League-leading SMU handed the Tulsa women a 71-46 loss in front of 610 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Sunday afternoon. The Mustangs improved to 14-4 overall and 5-0 in Conference USA action, while the Hurricane fell to 7-12 and 2-4 in league play.
The SMU victory snapped a two-game Tulsa winning streak in the series, as the Hurricane won both games a year ago.
The Mustangs had four players score in double-figures, led by Keena Mays' 12 points, Akil Simpson with 11 and Destynee Hives-McCray and Lexus Williams with 10 points apiece. Tulsa's Kelsee Grovey scored 11 of her game-high 13 points in the second half, while Taleya Mayberry scored nine points, all coming in the first half.
Tulsa couldn't convert on any of its three point attempts, ending the game 0-for-17, while shooting just 25-percent overall from the field. The Mustangs shot 45-percent from the field and 75-percent from the free throw line.
"We were hanging with them (in the first half) despite shooting 23 percent. That's the problem. We just struggled, struggled, struggled to score. Give SMU credit. They were really good. We held them to 34 percent in the first half, and they're a 44 percent shooting team. Defensively, we hung in there for a while, but with our not making shots, our defense didn't get it done," said Tulsa Head Coach Matilda Mossman.
SMU opened the second half on a 14-4 run to take a 41-23 lead in the first four minutes and proceeded to build a 54-25 lead by the second media timeout at the 11:25 mark. Tiffani Couisnard's layup at the 19:31 mark cut the SMU lead to seven points, 28-21, but then the Mustangs hit its' next five baskets and went on a 24-2 run, including a 17-0 run over a 5:15 minute period.
SMU's run was 27-6 over the first 7:57 minutes of the second half, but the Hurricane played the next nine minutes even, matching SMU point-for-point, 11-11. Tulsa out-scored the Mustangs 21-17 in the final 12:03 of the second half.
After falling behind 8-2 to start the game, Tulsa scored two straight baskets on a 15-foot jumper by Mariah Turner and five-footer by Mayberry to make it 8-6. The Mustangs went on a 7-2 run for a 15-8 lead before Kelsey Grovey's jumper and Mayberry's runner in the lane and a foul shot cut the Mustang lead to 15-13.
A three-pointer by SMU's Alisha Fillmore put the Mustangs back ahead 18-13, but again the Hurricane answered and cut the lead to one point at 18-17.
The Mustangs went on a 9-0 run to take a 10-point lead, 27-17, with 1:16 remaining in the first half. Jessica McQuinn's jumper at the buzzer cut the SMU halftime lead to eight points at 27-19.
At halftime, Mayberry was the high scorer with nine points, while SMU's Akil Simpson had team-highs of seen points and six rebounds. Five other Tulsa players broke into the scoring column in the first half, but each scored just two points.
Tulsa goes on the road for two games next week with the opener in El Paso on Thursday night against the UTEP Miners with an 8:00 pm (CT) tipoff, followed by a game in Hattiesburg, Mississippi against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm (CT).
Tulsa returns to the Donald W. Reynolds Center on February 10th for a 2:00 pm tipoff against the Tulane Green Wave. The game is Ladies Day with TU Women's Basketball, where a Fashion Show will take place at halftime and vendors featuring items that are favorites for women will be set-up on the concourse beginning at 12:30 pm.