Gilliam’s Three Wins it for Mustangs

January 30, 2009  

With the score tied and only 4.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Brittany Gilliam shoots a three pointer to win the game. (SMU DAILY MUSTANG / ALAN H. ROSE)

With the score tied and only 4.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Brittany Gilliam shoots a three pointer to win the game. (PHOTO BY ALAN H. ROSE / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

By Robby Gillespie
rgillespie@smu.edu

Brittany Gilliam was just happy it went in. She had missed every second half shot she took until five seconds left in a tied game when she swished a three-pointer to seal the Mustangs’ victory.

“It was just an open jump shot,” Gilliam said. “When it left my hand everything felt good.”

After scoring eight points in the first half, Gilliam missed her first three shots of the second, before clinching the victory for the Mustangs Thursday night over Houston (12-7, 4-3 Conference USA) at Moody Coliseum.

SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola said,? “We dodged a bullet today.”

SMU (13-7, 6-1 Conference USA) led by as much as 12 half way through the first half, but a ten point scoring spurt by Houston’s Cobilyn Hill dropped SMU’s lead to five at halftime.

Cold shooting from the Mustangs and more scoring from Hill in the second half led to a five point Houston lead with 3:06 left.

“She [Cobilyn Hill] hurt us today,” Rompola said. “But we still found a way to win.”

After a Jillian Samuels three-pointer and a Houston miss, SMU called a timeout with 11.2 seconds left.

“We were actually trying to run a play to post up [Gilliam] down low,” Rompola said. “You got to take what the defense gives you and that wasn’t exactly what we called but we reacted to what they did.”

The game-winning three gave the Mustangs a share of the top spot in the Conference USA. Gilliam and Samuels led the team with eleven points each.

SMU shot 39.3 percent from the field and was six for 13 from behind the arc.

“We were a little out of sync today,” Rompola said. “We needed to keep our cool as a team, not trying to get everything at once. We’ve got to play a little looser.”

The Cougars didn’t show their best play as well, making only 12 of 44 shots in the first half. They finished the game 24 for 72 from the field.

SMU looks to extend their winning streak to six on Saturday against Rice at Moody Coliseum. The Owls have lost their last seven games.

Gilliam said the team is growing more comfortable with each other, which leads to more victories.

“Everyone’s starting to know their own roles,” Gilliam said. “It’s just different people stepping up every night.”

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