Women's Basketball Looks for Crisp Play vs. Rice
Rebounding Will Be Key Against Owls Tough Bigs
DENTON -- The last two games for the North Texas women's basketball team have been on opposite ends of the spectrum.
In their first Conference USA game of the season, the Mean Green were edged by UTEP after a back-and-forth contest from start to finish. Only two days later in San Antonio against the Roadrunners, the Mean Green came out flat, making one field goal in the first nine minutes and sputtering to an eight-point loss.
Five days after the team fell to 1-12 and 0-2 in C-USA, North Texas will play its first conference home game of the year January 10 when Rice comes to the Super Pit at 4 p.m. The Owls boast a 6-7 overall record, including 1-1 in C-USA; they have also faced UTEP and UTSA, but defeated the Roadrunners January 2 in overtime.
"I thought we've shown some improvement offensively, especially at UTEP, but we need to continue to improve offensively and we need to score," head coach Mike Petersen explained regarding his keys to the game.
After what Petersen called lack of "toughness" against UTSA - which led to the Mean Green being out-rebounded 39-30 and losing out on a lot of loose balls throughout the game - he expects that it was a one-time issue.
"That was out of character with us, so I'm gonna assume that was kind of an outlier," he said.
Perhaps the most important battle in this game will take place on the glass. Rice's Christal Porter leads C-USA with 10.8 boards per game and the Owls average a +4.6 rebounding mark. For the Mean Green to be competitive underneath, it will have to be a total team effort.
"One of the challenges with Rice will be rebounding the ball," Petersen said. "They're small at the point, but they're big at the other four spots. We've gotta rebound at all five spots."
Although it is an intrastate rivalry, this will be only the fifth time Rice and North Texas have ever met; the all-time series is 2-2. The Mean Green have not defeated the Owls in Denton since January 2, 1990 in former head coach Tina Slinker's first season.