Mustangs Clinch C-USA Regular Season Title With 73-71 Win Over UTEP

SMU Mustangs
71 73
(19-9, 7-8) (21-7, 12-3)

1st 2nd F
 UTEP 35 36 71
 SMU 41 32 73

 Points 73 71
 FG Made-Att. 23-63 28-63
 FG Percentage 36.5% 44.4%
 3FG Made-Att. 4-18 9-23
 3FG Percentage 22.2% 39.1%
 FT Made-Att. 23-31 6-8
 FT Percentage 74.2% 75.0%
 Rebounds 43 38
 Assists 13 18
 Turnovers 13 14
 Blocks 4 0
 Steals 7 5

 Individual Leaders
 Stat  SMU  UTEP
 Points  Simpson - 19  Steinberga - 25
 Rebounds  Simpson - 9  Turner - 12
 Assists  Filmore - 5  Parker - 6
 Blocks  Tied (2) - 2  0

 Up Next
 Who:  at Rice
 When:  Thurs., Mar. 7 - 7 PM CT
 Where:  Houston, Texas
 Radio:  KAAM 770 AM
 Live Stats:  SMU Gametracker
 Live Video:  Mustang All-Access
Schedule  |  Tickets

March 3, 2013

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DALLAS (SMU) - The Mustangs clinched at least a share of the Conference USA regular season championship with a 73-71 win against UTEP Sunday in the home finale in Moody Coliseum Sunday, improving to 12-3 in league play and 21-7 overall.

Akil Simpson led the team to its third regular season title in program history (2000 and 2009), second in C-USA, with 19 points and nine rebounds. SMU's lone senior, Alisha Filmore, ended her career in Moody with 2 points, six rebounds and five assists.

However, as the SMU women's basketball program celebrated Senior Day before the game, it was a freshman who came up with the day's biggest moment. After Anete Steinberga, who finished with a game-high 25 points, scored for UTEP to tie the game 71-71 with 10 seconds left, Gabrielle Wilkins drove to the right of the lane and was fouled by Steinberga on a jump shot. Wilkins made both free throws to give SMU a two-point lead with six seconds left.

Kayla Thorton's 3-point attempt at the buzzer fell short, giving SMU the win. Destynee Hives-McCray put the Mustangs on top for good with 4:08 left, 69-67. The sophomore came down with an offensive rebound, kicked it back to the top of the key, and then made a layup on an assist by Keena Mays. SMU held UTEP to just four more points and zero rebounds in the last four minutes, and went 4-for-4 at the free throw line down the stretch.

The Mustangs led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Miners (19-9, 7-8 C-USA) cut the lead to six at halftime, 41-35. SMU stretched the lead back to double0digits just a minute and a half into the second half, but UTEP rallied all the way back to take a 65-64 lead with 5:38 remaining, creating a memorable finish in the final game of Moody Coliseum's current configuration.

Mays finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two of SMU's seven steals. Wilkins went 7-for-10 at the free throw line to score nine points. Simpson was 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 at the charity stripe to come within one point of her season high.

SMU can clinch sole possession of the C-USA regular season title at Rice Thursday at 7 p.m. The Mustangs, who have clinched a bye in the first round, will begin play at the Conference USA Championships in Tulsa March 14.