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


Women’s hoops dominate Rice

The SMU women’s basketball team celebrated its 64-50 win over Rice last night in a new way.

“I said I would give Sharee two chest bumps if we won,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said.

From the tip-off, the Mustangs were on a roll. Rice only led in the first five and a half minutes of the game, and then SMU took over with tough defense, hutling for loose balls.

“We create scoring opportunities with our defense,” Rompola said. “We are better when they pressure.”

Defense was the key against a Rice team that won six of its last seven games and that beat SMU in Houston on Jan. 25 by 11 points. The Mustangs held Rice to 31.1 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers. Freshman Delisha Wills had a season-high three blocks. Rompola said the biggest difference between the women’s first meeting against Rice this season was the pressure on Rice’s outside shooting.

“Today we said we would go out and pressure their point guards and wings,” Rompola said.

Having Shepherd in the lineup helped the Mustangs achieve that goal. Shepherd was all over the court with nine rebounds and one block. Most of those rebounds came at critical times in the second half.

” ‘Ree brings rebounding to our lineup besides being a solid defender. She can rebound in a crowd and came up with some big defensive rebounds,” Rompola said. “She has some of the longest arms in the conference, and she elevates.”

Rebounding and tenacious defense translated to points on the other end of the court. Junior Janielle Dodds led the Mustangs with 22 points, followed by freshman Delisha Wills who had 14 and freshman Brittany Gilliam who added nine points off the bench.

The Mustangs only had a four-point lead going into halftime, but midway through the second half that lead increased to 15 points. Rice tried to come back in the last few minutes of the game, cutting the lead to 10, but SMU kept its defense and energy and played until the end.

Gilliam had two beautiful spin-around jumpers to the basket and Dodds and Wills were solid from the free-throw line, each going four for four. On the offensive end of the court, communication made the Mustangs successful.

“Every day in practice we say ‘Talk, talk, talk,'” Shepherd said.

Freshman Jillian Samuels also had a solid game with eight points, two assists, three steals and was two from six from beyond the arc. She also helped set up the offense most of the game while Katie Cobb rested on the bench.

“J.B. came in and she was a spark defensively,” Rompola said. “She can also really shoot the three.”

The Mustangs now turn their attention to Houston on Saturday. On Jan. 27 in Houston, the Cougars won 81-65. SMU already knows what to focus on in practice.

“Rebounding. They had 68 rebounds against us last time,” Shepherd said. “We also have to do a better job defending their best player, Tye Jackson. We are going to get after it.”

Rompola hopes the wins against Marshall and Rice will give her team more confidence and possibly start a surge late in the season.

“This is probably one of our biggest conference wins, because it is at a time when we need it,” Rompola said. “We learned from the ECU game and know we have to be defensively aggressive. We are trying to finish this home stand on a positive note.”

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