#26 Rice Women's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Rice Owls
Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #1 C-USA
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Head Coach Tina Langley and her staff have led Rice women’s basketball to unprecedented heights as they have put together three straight 20-win seasons. The Owls ran the table in Conference USA enroute to 28 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament where they lost 58-54 in overtime to Marquette in the first round.
2018-19 Record: 28-4, 16-0
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tina Langley
Coach Record: 82-49 at Rice, 82-49 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Nicole Iademarco, Guard/Forward, 9.0 ppg
Lauren Grigsby, Guard, 7.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Erica Ogwumike, Senior, Guard, 16.5 ppg
Nancy Mulkey, Junior, Center, 13.9 ppg
Sydne Wiggins, Junior, Guard, 6.9 ppg
Jasmine Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 6.1 ppg
Haylee Swazee, Sophomore, Guard, 4.3 ppg
Key New Players
Katelyn Crosthwhait, Freshman, Guard
Destiny Jackson, Freshman, Guard
India Bellamy, Freshman, Forward
Lauren Schwartz, Freshman, Forward
Ashlee Austin, Freshman, Forward
Rice will have an interesting two game stretch in November where Texas A&M will come to Tudor Fieldhouse on November 17th followed by a road trip to Oklahoma State on November 23rd. In December, the Owls will get their shot at a couple of ACC teams in Puerto Rico as they will play Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Those four games should give them enough schedule strength to offset any weakness in their Conference USA schedule this season. Erica Ogwumike is back as the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year. Ogwumike averaged 16.5 points per game and is a force on the boards where she collected 10.5 rebounds per game as well last season. Nancy Mulkey is tough to deal with down in the low blocks as she made 55.2 percent of her shots from the floor while scoring 13.9 points per game. Sydne Wiggins and Jasmine Smith are a solid backcourt combination that should only get better with another year of experience. Bottom line, if the Owls can pick up a couple of key non-conference wins in those four big games it should position them to be a number five, six or seven seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.9 (136th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 52.9 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.5 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.9 (10, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: (33, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.9 (33, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.3 (45, 1)
Rebound Margin: 6.2 (32, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (84, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.2 (135, 8)
Madness 2020 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#16 Erica Ogwumike