The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Instagram

SMU dominates Tulsa, 68-49

Mustangs face Marshall in semi-finals
SMU dominates Tulsa, 68-49

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Mustangs did something in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament that they hadn’t done in the previous two games, win.

SMU lost the final two games of the regular season, but that didn’t stop them from making it to the semi-finals of the tournament with a 68-49 win over Tulsa Friday afternoon in the UCF Arena.

The Mustangs fixed the main problem they had in those two losses, defense. SMU gave up 76 points to the UTEP Miners and 71 points to Tulane. That was not the case against Tulsa who only managed 49 points against the Mustangs’ defense.

“Last weekend we didn’t play very good team ball, and when we don’t play good team ball we don’t win ball games,” SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola said. “Today we played team ball.”

But the emphasis on defense early led to a lack of offense as well. With 8:36 left in the first half the Mustangs were down 17-15. SMU was settling for outside shots and not getting the ball down low. But in the final eight minutes of the game the Mustangs turned on the offense.

Led by Delisha Wills and Janielle Dodds the Mustangs went on a 16-0 run to finish the half with a 14-point lead and the game in control.

“We just clicked, I think when we looked at the scoreboard and saw that the score was still really close we realized that we need to pick it up,” Dodds said. “I knew I had to get going.”

The Mustangs kept the pressure on the Golden Hurricane at the beginning of the second half building a lead as large as 26 points with 12:32 left in the game.

“The second half I thought we made a statement in the first five minutes,” Rompola said. “You don’t want to give Tulsa hope.”

There was a special focus by SMU to not lose to Tulsa for the third time this season and to not get knocked out of the tournament early.

“Rhonda talked about it some, but I think our teammates, we talked about it a lot,” Dodds said. “I came into this game personally furious that we had lost to this team twice and was not going to let it happen again.”

The Mustangs used those games to learn how to defend against the Tulsa offense.

“But I think the one thing that definitely was different from what SMU had done in the past was the fact that they had some half court strategy [on defense],” Tulsa head coach Charlene Thomas-Swinson said.

Dodds led the way for the Mustangs scoring 16 points with Brittany Gilliam and Wills also scoring in double digits.

SMU will now face Marshall in the semi-finals at 2 p.m. Saturday in the semi-finals. The Thundering Herd defeated UAB 71-69 in overtime in the game following the Mustangs’.

In their only meeting this season the Mustangs defeated Marshall 72-50 on Jan 20.

More to Discover