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Kuster climbs career scoring list as Rice ousts UIW

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Assuming she stays healthy, it’s more a question of when rather than if.

Jessica Kuster should leave Rice University with the most points ever scored in women’s basketball school history.

Kuster moved into third place Friday in career points during the Owls 72-57 win over University of the Incarnate Word. Rice improved to 7-6 going into Conference USA play Wednesday.

The 13-point performance Friday gave Kuster 1,712 career points. She passed Lauren Neaves (2003-2007, 1,711 points) for third and Marla Brumfield (1997-2000, 1,703 points) for fourth. She also has exceeded the point totals of three other players since starting the season eighth on the scoring list.

Ahead of Kuster is Holly Jones, who scored 1,791 points from 1984 to 1987, and Pat Krieger, who scored 1,851 points form 1979 to 1982. Her record has stood for 31 years.

Kuster is 140 points away from breaking the record. She averages 13.8 per points a contest. If she kept that average, she would break the record in 11 games, a home date against UTSA on Feb. 15. Rice has a minimum of 17 games left, its entire conference slate and at least one Conference USA tournament game.

While Kuster had her usual double-double against UIW, she had plenty of help offensively. Freshman Jasmine Goodwine scored a career high 16 points off the bench. Christal Porter added 17 points and 9 rebounds after getting blanked against Lamar five days earlier.

“We have great off-court chemistry, and I feel like we’ve been waiting for that point in the year where we can see it come on to the floor,” Kuster said in the post-game news conference. “Our last two games we’re really good team victories.”

Rice coach Greg Williams complimented Porter. The junior from Germantown, Tenn., was 8 of 10 shooting and grabbed a game-high five offensive rebounds.

“It was Christal Porter’s best game in a long time with 17 and 9,” Williams said. “She was aggressive on the offensive glass, which was good to see.”

UIW is a San Antonio school transitioning to NCAA Division I. They are playing in the Southland Conference for the first time.

The Cardinals (6-6) shot 34 percent from the field Friday and only scored 18 points in the paint.

“It’s always nice to win at home,” Williams said. “We did some good things tonight. We had a nice night at the line, 14 out of 15. We had a strong night on the board, with a 48 to 26 advantage there.”

Rice begins Conference USA play with a trip to South Florida. The Owls face Florida International on Wednesday and play at Florida Atlantic Jan. 11. The first conference home game is Jan. 15 against Louisiana Tech. All three opponents are new to C-USA this season.

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