SMU Falls To No. 24 Rutgers In Conference Quarterfinals, 68-49
March 8, 2014
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs led No. 24 Rutgers by six at halftime, but SMU was not able to hold on as the Mustangs fell to the Scarlet Knights, 68-49, in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday. Senior Keena Mays led all scorers with 23 points, eclipsing 20 for the 18th time this season. The guard went 7-of-14 from the field, and was 5-of-10 from behind the arc.
The Mustangs (17-13) led 30-24 at halftime, behind five three-pointers and 15 points from Mays. SMU jumped out to an early 5-4 lead, but the Scarlet Knights (22-8) scored the next 12 points to lead 16-5 with 14:28 to go in the period. SMU then went on a 25-8 run to end the half, including four of Mays' threes, to take control. Mays hit two threes late in the period to give SMU the final six points of the half.
Rutgers scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 31-30, but two free throws from Mays and a steal and fast-break layup from Korina Baker restored SMU's advantage, 34-31, with 17:14 to go. Rutgers again answered back with a 12-3 run to take a 43-37 lead at the 10:14 mark of the second. Rutgers went up by double-digits, 49-39, less than two minutes later, and SMU would not get closer than within seven points the rest of the way.
Mays, who received unanimous first team all-conference honors on Thursday, now has 1,049 points during her career on the Hilltop and 1,380 total for her collegiate career. Akil Simpson, a second team all-conference selection, had seven points and 11 rebounds on Saturday, marking her 11th game this season with a double-digit rebounding total. All-Freshman team honoree Kiara Perry also tallied seven points. Baker had six points with three assists, and Mallory Singleton had seven rebounds in a season-high 38 minutes. The Mustangs were able to hold Rutgers without a three-pointer all game, but the Scarlet Knights outscored SMU 30-14 in the paint.