DALLAS (SMU) - The Mustangs improved to 4-0 in conference play for the first time since the 1999-2000 season with a dominant 73-51 win against Rice in Moody Coliseum Sunday. Keena Mays led all-scorers with 25 points for SMU (13-4, 4-0 Conference USA), making a career-high six 3-pointers to eclipse 20 points for the sixth time in nine games. Akil Simpson recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Mustangs out-scored Rice (9-8, 1-3 C-USA) 12-4 over the last four minutes to take a 40-31 lead at halftime, with Mays scoring seven of her 17 first-half points during the stretch. Simpson scored the first eight points of the game, hitting her first four field goals. The two teams matched baskets for the first few minutes of the game before Mays hit back-to-back 3's to give SMU the lead for the remainder of the first 20 minutes. Mallory Singleton hit a layup to make it an 8-0 run, giving the Mustangs a 16-11 lead with 11:47 left.
After Simpson hit a pair of free throws to start the second half, Christal Porter made a shot to make the score 42-33 with 19:07 left in the game. Mays answered with a 3 just over a minute later, and the Owls never got within 10 points again. The Mustangs held Jessica Kuster, Rice's leading scorer coming in to the game, to just five points in the second half after she scored 11 in the first half, and held the Owls scoreless from behind the arc in the last 20 minutes.
SMU forced Rice into 23 turnovers and converted them into 25 points, while the Owls managed just nine points on 12 SMU turnovers. The Mustangs finished the game shooting 41.5 percent, 27-of-65, including 10-of-20 from 3-point range. Rice hit just two 3-pointers in 11 attempts, 18.2 percent, and shot 38.5 percent overall, 20-of-52.
The Mustangs return to action Sunday at Tulsa. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. SMU returns to Moody Coliseum on Jan. 31 to face Houston at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 214-SMU-GAME or visit SMUMustangs.com.