Sports: Papa Dia leads SMU Basketball to higher levels

SMU captain Adam StillDia’s game rewards Mustangs: Despite an unfortunate streak-snapping 67-57 loss to rival UTEP on Saturday, Feb. 12, the fact remains the same: This year’s surprising men’s basketball team is in a deadlock battle for the C-USA title. Currently, the Mustangs are tied for fifth in the league (16-9, 7-4 C-USA) with Tulsa (7-4), just one game behind first-place Memphis (8-3). C-USA Player of the Year candidate Papa Dia (fifth in C-USA scoring, third in rebounds, second in blocks) has already won three Player of the Week awards (Nov. 15-21, Jan. 10-16, Jan. 17-23) is a strong component to the team’s recent success. Dia, Head Coach Matt Doherty and the Mustangs face the Golden Hurricane in a crucial league tie-breaker at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 in Moody Coliseum. Tune in to KAAM 770 AM or visit SMUMustangs.com to keep up with the team.

Still’s the guy: Junior Adam Still (pictured right) was named the captain of the No. 8-ranked men’s soccer team for the 2011 season on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The defender helped lead the Mustangs to a 16-2-2 record and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2010. Still was also named to the CoSIDA ESPN Academic All-America Third Team this past season. Still is a two-time Academic All-America District VI Team award recipient and has been named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team. SMU will open the upcoming spring season against MLS championship finalist FC Dallas on Friday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Pizza Hut Park.

Mary AlenbrattGrades and speed: Sophomore Mary Alenbratt (pictured left) and the cross country team received more high honors to add to a stellar season as they received All-Academic Honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday, Feb. 16. To qualify for All-Academic honors, a team must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. SMU easily qualified with a cumulative 3.34 GPA. Alenbratt and the SMU track & field team will be back in action at the C-USA Indoor Championships on Feb. 25-26, hosted by the University of Houston.

Football never dies: SMU announced its 2011-12 C-USA football schedule on Thursday, Feb. 10. Important dates include a Sept. 3 season opener at former Southwest Conference rival Texas A&M, and a home opener with rival UTEP on Sept. 10. SMU will have 4 of 5 games away during a tough stretch in October (away opponents include Memphis, TCU, Southern Miss, and Tulsa, but will be back at home (in cooler Boulevarding temperatures) for 3 of 4 games at home in November (Tulane, Navy, and Rice.) The C-USA Championship game this year is set for Dec. 3. Kickoff times and potential date changes will be set later in the year. The full schedule can be found here.

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