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Women’s B-ball rebounds against LA Tech

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Photo by Marielle Brisbois | The Rice Thresher

Senior Jessica Kuster takes a jump shot against Old Dominion University on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The Owls lost the game 85-49, but responded with a 61-56 win against Louisiana Tech on the road.

By Michael Kidd     2/26/14 9:35am

The Rice University women’s basketball team played two games last week against Old Dominion University and Louisiana Tech University. On Wednesday, Feb. 19 the Owls played Old Dominion for the first time in school history, losing 85-49.

The Rice University women’s basketball team played two games last week against Old Dominion University and Louisiana Tech University. On Wednesday, Feb. 19 the Owls played Old Dominion for the first time in school history, losing 85-49.The Rice University women’s basketball team played two games last week against Old Dominion University and Louisiana Tech University. On Wednesday, Feb. 19 the Owls played Old Dominion for the first time in school history, losing 85-49. The Owls managed to shoot 32 percent for the game and were out-rebounded by a mark of 53-31. Senior forward Jessica Kuster led the Owls with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Megan Palmer added 13 points and seven rebounds. 

Following the home loss against Old Dominion, the Owls went on the road to face Louisiana Tech and won 61-56. Kuster earned her 24th double-double of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Already owning Rice’s all-time scoring and rebounding records, Kuster added another record to her name by breaking the Rice single-season rebounds record of 344. She currently has 349 rebounds during the season, and her career double-double total of 64 is one shy of tying the all-time Conference USA record. Junior guard Christal Porter received a double-double for her performance with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while junior guard Nikachi Maduka contributed 15 points and three blocks in the victory.



Kuster said she was very proud of the way the Owls bounced back after the loss against Old Dominion.

“The Old Dominion loss was a rough one, but we came back to practice the next two days ready to learn from it and build on our mistakes,” Kuster said. “Instead of getting down on ourselves, we took it as a sign that we needed to help push each other [in order to] win against [Louisiana] Tech.”

Head Coach Greg Williams said the team played with much more offensive and defensive focus against Louisiana Tech.

“The effort and defensive focus were the two things I felt were the keys for us bouncing back on the road and getting a win,” Williams said. “We also [had] more balanced scoring, and we shot the ball much better against Louisiana Tech than we did against Old Dominion.”

Maduka said the upcoming game against the University of North Texas will be determined by how the Owls start the game. She expects the Mean Green to play aggressive basketball.

“I know a few players on the North Texas team, and [I] know they will come out with full energy [and play] hard and scrappy,” Maduka said. “[Winning] just depends on which Rice Owls choose to show up that day.”

Williams said he understands that the match against North Texas is an important game because of Conference USA seeding in the upcoming tournament. He said North Texas will not go down easy.

“They [are coming] in tied with us with the same conference record, so it is a pivotal game in terms of [position in] the Conference tournament held in two weeks,” Williams said. “[North Texas] just upset the second-ranked conference team, UTEP, earlier this week, so they are a very capable team and are very well coached.”

The Owls will play the Mean Green at home Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. Rice will then play again Saturday, March 1 against the University of Texas, El Paso at 11 a.m. The game against UTEP is senior day for the Owls and will be the final home game for the only senior currently on the team, Jessica Kuster.

Williams is hoping many students and Rice fans will come out to support Kuster and be a part of her final game at Tudor. He said they should come out to see the last home game of one of the best players in Rice women’s basketball history. 

“I would hope that many students and Rice basketball fans come out on Saturday to see the greatest player in Rice University history in her final home game as her remarkable career comes to a close,” Williams said.



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