Soaring High

Houston-area talent help lift Rice Women's hoops to National Ranking

With the five former teammates back together, the chemistry has helped guide Rice. Via VYPE

Originally Appeared on VYPE


HOUSTON – When they were in high school, Olivia Ogwumike and Nancy Mulkey would talk about one day playing on the same college team.

Along with playing on the same high school team at Cypress Woods, where they won a state championship in 2015, Olivia, sister Erica and Mulkey also played on the same AAU team during the summer.

In the early 2010s, Erica and Olivia Ogwumike and Nancy Mulkey all suited up for Cy Fair Shock Elite along with The Woodlands' Nicole Iademarco.

"I just remember the fun times we had," Erica said. "Not even playing basketball sometimes. AAU you travel around the country, you play in the biggest tournaments and we would have fun just to go eat."

In that same organization, Kinkaid's Jasmine Smith played for the team just below at the time those four were there.

"It was funny because I remember them but they don't remember us," Smith, who is averaging 6.4 points per game, said with a laugh. "I was with the younger group, so we were their practice players. They made us better."

Now in 2019, after going their separate ways after high school, the group is back together at Rice University.

Erica, Iademarco, Mulkey and Smith, who is a freshman, are four of the starting five for the now-nationally ranked Rice Owls.

"We kind of talked about playing together in high school but didn't have the opportunity to right out," Iademarco said. "To be able to all transfer back home and play together has been a really special thing."


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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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