Women's spring preview: Conference USA

Women's spring preview: Conference USA

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Women's spring preview: Conference USA

SMU hasn’t won a Conference USA title since joining the conference in 2006, and it will only have one more chance to do so.

In the fall of 2013, SMU is making a move, and it’s not a little one for the university. It will join the Big East Conference.

Head coach Jeanne Sutherland says the move won’t affect how she plans the team’s fall and spring schedules. Her goal is to create one of the top 10 schedules in the country.

“All it does is that it changes one tournament a year,” said Sutherland, referring to the conference championship. “It’ll be some of the same teams from Conference USA and some new teams.”

Houston, Memphis and Central Florida also will be part of the Big East Conference by the spring of 2014, while East Carolina and Tulane will join the following year.

“Golf probably has the lowest amount of impact (on a conference change) because it all comes down to one tournament,” added Sutherland.

The closest SMU has come to winning a conference title was in 2006, the year it joined Conference USA. The Mustangs finished as runner-up to East Carolina. Still, the margin of victory was in the double digits.

“It’d be nice to finally win one (a Conference USA title with SMU),” said Sutherland.

It seems the Mustangs are heading in the right direction for that. In the fall, they won the Chip-N Club Invite and the Johnie Imes. Freshman Alexandra Rossi and senior Melanie White both won medalist honors in each of these events.

“We’ve put together one or two solid rounds (at tournaments), and now we just need three,” Sutherland said. “We have nine players on our roster, and all nine of them can actually play the game of golf.”

The team has the balance and depth necessary to make a run at the conference title. It would be SMU’s first and last Conference USA crown.

• • •

Where it stands now

Top of the class: Tulane

Best player of the fall: Gemma Dryburgh, Tulane

• • •

Past champions

2012: Tulsa

2011: Texas El Paso

2010: Tulane

2009: Tulane

2008: Tulsa

• • •

Conference Capsules

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