Mustangs hand Knights first conference loss, 70-63
Published: Monday, January 17, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Back on their home court in Moody Coliseum on Sunday for the first time since Dec. 7, the Mustangs came out firing and never fell behind the University of Central Florida Knights as SMU cruised to a 70-63 win.
Senior Delisha Wills led the team in points, finishing with 16. Haley Day and Samantha Mahnesmith also reached double digits, Day was successful in 7 of her 8 free throws, which pulled the team out of a close call with 1:30 left on the clock.
Head Coach Rhonda Rompola was proud of her team after the victory, especially after such a hard non-conference schedule.
"Our non-conference schedule finally paid off, it was a hard fought first half with both teams hitting five three-pointers," Rompola said.
The Mustangs led the Knights by seven at the end of the first half, and the second half consisted of much more physical play and a lot less scoring, with a lot of fouling.
Rompola was proud of Wills' efforts on the court.
"It was the first game she's played like the old Delisha since back from Christmas," she said. "We challenged her in our post plays at the beginning of the game to have an inside presence in the paint, and I look here at her 16 points and that's what we need from her."
The Mustangs have been struggling from the free throw line throughout the season, but not Sunday concluding the game at 88.5 percent from the line.
UCF is known for its great two man game, but the Mustangs put a stop to this by "pretty much switching most picks out the wing, they run a continuous two man game and that's the best we've defended it since we've been playing them," according to Rompola.
Samantha Mahnesmith has reached double figures in four out of the last five games.
"Sam is a gamer that's one thing that every coach that has coached Sam has said about her. She's not necessarily going to create her own shot and that's what Alisha Filmore helps her with by creating lots of opportunities," Rompola said. "Sam is a huge key player for us right now. She's so smart, if I had five Sams out there right now we'd be a pretty smart basketball team."
The Mustangs will take on conference rival UTEP on Jan. 23. This conference battle always provides excitement, however, the Miners will be without best player Jerica Hughes.
The Mustangs are excited for their game coming up next week and proud of their victory on Sunday.
"This was a team we had to go into with experience," Rompola said. "We beat a good team today, they're undefeated in C-USA."