Sports: SMU’s wild season ends with semifinal loss to Santa Clara

Papa Dia

Sports: SMU’s wild season ends with semifinal loss to Santa Clara

Simone Du ToitEnd of the road: The men’s basketball team ended their wild season with an unfortunate, injury-affected loss to Santa Clara at the semifinals of the CIT on Friday, March 25. The Mustangs (20-15), who found a second life after a first-round defeat in the Conference USA Tournament by participating in the relatively unknown CollegeInsider.com Tournament, enjoyed a string of wins against Oral Roberts, Jacksonville and Northern Iowa before losing to the Broncos (23-14) with a final score of 72-55. Senior star Papa Dia suffered an injury resulting from a foul on him with 8:18 left to go in the first half, and did not return for the rest of the game. Robert Nyakundi and Collin Mangrum scored 14 and 13 points respectively, with Nyakundi posting his 3rd double-double of the season. The Mustangs finished their unpredictable season with 20 wins- the first 20-win season since 1999-2000.

Du Toit nabs another award: Junior shot put/discus athlete Simone Du Toit (pictured) nabbed SMU’s second consecutive C-USA Female Track & Field Athlete Of The Week award on Tuesday, March 29. Du Toit, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, picked up a pair of North Texas Spring Classic titles last weekend (March 25-27), recording a discus throw of 55.12 meters and a shot put toss of 16.61 meters. This is Du Toit’s fourth weekly honor of her career, and the first this season. She follows last week’s winner, junior Ayla Gill of Auckland, New Zealand, who recorded a winning toss of 61.70 meters in the hammer throw at the TCU Invitational.

Marta LesniakWeekly Marta Lesniak Dominance Segment: As is becoming usual in the SMU Sports community, junior tennis player Marta Lesniak (pictured) received yet another award this week with a performance strong enough to earn her the C-USA Tennis Athlete of the Week award. Lesniak (No.9 national rank) went 4-0 against nationally-ranked squads from No. 9 Baylor and No. 66 UC Santa Barbara, winning a pair in both singles and doubles competition. Her singles victories were against No.11 Sona Novakova of Baylor (6-4, 4-6, (14-12)) and Natalia Lozano of UCSB (6-2, 6-2). Lesniak also teamed up with junior Aleksandra Malyarchikova for the doubles victories, defeating Baylor with a 9-7 mark and posting an 8-3 mark against UCSB. This is Lesniak’s third award this season and the eighth of her career.

Football still lives: The Mustang football team will kick off a grueling spring training camp on Monday, April 4 to prepare for the upcoming Fall 2011 campaign. Head Coach June Jones is expected to hold 15 practice sessions over 27 days, nearly all of which will be at 7 a.m. Practices will generally be closed to the public, but the final practice of the season is open for anyone to attend and is scheduled for Saturday, April 30.

March 31, 2011|Sports|

Sports: Dia wins DPOY award, leads Mustangs to C-USA tourney

Papa DiaDia’s big day: SMU senior forward Papa Dia (pictured right) received the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year award on Tuesday, March 8, for his stellar contributions throughout the 2010-11 season. Dia played a key role in earning SMU its highest wins total since 2002-03 (17), its highest C-USA wins total (8) and a No. 7 seed in the C-USA tournament. Dia was also named to the C-USA All-Defensive Team, and is considered a finalist for the C-USA Player of the Year award. This is the second time a Mustang has won the DPOY award – the other was Jon Koncak in 1984-85, when SMU was playing in the Southwest Conference.

All or nothing: The No. 7 men’s basketball team will play No. 10 Rice in the first round of the C-USA tournament at 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso. The Mustangs (17-13, 8-8 C-USA) are the favorites to defeat the sub-.500 Owls (13-17, 5-11 C-USA) for a shot at No. 2 Tulsa the following day. (The rapid-paced tournament will take place from the 9th to the 12th, so here’s a handy C-USA bracket to keep track of the Mustangs during the week.) If the Mustangs win the tournament, they will receive an automatic bid (and their most likely shot) in the NCAA March Madness bracket, so stay tuned over this weekend.

Robert LambethWomen’s team seeks return to glory: Two years removed from the 2008 C-USA Tournament victory, the women’s basketball team is also headed to El Paso to play host college UTEP in the first round of this year’s tournament. The Mustangs swept the series with the Miners this year, winning both games. The game will be at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 in the Memorial Gym, so it’ll ultimately be up to Mustang fans to decide which SMU team to support for the first round. The Lady ‘Stangs are 5-3 in the past four years of the tournament.

Men’s tennis embraces the streak: Southern Miss received a surprise on Tuesday, March 9 as the men’s tennis squad obliterated their rival 7-0 to mark a three-game winning streak. With their victory at Turpin Tennis Center, the Mustangs are now 6-5 on the season. Among the highlights was an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory by sophomore Robert Lambeth (pictured left) over opponent Michael Sims, the only shutout of the day’s events. On Thursday, March 10, SMU will host Abilene Christian and Xavier at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m, respectively. Both games will be played at the Turpin Tennis Center.

