Pair of clutch free throws lift Mustangs over Miners
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 19:03
In their last game in Moody Coliseum before the renovations, The Lady Mustangs (21-7, 12-3 C-USA) edged out the UTEP Miners (19-9, 7-8 C-USA) 73-71.
With six seconds left to play in regulation, Gabrielle Wilkins stepped to the free throw line and drilled two free throws to give the Mustangs a two-point lead.
On the Miners’ next possession, Kayla Thornton was given the opportunity to give SMU their third straight loss, but could not connect on the desperation three-pointer as time expired.
Akil Simpson led the way for the Mustangs, shooting lights out from the field. She was 7-10 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line to give her 19 points for the game. Simpson also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
After a strong start in the first half, Keena Mays finished with just 13 points on 4-13 shooting from the field.
For the Miners, Anete Steinberga scored 25 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. UTEP had three players in double figures.
Despite shooting 36 percent from the field in the first half, the Mustangs took a 41-35 lead over the Miners into the locker room.
SMU outshot the Miners from the free throw line by 14, helping them build their six-point lead.
Mays led SMU in the first half, with 11 points and five rebounds. With Sunday’s win, the Mustangs are one step closer to claiming the Conference USA title outright.
The Mustangs will travel to Rice on Thursday to play their final regular season game before the Conference- USA tournament begins. A victory over Rice is a must if the Mustangs want to keep sole possession of the conference title.