March 2, 2009
By BOBBI ROQUEMORE
The Dallas Morning News
UNIVERSITY PARK – The net loosened up nicely for the SMU women's basketball team, right up until junior guard Jillian Samuels climbed the ladder to cut it.
With a little extra tug, Samuels wriggled the net from its place – just like SMU shook off UTEP, 78-65, Saturday at Moody Coliseum to seize the Conference USA regular-season crown.
A 17-2 run early in the second half was the decisive blow.
"We just kept taking it to them," said Samuels, one of four Mustangs to score in double figures.
Turns out the net-cutting ceremony was just the start of SMU's celebration.
With a little help from Memphis, which defeated Southern Miss, 77-74, in overtime Saturday night, the Mustangs (19-10, 12-4) won the title outright and guaranteed itself a postseason berth.
SMU enters the C-USA tournament, which begins Thursday in New Orleans, as the No. 1 seed. If the Mustangs don't receive an NCAA Tournament bid as the C-USA tournament winner or an at-large team, they automatically qualify for the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
"Really, it's amazing," SMU coach Rhonda Rompola said. "Sometimes it's nice to have a little luck on your side and to see things fall into place.
"It guarantees you postseason play and that's important, especially for our young team."
Read the full story.
Also see: SMU Wins Conference USA Crown
# # #