March 16, 2010
2010 WNIT Game Notes
DALLAS (SMU) - The Mustangs will take on New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., in the first round of the 2010 Women's National Invitation Tournament Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT. The Mustangs finished the season 20-10, tied for second in Conference USA with a 10-6 record, while the Lobos went 18-12 in the regular season, and tied for fifth in the Mountain West Conference with a 9-7 record.
SMU is making its 11th postseason appearance since 1983, and third consecutive trip to a postseason tournament. The Mustangs are making their fourth appearance in the WNIT, with a 2-3 record all-time in the tournament. The Lobos are making their fifth appearance in the WNIT, and have a 9-4 record in the tournament. New Mexico went to the Elite Eight in last year's WNIT, falling to Kansas. SMU is led by All-Conference USA senior guard Brittany Gilliam, who averages 14.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, while Amy Beggin leads the Lobos, scoring 12.9 points with 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Against New Mexico
The Mustangs are 2-1 all-time against the Lobos, winning the first meeting 66-45 on Jan. 12, 1997 in Dallas. The Lobos took the second game of the series, and the only game in Albuquerque, 68-61 on Feb. 6, 1997. SMU won the only postseason meeting, eliminating New Mexico from the 1999 Western Athletic Conference with a 53-45 victory on March 5.
The Mustangs and Lobos had three common opponents this season, Loyola Marymount, TCU and Utah. The Mustangs went 1-2, with a 78-58 win at home against Loyola Marymount and losses against TCU (84-66) and at Utah (72-58). New Mexico went 2-4, downing LMU 74-55 and TCU 60-53, both at home. The Lobos lost 66-54 at TCU, and lost three games against the Utes, including a 51-45 overtime defeat in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The SMU - New Mexico winner will take on the winner between Eastern Washington and Oregon. The Oregon - EWU game will be played Thursday in Eugene, Ore. Eastern Washington finished the season 19-11, while the Ducks posted a 16-15 record. The Mustangs have never faced Oregon, but beat the Eagles 67-60 on Nov. 20, 1982 in the second round of the Wyoming Tournament in Laramie, Wy.
Last Time Out - UAB
The Mustangs fell 64-55 to the Blazers in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Championship. UAB eventually lost in the championship game to Tulane, 62-54.
Haley Dan and Jillian Samuels led the Mustangs with 13 points each, and Day grabbed eight rebounds and passed out four assists.
Alice Severin scored 10 points and had three rebounds and three assists in her first action since suffering an injury at Tulsa on Feb. 18.
Christine Elliott led the Mustangs off the glass, pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds to go with her eight points.
Player of the Week
Brittany Gilliam was named Conference USA Player of the Week for her performance against Tulsa. The senior from Tyler, Texas posted her fifth double-double of the season with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, and handed out eight assists.
Gilliam was also named C-USA Player of the Week on Jan. 25 for her performance against East Carolina.
The senior guard led SMU with 19 points, going 7-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 on 3-point attempts. She also recorded seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Guard Brittany Gilliam ranks sixth in Conference USA with 2.2 per game. She has 63 this season, which is tied for fourth in the league.
The senior has 250 career steals, ranking second all-time at SMU. With three steals at Marshall, Gilliam pusher her career total to 247 steals, passing Suzanne McAnally for second, who recorded 246 from 1988-92. Missy Parker holds the SMU record, finishing her career in 1993 with 290 steals.
Back-to-Back-Back 20-Win Seasons
With a win over Tulsa in the final game of the regular season, SMU recorded its 20th win of the season.
The 2008-09 season marked just the second time in SMU's history that it has put together back-to-back 20 win seasons, posting 20 wins in three straight seasons from 1998-2000.
The Mustangs followed up a 24-win campaign in 2007-08 with a 20-12 mark last year.
The 44 wins combined over the last two seasons is a school record, surpassing the previous best of 42 from 1999-2000.
1,000 Point Club
Brittany Gilliam became the 16th player in school history to reach the 1,000 points, accomplising the feat in the final game of the 2008-09 season.
With 19 points against Tulsa on March 3, Gilliam passed Shasta Smothers-Johnson for sixth all-time at SMU with 1,437 points. She has 1,441 career points, needing 17 points to tie Kim Brandl for fifth at SMU.
This season, Gilliam led the Mustangs, averaging 14.9 points per game.
With 20 points against Tulane, Jillian Samuels not only tied her career-high, but she became the 17th player in SMU history to reach 1,000 points in a career. The senior has 1,177 points, and climbed to 14th with 15 points against Southern Miss Saturday.
Lend a Helping Hand
With a lone assist against Rice on Feb. 12, Brittany Gilliam recorded her 400th career assist. She is just the fourth Mustang to accomplish the feat.
With a career-high 11 assists against UTEP on Jan. 15, Gilliam pushed her career total to 377, passing Missy Parker for fourth all-time. She has 429 for her career.
Gilliam is 35th in the NCAA and second in C-USA, averaging 5.1 assists per game.
