The SMU women’s basketball team opens its season against UC Riverside on Monday afternoon at Moody Coliseum.
It’s an unusual start time (in part, because Moody was pulled from the men’s game at 7:30 pm), but the Mustangs are hoping to finish the season in prime time.
After two WNIT appearances in Toyelle Wilson’s first two seasons — the school’s first consecutive postseason bids since 2015 — the Mustangs are looking for big goals in their final season in the American Athletic Conference. Not only are they hoping to contend for the AAC title, but their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2008.
It won’t be easy, of course. But the Mustangs return most of their quarterbacks who went 17-13 last season and will lean on that experience in a tough non-conference season that includes home games against No. 20 Colorado and No. 19 Baylor.
To take that step, the Mustangs must take the consistency they showed at Moody Coliseum last season on the road. SMU is 13-2 at home, outscoring opponents 67.1 to 52.4.
SMU Women’s Basketball photo
Trainer: Toyelle Wilson (3rd season, 31-28)
Last season: 17-13
Returning starters: Reagan Bradley, Chantae Embry, and Tamia Jones (Colony)
Top newcomers: Transfers Tiara Young (Houston) and Maya Chandler (Loyola Chicago) and freshmen Aaliyah Henderson and Shanel Reid
AAC preseason predictions (by coaches): 4 out of 14
Forward Chantae Embry averaged 11.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 30 games (including 28 starts) as a sophomore, good for 20th in AAC scoring and 12th in AAC rebounding .
Guard Reagan Bradley started 26 of 27 games last year. The graduate student was fifth in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio, and eighth in the AAC with 3.1 assists a game. He begins the season eighth in career assists at SMU with 318. He had 84 last season. With a strong final season, he should be in the top five all-time.
It’s the top non-conference home game
SMU has two top-20 tests in November, including No. 20 Colorado on Nov. 18 and No. 19 Baylor on Nov. The Mustangs lost a heartbreaker, 58-55, last November in Waco.
Top AAC home game
The Mustangs begin AAC preseason action against South Florida on Dec. 30 and wrap up the regular-season schedule at home against South Florida on March 5. The defending AAC champions escaped with two wins over the Mustangs last season, including two- the winning score at Moody Coliseum on Feb. 4.
Did you know?
SMU was 13-2 at Moody Coliseum last season, including a record 10 home winning streak to start the season. The longest home winning streak for the Mustangs since they won their last nine home games in the 1999-2000 season. SMU has outscored its opponents 67.1 to 52.4 at Moody Coliseum in 2022-23.
Defense wins championships
SMU was second in the AAC (and 41st nationally) in total defense, holding teams to 58.3 points per game. Only three teams scored more than their season average against SMU in regulation – Oklahoma (97-74), Wichita State (73-65), and Temple (68-62). The Mustangs lost three times despite holding their opponents to less than 40% shooting – at Baylor, Tulane, and Houston in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament. SMU was 15-4 when holding teams to less than 60 points.
SMU shot 408 3-pointers last season, the fewest in the AAC. The Mustangs’ 112 made 3-pointers were second-fewest in the conference and their 27.5% shooting from behind the arc was third-lowest in the conference.
What is expected
After back-to-back trips to the WNIT, the Mustangs are seeking an NCAA tournament berth for the first time since 2008. With an experienced, veteran roster, SMU looks poised to make an AAC tournament run.
Find out more about SMU from the Dallas Morning News here.