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

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Women’s basketball back in win column

 Womens basketball back in win column
Photo by Nate Regan, The Daily Campus
Women’s basketball back in win column

Women’s basketball back in win column (Photo by Nate Regan, The Daily Campus)

The SMU women’s basketball team (13-3, 4-2 WAC) was looking for someone to step up and bring an end to its first losing streak of the season. During a 58-37 victory over the San Jose State Spartans (9-6, 2-3 WAC) Saturday afternoon, first-years Sharee Shepherd and Brittany Barker filled that need with their best performances of their short SMU careers.

Shepherd led the Mustangs with 10 rebounds and was the second leading scorer with 10 points.

“I thought Sharee did a great job with her defensive stops,” Head Coach Rhonda Rompola said. “And she provided us with a lot of energy. She is our spark plug out there.”

Barker scored seven points in just seven minutes, all of which came in the second half. She also chipped in three rebounds.

The two freshmen were key in a game where the Mustangs as a team struggled to shoot the ball. SMU shot 30 percent from the field and 52 percent from the free throw line with only Shepherd and Barker shooting above 50 percent individually from the field.

The key for the Mustangs was their tenacious defense, which held the Spartans to only 24.5 percent shooting.

“We had two keys before the game and that was limiting Amber Jackson’s touches and stopping their transition game,” Rompola said, “and we couldn’t have executed either any better.”

The Spartans did not have a single fast break point in the contest, and Jackson, who had been averaging 17.6 points on 69.8 percent shooting (the best in the nation), was held to four points on two-for-four shooting.

The Mustangs and the Spartans held each other scoreless for the first five minutes of the game before Kendall Shead knocked down a three-pointer to break the ice.

The first half was sluggish as both teams failed to take advantage of open looks, and although the Mustangs held a 19-17 lead, Shead knew they could play better.

“In the second half,” she explained, “we did a better job of settling down, reading the zone, and connecting with each other.” These connections led to a 39-point second half, paced by Katie Gross’ 14 points and the bench contributions of Shepherd and Barker.

Shead chipped in eight points and seven rebounds while Sarah Davis had eight points and six boards.

The team performance helped overcome a poor shooting day by starters Janielle Dodds, Shonte Roberts and Katy Cobb. The trio, despite not having their best offensive games, helped shut down the Spartans on the defensive end as the Mustangs held San Jose State to 22 points below their season average. The Mustangs are seventh in the nation in field goal percentage defense, a hallmark of a great defensive team.

The win was important as the Mustangs snapped their two-game losing streak, and it also leaves the team in second place in the WAC behind Louisiana Tech. The Lady Techsters come to town on Saturday to take on the Mustangs in Moody Coliseum at 2 p.m.

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