Jan. 1, 2014
CINCINNATI (SMU) - Keena Mays scored 15 points, eclipsing 1,000 for her career including points at Kansas, to lead the Mustangs to a 54-43 win at Cincinnati for their first American Athletic Conference victory on New Year's Day Wednesday afternoon at the Fifth Third Arena. SMU improves to 10-3, 1-1 The American, with the win, while Cincinnati falls to 7-6, 1-1 The American.
Mays went 6-for-14, including three 3-pointers, and also had six rebounds and three assists. Akil Simpson hit double-digits for the 12th time this season, tallying 13 points in the game to get to within seven of 1,000 career points. The Mustangs out-rebounded the Bearcats 35-25, led by nine from Raven Short and a career-high seven from Korina Baker.
The Mustangs opened the game up with a 24-11 run from the four-minute mark of the first half through the halfway point of the second frame, taking a 49-32 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the contest. The 17-point advantage was the largest of the game.
SMU led 29-21 at halftime with Mays contributing 10 points at that point. Cincinnati shot just 32.1 percent from the floor compared to SMU's 46.4 percent in the period. After tying the game at 2-2 less than three minutes in, SMU went on an 18-5 run over the next 7:14 to take a 20-7 lead with 10 minutes left in the half.
The Bearcats would cut SMU's lead to four points, 25-21, with three minutes remaining, but Gabrielle Wilkins and Baker collected the last two buckets of the half to take an eight-point edge into halftime. Baker's score came on a fastbreak layup after she intercepted a pass when Cincinnati was trying to hold for the last shot of the half.
Cincinnati was held to 36 percent shooting for the game, and SMU also dominated in the paint, doubling up the Bearcats near the rim, 28-14.
The Mustangs will return home for the first game in the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against USF. The renovation included an improved main entry lobby, expanded concourses with raised ceilings, club seats, loge boxes, private suites, group suites, a new event space, offices, new lockers rooms and meeting spaces, as well as a new team store and concession spaces. Saturday will open with the men's team hosting Connecticut prior to the women's game.