DALLAS (SMU) -Akil Simpson scored 12 points with five rebounds, and Krystal Johnson added 10 points to lead the Mustangs, but Jessica Kuster scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Rice to a 69-60 win over SMU in Moody Coliseum on Sunday.
The Mustangs (12-14, 5-8 Conference USA) trailed by just four at halftime, shooting 37.9-percent from the field, but Rice (13-13, 7-6 C-USA) connected on 53.8-percent in the second half to surge ahead for the victory.
Raven Short hit a pair of free throws for two of her eight points with 12:23 left in the game to pull the Mustangs to within five points, 45-40, but Rice scored the next 11 points to extend the lead to 16. SMU battled back, scoring 20 points in the last eight minutes of the game, but Rice kept knocking down shots to hold on to the advantage.
Brittany Hardy finished with nine points and six rebounds in 18 minutes for the Mustangs, and Samantha Mahnesmith scored seven points. Christine Elliott grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds and scored five points, going 2-of-4 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free throw line.
The Mustangs finished the game shooting 39.3-percent from the field, and were 5-of-7 from beyond the arc (71.4-percent). Rice was 27-of-61 from the field, 27-of-61, including 8-of-18 on 3-point attempts.
SMU faces a UTEP team that is undefeated in conference play on Thursday night in El Paso, Texas at 8:00 p.m. CT. The Mustangs return to Moody Coliseum on Sunday to take on Tulane at 2:00 p.m. in the final home game of the season.