Feb. 14, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. (SMU) - For the second time in three games, the Mustangs faced the team ranked as the top scoring defense in Conference USA, but this time the defense prevailed as East Carolina ended SMU's 10-game win streak with a 63-47 win in Minges Coliseum Thursday night.
Destynee Hives-McCray led the Mustangs (18-5, 9-1 C-USA) with 17 points and eight rebounds. Akil Simpson added eight points and eight rebounds, but the league's scoring leader, Keena Mays, was held to just eight points as ECU (17-6, 7-3 C-USA) never let her get into a rhythm offensively.
The Pirates, led by Celeste Stewart's 26 points, out-scored SMU 40-25 in the second half to hand the Mustangs their first conference loss. SMU shot 34.5 percent for the game, but East Carolina knocked down 42.6 percent from the field. The Mustangs committed an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers, leading to 23 ECU points.
East Carolina took a 38-31 lead six minutes into the second half. SMU went on an 8-0 run to take a 39-38 lead, its first since midway through the first half, but the Pirates went on a 16-2 run for a 54-41 lead with 7:01 to play. The lead never dipped below 10 again.
The Mustangs hit four of their first eight shots to take a 9-2 lead, but East Carolina scored 10 of the next 12 points to take its first lead of the game, 12-11 with 9:13 left in the first half. The Pirates held the lead for the rest of the half, stretching it to as many as eight with 2:14 left, but Kristin Askew hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left to cut the lead to one at halftime, 23-22.
SMU led in every category at the break, hitting 10 field goals to ECU's nine while out-rebounding the Pirates 22-16, but East Carolina scored 15 points on SMU's 15 turnovers to hold the advantage after the first half. Hives-McCray led the Mustangs with eight points in the first 20 minutes, and Simpson scored six.
The Mustangs conclude the road trip Sunday at Memphis. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game can be watched live at SMUMustangs.com or heard on KAAM 770. SMU returns home Thursday to host Tulsa at 7 p.m.