Women’s basketball preps to defend #1 rank

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SMU guard Jillian Samuels in play against East Carolina on Jan. 23 at Moody Coliseum. (Michael Danser / The Daily Campus )

With an important win in their back pockets after defeating the East Carolina University Pirates, the SMU women’s basketball team will saddle up and head to Houston to play Conference USA rival Rice University on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.

Rice is currently 2-3 in conference play and both wins were home games. Just like SMU, they beat East Carolina earlier in the season. However, whereas SMU was able to clinch important conference wins over Memphis and University of Texas-El Paso, Rice fell short against both teams.

After their weekend win, the Mustangs have a record of 4-1 and are now in a three-way tie within C-USA. They are still competing with Memphis University and University of Alabama-Birmingham for the conference title. Out of the three teams, the Mustangs have the best overall record of 14-4.

If SMU can continue their success on the road, they have the potential to rise to the top of the conference this weekend.  Rice is currently in ninth place in front of University of Central Florida, Tulsa and Southern Miss.

In their last five C-USA meetings, the Mustangs have triumphed over the Owls both during home and away matches.

For her dominant performance against the Pirates, senior Brittany Gilliam was named Conference USA player of the week for the second time in her career.

Following Thursday’s game, SMU will play the University of Houston Cougars. Houston has also played East Carolina recently and lost in overtime. The Cougars have a conference record of 3-2 and are ranked No. 6.

In the 2008-09 season, SMU beat the Cougars in Dallas and suffered a close loss in Houston. This will be the first time that the teams meet this season.

SMU will continue their away matches with two other games: UTEP and Tulane. Both are conference games and all will be important to the final C-USA standings. The Mustangs will return to Moody Coliseum on Feb. 12, when they will face Rice University for the second time.


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