DALLAS (SMU) - It took three overtimes, but the Mustangs extended their win streak to nine games, the second longest in school history, and improved to 8-0 in Conference USA, 17-4 overall, when Keena Mays hit a jumper in the lane with one second left to give SMU a 94-92 win over UAB in Moody Coliseum Thursday night.
After UAB (13-8, 4-4 C-USA) scored with 19 seconds left to tie the score, the junior transfer went got the ball out of a timeout, went around a screen and ended the 55-minute contest, scoring her 29th point in 50 minutes. She also had 13 rebounds to finish as one of three Mustangs with a double-double and has scored at least 20 points in eight of 13 games this season.
Mays hit five 3-pointers in the game, but none bigger than the one she hit to force a second overtime. Amber Jones hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left in the first extra period to put UAB up 75-72, but SMU's three-time C-USA Player of the Week had an answer. Korina Baker, who finished with 10 points and six assists, found Mays at the top of the key for a game-tying 3 with less than a second left.
SMU appeared to have the game won in just two overtimes after Mays scored to put the Mustangs out front 84-81 with 18 seconds left, but Jones hit a 3 for the Blazers with 10 seconds to go. Mays had a look from 3 for the win, but it didn't fall and the game went another five minutes.
Destynee Hives-McCray had 14 points and 15 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season, and Akil Simpson posted her fourth with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Mustangs grabbed a season-high 58 boards, including 27 on the offensive end, while the Blazers managed just 38. During the 15 minutes of overtime, SMU out-rebounded the Blazers 20-6 leading to 12 second-chance points.
Alisha Filmore scored 12 points before fouling out with 1:20 left in the first overtime. The senior now has 943 career points, needing 57 to become the 20th 1,000-point scorer in school history. Freshman Gabrielle Wilkins was the sixth Mustangs in double figures, scoring 13 with four steals.
The Mustangs led by three with 33 seconds left in the second half after Karisma Chapman hit a free throw for the Blazers, but SMU had the ball. Mays took the ball off the inbound, but her pass out of a trap was intercepted by Ashley Grimes, who found Jones for a tying 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to force overtime. Jones led UAB with 26 points, and Grimes added 24 in the loss.
SMU led by as many as 11 points, gaining the largest advantage of the game with 12:19 left in the second half, 52-41. UAB, the league's top scoring defense, held the Mustangs scoreless for the next four minutes to cut the lead to three, 52-49, to get back into the game and set up the thrilling finish.
It was the longest game for the Mustangs since beating Tulane 86-84 in three overtimes in the first round of the 2006 Conference USA Championship, which was held in Dallas, and the first time SMU played an overtime period since November 2010.
SMU faces Marshall Sunday in Moody Coliseum at 2 p.m. The Mustangs, who are wearing pink uniforms during February for breast cancer awareness, will take part in the Play4Kay breast cancer awareness initiative and celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day during the game. For tickets, call 214-SMU-GAME or visit SMUMustangs.com.