SMU women’s basketball maintains their No. 3 rank in the Conference USA after defeating No. 7 ranked Tulane University on Jan. 17. The match started off slow for the Mustangs, who trailed behind all the way into halftime. Despite strong efforts to close the gap, SMU returned to the locker room down by three, 33-30.
Head coach Rhonda Rompola has spent a lot of energy explaining to the team the importance of playing both halves of the game with intensity and focus. Her efforts were evident Sunday afternoon as SMU took the court and scored four points immediately.
The teams battled for the lead until a pair of free throws from sophomore Christine Elliot secured the Mustangs’ advantage. SMU led the remainder of the game, with a final score of 70-59. The Mustangs’ defense has been able to hold most opponents to comparable scores all season.
On top of the win, SMU fans also had reason to celebrate, senior Jillian Samuels scored a total of 20 points for the second time in her career, as well as earning a total of 1,000 points as a Mustang.
In addition to sinking two key shots, Elliot added 10 more points to the SMU scoreboard. Gilliam only contributed eight points Sunday. It was a low scoring game for Gilliam, currently averaging 13.1 points per game.
Tulane head coach, Lisa Stockton, appeared frustrated with the team’s performance.
“We had too many turnovers… we had 23 today. You can’t be careless with the ball against good teams,” Stockton said according to tulanegreenwave.com.
However, Tulane senior Chassity Brown was able to set a school record with nine steals against the Mustangs.
SMU will return to the court in Houston against Rice on Jan. 28 and will then play Houston on the 30th. Rice is ranked No. 9 in C-USA and has a conference record of 2-2.
Houston is a closer match than Rice and Tulane; they are ranked No. 4 and have the same C-USA record as SMU (3-1). However, Houston has an overall record of 10-7, placing them slightly behind SMU who is 13-4.