March 4, 2014
DALLAS (SMU) - Keena Mays scored 26 points, leading three seniors in double figures as SMU (17-12, 8-10 American Athletic Conference) knocked off UCF (10-19, 3-15 The American) 79-67 on Senior Day in Moody Coliseum Tuesday. The guard from Arlington, Texas, was 8-of-16 from the field, including three 3-point field goals to pass Jillian Samuels for the single-season record at SMU with 73 this season.
Mays also became just the second player in program history with 600 points in a season, totaling 602 through 29 games. SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola set the school record with 683 during the 1981-82 season. Korina Baker matched her career high with 17 points and passed out six assists during her final home game at SMU, and Akil Simpson recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Simpson is the first player with 10 double-doubles in a season since Janelle Dodds posted 12 during 2005-06, and is the seventh player in program history to accomplish the feat.
Senior Mallory Singleton scored nine points with four rebounds, and guard Krystal Johnson scored two points with two rebounds and an assist. Sophomore Gabrielle Wilkins pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds with two points and two assists.
The Mustangs started the game on a 9-0 run, with Mays scoring seven of the first nine with a trey and two fast-break layups after she stole the ball from the UCF guards. SMU stretched the lead to as many as 12 during the first half, and went into the lockerroom with a 34-26 halftime lead. Mays had 16 points during the first 20 minutes.
UCF cut the lead to five after Erika Jones converted an and-one opportunity with 11:58 to go in the game. SMU freshman Kiara Perry scored the next four points, and Mays and Singleton combined for five free throws to give the Mustangs a 14-point lead, 62-48 with 9:36 to play, after the 9-0 run. UCF cut the lead back to eight, 62-54 with 8:42 left, on a 3-pointer by Andrea Hines, but it was the last time the lead was less than 10. Mays hit a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 10 with 8:33 to play, and the Mustangs pushed the advantage to 18, the largest lead of the game, on a 3-pointer from Singleton.
With the win, the Mustangs claimed the No. 5 seed in the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament at the Mohegan Sun March 7-10 in Uncasville, Conn. SMU will begin its chase for the championship against No. 4-seed Rutgers at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in the quarterfinals round.