Following one of the greatest seasons in program history, Rice University Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced on Thursday that women’s basketball head coach Tina Langley has agreed to a new five-year contract that will run through the 2024 season.
“Tina Langley is an elite coach who has driven our women’s basketball program to unprecedented heights,” Karlgaard said. “Her success goes way beyond rankings and championships. She is a fantastic leader and molder of young women. The lives of our student-athletes will be better decades from now as a result of the lessons learned under Coach Langley.”
“I cannot thank President Leebron and Joe Karlgaard enough for the amazing amount of support they continue to provide our program and to Rice Athletics,” Langley said. “Our success is a product of a culture that encourages the best from everyone at Rice: our student-athletes, our student body, our staff, and everyone who proudly calls themselves a Rice Owl.”
“I am blessed to be at such a special place that changes the lives of all those who call it home. We believe there is no limit to what this program can achieve moving forward and I am grateful for the opportunity to take this journey together.”
In 2018-19, Langley led the Owls to a program record 28 wins, and a sweep of the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. The Owls became the first team in league history to go undefeated (16-0) in conference play and also claim the tournament title. Rice advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 14 years, going toe-to-toe with No. 18 Marquette in a 58-54 loss.
Langley was awarded the C-USA Coach of the Year in a season where the Owls set a program record by winning 21 consecutive games and earned their first-ever AP Top-25 ranking, spending a total of five weeks in the poll while climbing as high as No. 21 prior to the NCAA Tournament. The Owls also made their first appearance in the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 23 prior to the NCAA Tournament.
Under Langley’s guidance, the Owls placed three players (Erica Ogwumike- First Team; Nancy Mulkey- First Team; Nicole Iademarco- Second Team) on All-Conference Teams last season. In addition, Ogwumike became the first player in program history to earn Player of the Year honors and Mulkey was selected the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. Senior Lauren Grigsby was also recognized as the C-USA Sixth Player of the Year.
Ogwumike and Mulkey are also two of 36 players in the nation selected to be a part of the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s Pan American Games Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.
With Langley at the helm, the Owls have reached the 20-win plateau in three consecutive seasons and have compiled 73 total victories (22, 23, and 28) over that span, the greatest three-year stretch in program history. The Owls have played in the postseason in each of the last three seasons, which includes a WBI championship in 2017 and a second round WNIT appearance in 2018.
The Owls return a loaded squad with nine players back next season, including starters Jasmine Smith, Sydne Wiggins, Ogwumike and Mulkey. In addition, the Owls will welcome in the top-ranked recruiting class in C-USA for a second straight season with the additions of Ashlee Austin, India Bellamy, Katelyn Crosthwait, Destiny Jackson and Lauren Schwartz.
Photo Courtesy Rice AthleticsCUSA Rice