Climbing the Conference Charts
Gilliam is one of nine active Conference USA players that has scored 1,000-or-more career points.
The Texas native boasts more than 1,400 career points and is on the verge of ranking among the league's all-time greats in career assists and steals.
With 250 career steals, Gilliam needs one theft to tie for 12th (251). She is 10th in conference history with 429 career assists.
Goal In Sight
Head coach Rhonda Rompola recorded her 350th career win on Feb. 25 with a 69-61 victory over UCF, becoming the second coach at SMU to reach the mark.
Rompola has 352 career victories, needing 17 to record more wins than any other coach at SMU.
Schellas Hyndman (Men's Soccer, 1984-2007) holds the record for most victories by an SMU coach with 368.
Crash the Boards
The Mustangs are 11-3 this season when they grab at least 40 rebounds during a game, with losses at Rice and at home against Houston.
SMU has out-rebounded its opponent in 13 games this season, going 11-2 in those contests, with losses coming at Tulane and at home against Houston.
Three Mustangs finished the season ranked in the top-13 in Conference USA. Christine Elliott is sixth, averaging 8.1 rebounds per game, Haley Day is 12th, grabbing 6.6 per game, and Brittany Gilliam is 13th with 6.2 per contest.
Senior Jillian Samuels became the SMU all-time leader in 3-pointers made, going 3-of-7 from behind the arc against UCF, making 238 in her career. Her second 3-pointer of the game went in with 5:29 left in the first half to push her past Andrea Cossey, who made 236 from 2000-2004.
Valerie King (Cincinatti, 2000-04) holds the C-USA record with 338 career 3-pointers made.
With five made 3-point attempts against Indiana State, Samuels became just the second Mustang to sink 200 career 3-point shots.
On the single-season list, she has placed in the top-10 all three years with 72, 59 and 51. Her 72 converted attempts in 2007-08 is the most in SMU history. Samuels has made 57 3-point baskets this season.
Going Out In Style
The 2010 SMU senior class has 82 wins over the past four seasons, needing one win to record more wins in a four-year span than any other SMU senior class.
The 2000 seniors won 82 games during their careers.
Christine the Machine
Christine Elliott is averaging 10.9 points per game.
She scored at least 10 points in 18 contests this season, including a season-high 18 four times, against Loyola Marymount, North Texas, TCU and Wichita State.
The sophomore is shooting 51.2-percent from the field, ranking fifth in C-USA, connecting on 124-of-242 shots.
She also leads the team and is sixth in the league, averaging 7.8 rebounds per game.
Elliott has five double-doubles this season, sixth in C-USA, and 10 in her career.
What A "Birth" Day
In the four games since her birthday, Feb. 25, Haley Day recorded two double--doubles, and missed a third by one rebound.
Against UCF, on her birthday, Day posted her second double-double of the season, scoring 13 points with 11 rebounds. She was 4-of-9 from the field and 3-of-4 at the free-throw line.
She followed her performance against UCF with a 22 point, nine rebound effort in SMU's win over Southern Miss Saturday.
In the final regular season game against Tulsa, the junior scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
Day has scored at least 10 points in 16 games this season, including what was a season-high 18 against UTEP on Jan. 15, and is averaging 8.6 points per game for the year.
The guard/post scored a career-high 23 points against UTEP on Feb. 2, 2010, going 7-for-10 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free-throw line.
She is second on the team and 12th in C-USA, averaging 6.6 rebounds per game.
The junior has connected on 30-of-71 3-point attempts, shooting a team-best 42.3-percent, which ranks third in the league.
Youthful Exuberance Combined With Senior Experience
The Mustangs knew on the first day of the season they would only have three seniors on the floor. What they didn't know is how well the young talent on the team would perform.
Over the last five games, the Mustangs have played as many as six sophomores and freshmen compared to just three seniors and juniors.
In those games, the sophomores and freshmen combined for 124 of SMU's 350 points scored, over 35-percent of the offense. The seniors and one junior have accounted for nearly 65-percent of the offense over the last four games.
Get Out of the Gates
The Mustangs have held the lead at halftime 18 times this season, going 16-3 with the lead at the break.
The Mustangs have only come back to win in four games when trailing at halftime, and only twice against C-USA teams. SMU overcame halftime deficits to win against Arkansas, Hofstra, UTEP and Tulane. All four wins were at home, and the largest halftime deficit the Mustangs overcame was three points against Tulane.
Get to the Line
As a team, the Mustangs rank third in Conference USA, shooting 69.1-percent from the free throw line.
Sophomore Samantha Mahnesmith and senior Jillian Samuels are the top-two shooters in the conference from the charity stripe.
Mahnesmith has made 37-of-43 attempts, leading the league with an 86.0 shooting percentage this season.
Samuels has connected on 77-of-90 attempts from the line, shooting 85.6-percent, and has shot 83.9-percent over her career. Her 77 made attempts is fifth in the league.
Freshman Alisha Filmore is eighth in the conference shooting 80.0-percent, 40-of-50. She made a career-high eight free-throws against Tulsa on March 3.