March 20, 2014
DALLAS (SMU) - Senior Keena Mays score 32 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the SMU Mustangs to an 84-72 win over Texas Southern in the first round of the WNIT in Moody Coliseum on Thursday night.
SMU (18-13) earned its first postseason win since the 2000 NCAA Tournament, when the Mustangs beat North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. SMU will play at Minnesota (21-12) in the second round of the WNIT on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT.
Mays made 10 of her 18 shots and converted on seven-of-eight free throw attempts to go along with six assists and a career-high seven steals. Mays recorded her fifth 30-point game of the season, and moved within 26 points of tying head coach Rhonda Rompola's single-season scoring record.
SMU used a late 14-3 run to take a 44-35 lead into halftime. Mays capped off the rally with a three from the right corner, giving her 16 points for the period. Texas Southern's Keiana Vines hit a jumper to give Texas Southern (20-13) a 16-10 lead with 13:02 to go in the half, but SMU answered with five straight points, including a three from freshman Kiara Perry, to make it a one-possession game. SMU would not trail by more than two the rest of the period, and built a nine-point lead heading into the break.
Texas Southern's Brianna Sidney led a charge early in the second half, and the Tigers tied the game at 48-48 with 16:47 to play. The Tigers kept it close over the next seven minutes, but a 15-2 run from 8:17 to 4:47 distanced SMU and sealed the win.
Korina Baker tallied a season-high eight assists for SMU, while fellow senior Akil Simpson recorded 15 points for her 27th double-digit scoring performance of the season. Simpson and senior Mallory Singleton tied for the team lead with seven rebounds, while sophomore Gabrielle Wilkins added 13 points, including going two-for-two from three-point land. Perry also posted a career high with four steals. SMU made 52.9 percent (10-of-19) of its three-point attempts for the contest.
Sidney led all Tigers scorers with 21 points, with four other players adding at least eight points. Morgan Simmons collected 12 rebounds, but SWAC Player of the Year Jazzmin Parker was held to just eight points on three-of-eight shooting.
SMU will travel to Minnesota for its second round matchup on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT. This season marks the sixth that SMU has gone to the WNIT, and the first since 1993 that the Mustangs have advanced past the first round. The Mustangs went all the way to the WNIT Finals in 1993, falling to Arkansas State in the title game.