DALLAS (SMU) - The SMU women's basketball team opened Western Athletic Conference play with a 77-68 victory over visiting Rice Thursday night at Moody Coliseum on the campus of SMU. With the win, SMU extends its winning streak to six games and improves to 10-1 on the year (1-0 WAC) while Rice's four-game winning streak ends as the Lady Owls now post a 7-5 record (0-1 WAC).
SMU came out of the opening whistle with significant defensive pressure and intensity, taking Rice out of its inside game. The Mustangs could not miss in the first 20 minutes of play, hitting 53.3% from the field, including 75% from three-point range (6-of-8). SMU limited Rice to one shot and did not allow a Lady Owl basket for over 10 minutes in the first half. SMU's Katie Gross continued her hot three-point shooting, hitting 4-of-4 in the first half (after hitting 6-of-7 in SMU's Dec. 22 game vs. San Diego State). SMU went into intermission with a 47-29 lead over Rice.
In the second half, SMU maintained at least a 15-point lead with five minutes remaining in the game. But Rice applied full court pressure and forced a number of Mustang turnovers, chipping away at the lead and coming as close as eight points with 1:27 left. SMU, though, connected on key throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Freshman post Janielle Dodds recorded career highs in points (24) and rebounds (12), and collected her sixth double-double of the season. Gross ended up with 12 points while teammates Sarah Davis and Sharee Shepherd added 10 points each. Top scorer for Rice was Michelle Woods with 17 points.
SMU continues WAC play with a home contest vs. Tulsa (8-2, 0-1 WAC) New Year's Day (Jan. 1). The Golden Hurricane are coming off a 63-47 loss at Louisiana Tech Thursday night. Saturday's tip-off is slated for 2:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on KKGM Radio (1630AM).