DALLAS (SMU) - SMU scored eight points off of four Montana State turnovers, including three SMU steals, in the last 2:06 to win the SMU Hoops for the Cure Classic with a 71-70 win over the Bobcats in the championship game Saturday night.
The Mustangs (5-1) trailed Montana State (3-1) 70-60 with 2:27 left in the game. Akil Simpson scored a layup to start the 11-0 run, and Alisha Filmore forced two of SMU's three steals in the stretch. The senior picked the pocket of Rechel Carter with 20 seconds left and was fouled after an SMU timeout with the Mustangs trailing 70-69 with eight seconds left. Filmore sank both free throws to put SMU on top for the first time since leading 48-46 with 14:59 left in the second half.
Montana State had a look to tie when Ashley Brumwell, who finished with 14 points, got a 3-point shot off as time expired, but the ball went wide of the rim, falling harmlessly off the backboard. Filmore finished the game with 20 points, going 10-of-13 from the free throw line and connected on a pair of 3-pointers, earning tournament MVP honors. Gabrielle Wilkins was also named to the all-tournament team, scoring 13 points with three rebounds, one assist and a steal one night after tying the Conference USA record with 10 steals against SIU-Edwardsville Friday night.
Trailing by six early in the game, Wilkins scored eight points to propel SMU to a 19-2 run spanning five minutes, taking a 19-12 lead with 10:32 left in the first half. Montana State charged back with a run of its own, holding SMU scoreless for the next four and a half minutes before Farrin Bell ended the drought with a jumper in the lane, ending an 11-0 run by the Bobcats to make the score 23-21 with 6:03 left before the break.
The Bobcats extended the lead to seven with just over two minutes left in the half, taking advantage of a flagrant foul call on Mallory Singleton on a rebound. Peyton Ferris made the free throws for the Bobcats, and Ashley Brumwell scored on the ensuing possession to push the lead to 36-29 with 2:07 on the clock. The Mustangs finished the half on an 8-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Filmore and three free throws by Wilkins, who finished the half with 11 points.
Akil Simpson was one rebound away from her second double-double of the season, grabbing nine rebounds with 11 points, including four of the last eight points of the game. Destynee Hives-McCray also scored 10 points with five rebounds, reaching double figures in the scoring column for the third time this season.
The Mustangs take on rival TCU in their first road test of the season Wednesday night. Tip off against the Horned Frogs is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Fort Worth.