Freshmen Ashley Clark and Jasmine Vasquez each scored in double figures and set new career highs, but it wasn't enough as Tulsa dropped a 69-60 decision to SMU on Thursday night at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. TU fell to 11-14 on the season and 6-6 in Conference USA, while the Mustangs moved to 20-5 overall and 11-1 in the league.
"With the absence of Taleya, we didn't want Kelsee to have all the weight on her shoulders," Head Coach Matilda Mossman said. "We needed other people to step up and Ashley and Jasmine did that and played well around her, which let her run our team. It is mentally draining when you have to be the point guard and in charge of our offense, and then go guard one of SMU's best players. It can be taxing, but the experience will help us in our next games and next season."
Clark netted a team-leading 20 points, 13 of which were scored in the second half, and had four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 35 minutes of play. Vasquez scored all 12 of her points in the second frame and also pulled down four boards. Tiffani Couisnard pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and had a block, Loren McDaniel recorded seven rebounds, and Kelsee Grovey had eight points, five assists and two steals in 40 minutes.
The Hurricane had 28 points in the paint, 22 points off the bench, 17 second-chance points and 11 points off turnovers. TU shot 46-percent from the field, 30-percent from behind the arc and 52-percent from the charity stripe.
Taleya Mayberry, who has started all 105 games of her career, missed her first collegiate game due to injury, but is expected to return for TU's game on Sunday.
There were 12 lead changes and five tied scores in the tightly contested first half, but SMU took their largest lead of the first frame into the lockerroom with a 31-36 advantage. Keena Mays had a team-best 14 points for the Mustangs, while Grovey had eight, Clark had seven and Turner added six for TU.
After starting the second half outscoring TU, 15-8, the Mustangs went scoreless for 4:33 and the Hurricane went on a 12-0 run to tie the game at 51-all. Neither team found the net for another 1:46 off the clock, but a three-pointer by Mays spurred a 16-5 run by the Mustangs to give SMU a 67-56 lead with 3:42 remaining. TU closed out the contest with four points to the Mustangs two, but fell 69-60.
SMU was led by Mays who tallied 29 points, five assists and three steals. Alisha Filmore netted 16 points and also had three steals, Akil Simpson had 11 rebounds and Destynee Hives-McCray had four blocks.
Tulsa had a 41-35 lead in rebounds, but SMU led in steals (9-4), blocks (6-2) and had just 10 turnovers to Tulsa's 21.
SMU shot 38-percent from the field, 38-percent from three-point range and 87-percent from the free throw line.
Tulsa will return to action on Sunday, February 24th at Tulane. Game time is set for 2:00 pm at Fogelman Arena in New Orleans, La.