Panther Preview: FIU women’s basketball vs. Rice Owls

Tanajah Hayes (Left) for FIU and Ashlee Austin (Right) for Rice. Photos courtesy of FIU and Rice Athletics.

Loralei Gonzalez | Contributing Writer

The Panthers head into the Lone Star State with a vengeance, hoping to snap a four year losing streak.

FIU takes on the Rice Owls on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Tudor Fieldhouse. The Panthers are looking to rebound from their recent loss to the Lady Techsters, 76-65. However, FIU doesn’t have the best luck in the Texas arena. In the last decade, the Panthers have only won three out of eight games against the Owls. The team’s last win against Rice was in the 2017-2018 season.

Although FIU is fifth in Conference USA with a 12-11 overall record, the team’s away games have been dissapointing. The Panthers have lost their last four away games, leaving them with a 2-6 record on the road. Something just isn’t clicking when they play outside of the Sunshine State.

There’s a good side to everything, however. Senior and sophomore guards Kaliah Henderson and Tanajah Hayes are shining brighter than ever. Henderson recently tied her career high of 28 points during the Louisiana Tech game. Hayes is leading the team in assists (3.8) and steals (2.6) and recorded a new career high of 27 points against the UAB Blazers. Freshman guard Sifa Joyeuse is also consistently assisting in offense during her first year on the squad, averaging 10.2 points per game.

The Panthers and Owls are evenly matched opponents, bearing similar records. The difference maker here is that the Owls are 10-2 at home and the Panthers are 2-6 on the road. Combine this with the fact that FIU hasn’t beaten Rice for four years, it’s tough to see the Panthers pulling this one out. They have the talent to do so, but history is not on their side.

Catch the game at 2:00 p.m. ET on C-USA.tv.

Prediction:
FIU: 62
RICE: 73