The SMU women’s basketball team fell to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, 64-55, Tuesday in the second round of the Conference USA Championship tournament at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.
The Mustangs (20-10, 10-7 C-USA) jumped to an 18-6 lead midway through the first half following a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Heidi Brandenburg, but the Blazers (16-14, 10-8 C-USA) went on a 12-0 run to tie the game.
Senior post Alice Severin led the Mustangs with eight first-half points, and SMU took a 25-22 lead into halftime.
After missing all five three-point attempts in the first half, however, UAB improved to shoot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc in the second half and take the lead with over 17 minutes to play.
“They’re a very good team,” head coach Rhonda Rompola said of the Blazers in a post-game radio interview. “We just ran into some unforced errors.”
Three UAB players combined to score 60 of the team’s 64 points – senior forward Tamika Dukes (21 points) and freshmen guards Amber Jones (23) and Jala Harris (16).
The Mustangs were led by 13 points apiece from junior guard Haley Day and senior guard Jillian Samuels.
Severin finished with 10 points while sophomore post Christine Elliot scored eight points with a game-high 16 rebounds.
Senior forward Brittany Gilliam scored just four points and committed four turnovers before fouling out with 8:01 left in the game.
“When you have somebody of Brittany’s caliber sitting on the bench,” Rompola said, “It’s very difficult because it takes away some leadership, and we were missing that a little bit.”
The team will find out Monday if it is selected for the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament.