SMU hopes to end great season on high note in the women's NIT
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 22:03
Though the disappointment of not earning a berth in the NCAA tournament still lingers over the team, SMU (21-9, 12-4 C-USA) has accepted its automatic bid to play in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
The Mustangs will travel north to meet with the Bowling Green State Falcons in Bowling Green, Ohio Thursday night. The Falcons are a dangerous group that earned a 22-10 record through the course of the season, and an 11-5 conference record versus fellow Mid-American Conference foes.
SMU will be entering into its 18th postseason tournament, and its fifth appearance in the WNIT with a record of 2-4 in the previous showings.
Newly crowned Conference USA player of the year Keena Mays and the rest of SMU’s squad will need to be at their best against the Falcons’ defense averaging only 54 points allowed per contest.
Bowling Green State is led by senior guard Chrissy Steffen’s 11.3 points to go along with her 4.5 rebounds per outing. Steffen is complimented by junior forward Alexis Rogers, the team’s leading rebounder at six per game and 10.7 points.
Mays will definitely need to bring her midseason form to the tournament. The junior transfer was second in C-USA with 19.3 points and nearly four assists a game, but as the season progressed, Mays’ hot start became a tough act to follow.
Although the Mustangs began conference play well, winning their first nine games in a row, they finished with a 3-4 mark, and were upset in the first round of the C-USA tournament by the Central Florida Golden Knights.
The loss all but destroyed any hopes for the regular season conference champions to go to the bigger tournament, but if Mays and the offense can produce against a tough Bowling Green State squad, they should survive and advance to the round of 32.
If SMU wins on Thursday night, they will play either Akron or Duquesne on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.