Entering Saturday’s matchup with the University of South Florida Bulls, the SMU women’s basketball team (16-12, 7-10 in American Athletic Conference) was trying to forget a stinging 81-48 loss to the nation’s No.1 team, UConn Tuesday by beating a conference opponent for the eighth time.
What they had instead was a hangover that lasted through the first half and ultimately decided the Mustangs’ 72-51 loss in Tampa, Fla.
Before the Mustangs were even off the plane, they found themselves down 9-0 after an Inga Orekhova 3-pointer with just two minutes in. The early start fueled an onslaught by the Bulls offense, all while SMU couldn’t seem to get the lid off the basket, shooting just 29 percent for the game.
SMU trailed by as much as 24 through the first 20 minutes of action, but was able to stop the bleeding prior to the first half’s end thanks in large part to senior Keena Mays.
The guard from Arlington, Texas, finished with a team-high 22 points, but shot only 8-of-22 in her attempt to get her group back into the game. Besides Mays, Akil Simpson was the only other player to reach double-digit points with 11 to go along with her team-high seven rebounds.
Even though they were in a hole for the majority of the game, the Mustangs were able to fight back to get within seven at 45-38 after Mays converted back-to-back layups midway through the second half.
From that point on though, SMU was held in check, scoring just 13 to USF’s 27.
The Bulls were led by sophomore guard Courtney Williams’ 26 points and 11 rebounds that proved to be too much for the Mustangs in the defeat.
Despite the disappointing loss, SMU can still end the regular season on a high note, as it hosts the UCF Knights Monday night in the friendly confines of Moody Coliseum.