March 9, 2011|Sports|

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.

February 18, 2011|Sports|

Sports: Men’s soccer team falls in NCAA quarterfinals; remembering Don Meredith

Arthur IvoGone so soon? After an amazing 16-2-2 season and a final NSCAA National Ranking of No. 7, the Mustang men’s soccer team suffered a short postseason as they lost to UNC in the NCAA quarterfinals on penalty kicks after tying the Tar Heels 1-1 in regulation on Saturday, Dec. 3. Junior midfielder Arthur Ivo (pictured) broke the ice early in the game as he scored within the fifth minute. Goalkeeper Craig Hill made three impeccable saves in regulation but was ultimately unable to prevent four converted penalty kicks in the shootout.

SMU downs Grambling State: After a slow start to the season, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Doherty has to be feeling pretty good about his Mustangs, who have won four out of their last five and are now back above .500 at 5-4 this season. SMU added to their win record with a sharp 71-51 victory over Grambling State on Saturday, Dec. 4. Junior forward Robert Nyakundi scored 22 points and senior forward Papa Dia added 20 in the victory. SMU was 14 of 22 from the field (63.6%) and took a 40-23 lead into halftime. The Mustangs get a break for studying, with their next game (at McMurry in Abilene) taking place on Dec. 18.

Don MeredithRemembering a great: Legendary football quarterback, television broadcaster and noted SMU alum Don Meredith (pictured) died of a brain hemorrhage on Sunday, Dec. 3 at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was 72. Born April 10, 1938, in Mount Vernon, Texas, Meredith was a two-time All-America selection (1958 and 1959) on the Hilltop, setting a Southwest Conference record with 69.6 completion percentage in 1957. The Chicago Bears then selected Meredith in the third round of the 1960 NFL Draft, but traded him to a young Dallas Cowboys franchise for future draft picks. “Dandy Don” was stellar through his nine-year career with the Cowboys, leading the team to three straight division championships and two NFL Championship games following the 1966 and 1967 seasons. He was inducted into the Cowboys “Ring of Honor” in 1976, and his name can still be found in the renovated Ring at the new Cowboys Stadium. Meredith had a wildly successful second career with Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell as an analyst on ABC’s “Monday Night Football.” He retired in 1984 after broadcasting Super Bowl XIX. Meredith also received the Pro Football Hall of Fame‘s 2007 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. Funeral arrangements are pending.

December 7, 2010|Sports|

Sports: Basketball’s back!

Papa DiaMaybe this year?: Head Coach Matt Doherty’s men’s basketball team returns to make another stab at the March Madness brackets this year with a home opener against the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12. Doherty’s team is hoping to make a comeback from a disappointing 14-17 campaign last year (7-9 C-USA) where they failed to make it into the 64-bracket tournament. SMU has six seniors this year with Ryan Harp, Tomasz Kwiatkowski, Myles Luttman, Collin Mangrum, Mike Walker and pre-season All C-USA conference selection forward Papa Dia (pictured) leading the charge. Contact 214-SMU-GAME for more information on tickets.

Seasons of glory: SMU’s women’s basketball team also gets things rolling this weekend as they look to achieve a fourth consecutive year of 20+ wins. (The Lady ‘Stangs went 20-11 last year.) Head Coach Rhonda Rompola‘s team looks to build on their successful run last year, where they entered the C-USA Tournament as a No. 3 seed, finished 10-6 in the conference and earned a bid in the WNIT tournament for the second consecutive season. Forward Delisha Willis returns to the court after missing last year with injuries. Sophomore Alisha Filmore was named as SMU’s starting PG after last season’s starter Brittany Gilliam graduated. SMU hosts Utah at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 at Moody Coliseum. For tickets, call 214-SMU-GAME.

Matt CeravoloSignings, signings everywhere: The men’s golf team was busy with signings this week for the upcoming seasons. Florida brothers Alec and Matthew Ceravolo and Texas native Sam Fidone were inked for the men’s team on Friday, Nov. 12. Matthew (pictured) has a 2008 Florida State Player of the Year trophy, a 2009 South Florida Player of the Year trophy, and is an AJGA All American. Alec was previously ranked in the top 10 of Florida players, has three top-20 AJGA finishes, and was named first team All-South Florida. Fidone, ranked No. 13 in Texas by Junior Golf Scoreboard, and was the 2010 Texas Junior Golf Tour Player Of The Year. All three have signed National Letters of Intent to play for SMU in 2011-12 under head coach Jay Loar.

No football this week as SMU takes a bye to prepare for their last home game against Marshall. They need to win one more to secure a bowl game for the BCS championship series.

November 12, 2010|Sports|
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