Mustangs upset by rival Rice Owls, but hang on to defeat Houston Cougars
It was another divided weekend for the SMU women’s basketball team. The team suffered a tough loss against Rice University Thursday night. However the squad was able to regroup and beat Houston in their second game of the weekend, on Saturday afternoon.
In recent history, SMU holds a good record against the Rice Owls (winning the previous five games), but the Mustangs were not able to recover after trailing 17 points going into the second half.
SMU trailed early with low overall shooting accuracy (33.3 percent at the final buzzer) and six missed outside shots in the first quarter. Despite an energetic attempt to catch up, SMU was not able to outshoot the Owls in Hofheinz Pavilion.
Senior Brittany Gilliam’s 3-point shot in the last minute of the game was enough to put the Mustangs just within one point of the Owls, but junior Haley Day’s missed three-pointer left SMU behind. The final score was 61-58 in favor of the Owls. Despite the disappointing loss, Gilliam did score a season high 24 points.
Less than 48 hours later, SMU was back on the court tipping off against the University of Houston. Houston was the second of four consecutive away games for the Mustangs.
Both teams had a Conference USA record of 4-2 prior to Sunday’s game. Earlier in the weekend, the Houston Cougars won their match against Tulsa University, the team currently ranked last in C-USA.
At first, it looked like the Mustangs would repeat their previous game as the Cougars earned a 9-2 lead within the first two minutes of play. However, the Mustangs cut the lead to two, 11-9, with a little over 16 minutes left in the first half.
Houston answered right back, hitting six of eight shots to retake a commanding lead, 26-13. The teams wavered back and forth, jostling to maintain or obtain the advantage.
Finally, Gilliam was able to send the Mustangs to the locker room on a good note. After her fast break resulting in a layup, the Mustangs were ahead 35-34.
Unlike the previous game, SMU had nearly a 50-percent shooting average and it showed. Little changed in the second half; the two teams continued the heated competition for the lead. SMU maintained control of the game and finished 74-67.
The women will not return to Moody Coliseum until Feb. 12 to play Rice University for the second time. Prior to returning home, the team will play the University of Texas- El Paso on Feb. 5 and Tulane University on Feb. 7. SMU is currently tied with Tulane for the No. 2 spot in C-USA.