Southern Methodist hosts Loyola Marymount in home opener

SMU Mustangs (0-0) vs. Loyola Marymount Lions (0-0)
5:30 p.m., Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas
Series History: First Meeting
Radio: KAAM 770 AM

Southern Methodist University opens its 34th season at home in a matchup against Loyola Marymount. The reigning Conference USA champion SMU Mustangs are 18-15 all-time in season openers. The team is looking to make it back to a postseason tournament for the third straight year after trips to the NCAA Tournament and the WNIT the last two years. It would be the first time the team accomplished the feat since 1997-2000. The Mustangs are 33-39 all-time in the postseason, and 28-26 under head coach Rhonda Rompola. SMU capped off a season in which it finished the year 20-9 in its last 29 games, by winning the Conference USA regular season title. While not ranked in the national preseason polls, SMU received two votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 Poll.

In the last three seasons, SMU has landed four transfers from Big 12 schools. Heidi Brandenburg (Missouri) and Raquel Christian (Texas Tech) came each of the last two seasons before Kristin Hernandez (Oklahoma State) and Kelsey Hatcher (Oklahoma State) joined the team.

For the second straight season, Loyola Marymount has been picked second in the West Coast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. LMU garnered one first-place vote and 39 points overall, finishing behind preseason favorites Gonzaga. The Bulldogs had three players named to the preseason all-conference team: 2009 WCC Player of the Year and WCC Tournament MVP junior guard Courtney Vandersloot, 2008 Player of the Year senior forward Heather Bowman, and senior forward Vivian Frieson.

Projected SMU starters:
#41 Jillian Samuels, G Sr. 5-4
#10 Brittany Gilliam G Sr. 5-11
# 35 Raquel Christian G Jr. 5-6
#21 Christine Elliott F So. 6-3
# 40 Alice Severin C Sr. 6-2
Head Coach:  Rhonda Rompola (Southern Methodist ‘83) – 18th season

Project LMU starters:
#3  Alex Cowling  G/F  So.  5-11  Benicia, CA  13.4  6.2
#10   Renahy Young  G  Jr.  5-8  Torrance, CA  14.8  3.1
#12   Lisa Helmers  G  Sr.  5-9  Tempe, AZ  8.0  3.3
#14   Melanie Ysaguirre  F  Jr.  6-0  West Covina, CA  4.0  6.0
#20   Aleyse Evans  C  Jr.  6-1  Sacramento, CA  6.5  7.1
Head Coach:  Julie Wilhoit (Marian College ‘85) – 15th season

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