Austin Rustand | Posted: 16 Mar 2023 | Updated: 20 Jul 2023

Cougars take on Rice in WNIT round of 64

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BYU women's basketball prepares for a game at the Marriott Center.

PROVO, Utah — BYU women's basketball will open its WNIT Postseason Tournament play as the Cougars take on the Rice Owls in the Round of 64 on Friday at the Marriott Center. The game will tip at 7 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on and the BYUtv App.

RICE: The Rice Owls went 22-8 during the 2022-23 campaign and finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak before falling to UTSA in the opening round of the Conference USA Tournament. The Owls are led by four double-figure scorers: Ashlee Austin (12.5), Malia Fisher (12.1), Destiny Jackson (10.9) and India Ballamy (10.7).

Rice averages 72.3 points while shooting 44.4 percent as a team and 32.5 percent from 3-point land while holding opponents to 66.6 points, 41.8 percent from the field and 28.3 percent from downtown. The Owls took home the 2021 WNIT Championship by knocking off Ole Miss 71-58.

WNIT HISTORY: The Cougars’ last trip to the WNIT came in 2017 when they fell to Washington State 72-64 at the Marriott Center. BYU has made nine appearances in the tournament, advancing to the Great Eight in 2010, the third round three times (2013, 2011, 1982) and the second round in 2001. 

LAST GAME: The Cougars earned a trip to the WCC semifinal where they met the Gonzaga Bulldogs who downed BYU 79-64. Despite hitting seven threes in the game, the Cougars shot only 35.7 percent from the floor to the Zags 54.5 percent from the field.

BYU was led by Nani Falatea’s 17 points, going 8-for-8 from the line, four steals, four rebounds and three assists. Emma Calvert was the only other Cougar to score in double figures as she went 4-for-5 from the floor for 13 points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing three assists.

MILESTONES AND AWARDS: Lauren Gustin recorded nine rebounds in the UCU WCC semifinal against Gonzaga which increased her season total to 532, the seventh-most rebounds in a single season in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history.

Earlier in the season, Gustin became the only player at any level of NCAA basketball to record both 500 points and 500 rebounds this season en route to being named the WCC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Gustin was joined by Nani Falatea on the All-WCC First Team while Amanda Barcello was selected to the WCC All-Freshman Team. 

NATION’S BEST: Forward Lauren Gustin was named one of 10 final candidates for the 2023 Katrina McClain Award, her second-consecutive year with that honor. She leads the nation with 16.9 rebounds per game and 523 total rebounds. She is second in the country with 26 double-doubles in 31 games.

The junior from Salem, Utah has posted 20 or more rebounds eight times this year to lead the country. Gustin was also named to the Naismith College Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Award watch list.

The winner of tomorrow's contest will face the winner of Oregon and North Dakota State in the WNIT Round of 32. 

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