank fourth in shooting percentage and sixth in shooting defensive percentage.
The Owls have always hung their hat on suffocating defense. Adding an explosive offense that takes (and makes) high percentage shots will make this team hard to beat in conference play.
Rice women’s basketball will open their home slate of Conference USA games next weekend against UTEP. Once again, it will be another Friday/Saturday double feature. The Miners are 5-2 this season. Like the Owls, they also swept their opening C-USA series. UTEP took both games against Southern Miss by final scores of 83-65 and 74-72, respectively.