Despite optimism prior to the weekend, the SMU women’s basketball team was unable to defeat either University of Texas-El Paso or Tulane University.
“These are teams who play very well at home… this is going to give us a little better idea of where we’re at as we approach the middle of the conference,” commented head coach Rhonda Rompola late last week.
The result Friday’s game against UTEP was a shock at any level. Purely looking at the past, the Mustangs had the upper hand. In previous seasons, the Mustangs were 22- 6 against the Miners. SMU had also just hosted UTEP Jan. 15 and finished 11 points ahead, 72-61.
However, the Miners were able to return the favor this weekend, winning by 10 points, 71-61. The Mustangs largest lead this match came within the first five minutes of play, when they were only ahead by one basket. After that minimal lead, they were in a continuous game of catch up. UTEP went to the locker room at half time up by five, 30-25.
With a little more than three minutes left in the second half, SMU was still far behind trailing by 13. In those three minutes remaining, junior Haley Day cut the lead to only three, leaving the score at 63-60 with only 49 seconds on the clock. Day then fouled out of the game. She joined teammate Christine Elliot on the bench after she fouled out with a little over eight minutes left. Without two key players, UTEP was able to extend their lead to 10 points before the final buzzer.
With their third game on the road complete, the women traveled on to New Orleans to play Tulane University Sunday afternoon. Again, judging based on history, SMU did have the upper hand. The Mustangs have won the last four out of five games against the Green Wave, including their last match hosted by SMU on Jan. 17, when the Mustangs won, 70-59.
As anticipated by Rompola, the Tulane defense had SMU locked down. The Mustangs were able to gain a small, four point lead during the first half, but before the end of the half, the Green Wave took control. The Mustangs trailed by 13. SMU was unable to score in the second half until there was only 11:57 left in the game. With nearly nine minutes left in the game, Tulane was up by 32 points. After a hard fight on behalf of the Mustangs, the final score finished at 78-59.
During the four game road trip, SMU had one victory and suffered three losses. They will now return to Moody Coliseum for two games this weekend. SMU will host Rice Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and then host Houston Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. The game against Houston will be televised on ESPN and will also be the “Think Pink” game of the season.