EL PASO, Texas -- The UTEP women's basketball team has started the season on the right foot.
Two back-to-back victories against Southern Mississippi has the Miners at 2-0 in Conference USA play, 5-2 overall.
But perhaps their toughest challenge of the season awaits them this weekend in Houston.
UTEP will face the 6-1 Rice Owls in back-to-back contests Friday and Saturday.
The Owls are coming off two straight victories against UT-San Antonio.
Rice is the toughest team in Conference USA as they are the defending regular season champions of C-USA.
This season the Owl have victories against Texas Tech, Houston Baptist and Louisiana.
Their only loss of the season came at the hands of Texas A&M, but that game could have gone either way with the Aggies escaping with a 57-53 victory.
UTEP head coach Kevin Baker knows his squad will have their hands full against a tough Rice team.
"I love challenges like this," Baker said. "We're going to go down to Houston, we don't have anything to lose. We have a very young team, and we're going to get after them. Hopefully it will be good enough.
Baker says Rice hasn't seen UTEP's up tempo style of play this season.
"We're hoping that the style will bother them some," Baker said.
UTEP will take on Rice Friday, and then again Saturday, both games will be at noon in Houston.
Following their games against Rice, UTEP will return home for a 2 game series against North Texas.