Despite trailing early in the contest, the SMU Mustangs women’s basketball team (18-13) held their own and defeated the Texas Southern Tigers in the opening round of the Women’s NIT tournament 84-72 on the back of guard Keena Mays.
The senior from Duncanville did everything in her power to avoid having her last game in Moody Coliseum chalked as a loss. She dropped in 32 points on 10 of 18 shots, and converted five 3-pointers, but was a force on the other end of the court as well with a career-high seven steals.
Before Mays could get going though, Texas Southern got off to a fast start, gaining a 16-10 advantage before seven minutes had passed. From that point on, the Mustangs pushed the Tigers against the wall and outscored them 33-19 in the first half, 16 of which were Mays’ doing.
Texas Southern kept it close though, and even took the lead in the second half on an and-1 conversion by Tigers guard Brianna Sidney that made the score 49-48.
Once again, SMU countered its opponent’s punches by using a 15-2 run in the final minutes of the game to pull away, and ultimately win the game.
Besides another Mays performance to behold, senior forward Akil Simpson was a force as well. Simpson tallied 15 points, and grabbed seven rebounds.
The two standouts for the Mustangs helped lead the team to 50 percent shooting for the night, and 53 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
SMU will have to hope for the same scoring outburst it got on Thursday, as the team prepares for a trip to Minnesota at 5 p.m., where the Mustangs will hope for more success in the second round of the WNIT.