SMU Stumbles against UAB in Second Round of C-USA Tournament

March 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team fell to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, 64-55, Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA Championship tournament at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.

SMU (20-10, 10-7 C-USA) jumped to an 18-6 lead midway through the first half following a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Heidi Brandenburg, but the Blazers (16-14, 10-8 C-USA) went on a 12-0 run to tie the game.

Senior post Alice Severin led the Mustangs with eight first-half points, and SMU took a 25-22 lead into halftime.

After missing all five three-point attempts in the first half, however, UAB improved to shoot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc in the second half and take the lead with over 17 minutes to play.

“They’re a very good team,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of the Blazers in a post-game radio interview. “We just ran into some unforced errors.”

Three UAB players combined to score 60 of the team’s 64 points – senior forward Tamika Dukes (21 points) and freshmen guards Amber Jones (23) and Jala Harris (16).

The Mustangs were led by 13 points apiece from junior guard Haley Day and senior guard Jillian Samuels.

Severin finished with 10 points while sophomore post Christine Elliot scored eight points with a game-high 16 rebounds.

Senior forward Brittany Gilliam scored just four points and committed four turnovers before fouling out with 8:01 left in the game.

“When you have somebody of Brittany’s caliber sitting on the bench,” Rompola said, “it’s very difficult because it takes away some leadership, and we were missing that a little bit.”

The team will find out Monday if it is selected for the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

Gilliam, Samuels Lead SMU to 71-52 Win Over Tulsa on Senior Night

March 3, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team, having secured a first-round bye in next week’s Conference USA Championship Tournament, won its 20th game of the season Wednesday with a 71-52 victory over Tulsa at Moody Coliseum.

Senior guard Brittany Gilliam led the way for SMU (20-9, 10-6 C-USA) with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, good for her fifth double-double of the year.

Junior forward Haley Day also picked up her third double-double this season with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Golden Hurricane (12-15, 6-10 C-USA) shot just 24.7 percent on field goals in the game, including 0-for-12 on three-point attempts in the second half.

Freshman guard Alisha Filmore scored a career-high 12 points and senior guard Jillian Samuels finished with 11 points and two assists in 31 minutes.

“You rely on them,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of her two active seniors. “They have to take over, and they did.”

Senior post Alice Severin is coming back from an injury and did not play against Tulsa, though she is expected to return for the C-USA tournament.

With Severin and sophomore post Christine Elliot unable to play, Rompola turned to sophomore Heidi Brandenburg and freshman Sarah Shelton to create an inside presence.

In her first career start, Brandenburg scored nine points with five rebounds while Shelton came off the bench for eight points and eight defensive rebounds.

“They didn’t play like two players who hadn’t played much,” Rompola said. “I saw Sarah mature as a player today. She actually rebounded with an attitude today, and that was something different.”

Gilliam, Samuels and Severin were each honored before Wednesday’s game as part of SMU Senior Night activities.

Together, the seniors have compiled 82 wins during their time on the Hilltop, tying them with the class of 2000 for the most victories over a four-year span. That was also the only other class at SMU to reach 20 wins three years in a row.

“I think that just shows what we’ve done to help this program out,” Gilliam said. “We’re just winners, you know … We don’t like to lose.”

Depending on the outcomes of two conference games Thursday, the Mustangs will enter the 2010 GMC Sierra C-USA Championship in Tulsa as the second, third or fourth seed, though their first-round bye is guaranteed.

Matchups and game times will be announced on Friday.

SMU Downs Southern Miss at Moody, 81-66

February 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan
nregan@smu.edu

The women’s basketball team earned a first-round bye in the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship Tournament with an 81-66 victory Sunday over the University of Southern Mississippi at Moody Coliseum.

SMU (19-9, 9-6 C-USA) was led by 22 points from junior forward Haley Day and 11 rebounds from senior guard Brittany Gilliam, who also scored 19 points against the Golden Eagles (9-19, 5-10 C-USA) for her fourth double-double of the season.

The Mustangs received 15 points from senior guard Jillian Samuels, 10 from sophomore guard Samantha Mahnesmith and a career-high 11 points and six rebounds from sophomore post Heidi Brandenburg.

“We just played better team basketball,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said. “We made the extra pass a couple times, we got a couple of three [pointers] off the extra pass, and I thought it was just a good team victory.”

SMU played with a short roster as posts Christine Elliot and Alice Severin recover from injuries, and at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-2, respectively, their presence near the basket was missed.

The Mustangs had a better shooting rate (25-for-55) than Southern Miss (22-for-68), but the Golden Eagles pulled down more rebounds and scored more points in the paint.

“We knew we had to pick it up because Chris [Elliot] puts up a lot of numbers,” Day said. “And so we knew with her hurt, everybody had to step up.”

Despite the limited roster, SMU led 42-32 at halftime and never trailed in the game.

“We’re a good team at home, and I don’t want our girls to ever forget that,” Rompola said. “It may not always be pretty, but we find ways to win at home, and that’s what good teams have to do.”

The Mustangs will try for their third consecutive 20-win season when they host Tulsa University in this year’s final regular-season game on Wednesday, and Rompola hopes for a better outcome against the Golden Hurricane than the 57-54 road loss on Feb. 18.

“Our start was really poor against Tulsa,” she said. “We just didn’t play well there, we didn’t hit our shots.”

Tip-off against the Golden Hurricane (12-13, 6-8 C-USA) is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Moody Coliseum.