Nov. 16, 2013
CHENEY, Wash. (SMU) - SMU used a strong second half to hold off a hot-shooting Eastern Washington squad, 75-70, in the Mustangs' first road contest of the 2013-14 season in Cheney, Wash., on Saturday afternoon.
SMU improved to 3-0 for the third straight year and for the fourth time in five seasons. Senior guard Keena Mays tallied 15 points with eight assists and eight rebounds to help lead SMU to the win.
After trailing much of the first half, a driving fast break layup by Mays gave SMU a 46-45 lead at the 15:05 mark of the second half. The Mustangs would not trail the rest of the game, extending their lead to as much as eight points with just over eight minutes left in the contest.
The Eagles cut SMU's lead to two with 3:51 left, creating a one-possession game. The two teams would trade buckets much of the next two minutes, and after a made free throw by EWU's Laura Hughes, the Eagles trailed by just three, 71-68. SMU, who made 74.1 percent of its free throws in the game, closed the contest making four of five to seal the victory.
The Mustangs dominated the glass in the game, outrebounding the Eagles 48-28, led by nine rebounds each by Destynee Hives-McCray and Kiara Perry. Perry nearly had a double-double, posting 14 points in 29 minutes. Akil Simpson had 16 points on six-of-12 shooting and added seven rebounds, with four on the offensive side.
Korina Baker, a native of Valleyford, Wash., about 30 minutes away from Cheney, had nine points on three-of-five shooting from three-point land to go with four rebounds and four assists.
SMU and EWU played an even first half, with both teams shooting 41 percent from the field. SMU made six of its last 10 shots to go on an 8-0 run to take a 31-29 lead with less than a minute remaining in the half, but a corner three by the Eagles' Hayley Hodgins gave EWU a one-point edge at halftime. The Eagles converted half of their three-point attempts in the first half, going six-of-12 in the frame.
The Mustangs' next contest will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Mississippi Valley State at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. SMU will look for its first 4-0 start since starting 5-0 in the 2009-10 campaign.