Conference Champions prepare for season finale against Rice
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 23:03
In their regular season finale, the Lady Mustangs (21-7, 12-3 C-USA) will look to clinch sole possession of the Conference USA title on Thursday when they travel to Houston to face the Rice Owls (13-15, 5-10 C-USA).
This regular season title is the third in school history (2000 and 2009).
If SMU does lose, and East Carolina or Tulane win, there will be a share of the title.
After losing back-to-back games just over a week ago, the Mustangs will look to finish the regular season on a strong note before the conference tournament begins.
Although the Mustangs were able to come away with a victory on Sunday, SMU had not been playing as consistently as it had earlier this season.
After winning their first nine games of league play, the Mustangs have gone 3-3 since.
SMU has struggled to shoot the ball as of late. The Mustangs shot just 36 percent from the field, but relied on their defense to take the championship clinching victory against the Miners.
Keena Mays, who had 11 points in the first half, scored just two points in the second half, but will look to finish off her strong season in Houston with a big game.
SMU’s lone senior, Alisha Filmore, averages just over 10 ppg, but finished with just two points and six rebounds on Sunday.
On Thursday, the Mustangs will face a Rice team that has struggled throughout the entire season.
The Owls are not pushovers, however, as they are 4-3 in home games against conference opponents, which means SMU cannot take this match up too lightly.
Rice is led by one player who averages double-digit scoring, forward Jessica Kuster. The junior from San Antonio averages 16.2 points along with nearly 10 rebounds per contest.
The Owls do not score a ton of points, averaging just 57 points per contest versus SMU’s average of 69, so look for the Mustangs to try and exploit that early and often in order to enter the tournament play on a strong note.
Following SMU’s regular-season finale on Thursday, the Mustangs will have a bye in the first round of the conference tournament before resuming play March 14 in Tulsa.