DALLAS, Texas – The Loyola Marymount women’s basketball team (8-3) was defeated by the SMU Mustangs (5-6) in a Wednesday matinee at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas on Dec. 20. Despite leading by 10 points at the half, the Mustangs were able to battle back and earn the 63-60 victory over the Lions. This marked the biggest comeback win of the year for SMU.
Senior Makenzie Cast started off hot for the Lions, knocking down her first three three-point attempts to rack up nine points just three minutes into the game. Andee Velasco added a three-pointer herself, as the Lions shot 50.0 percent (4-for-8) from long range in the opening quarter to take a 17-13 lead over SMU after one. LMU held the Mustangs without a three-point make in the frame, as they went 0-for-5.
LMU extended its lead to 10 points (33-23) at halftime after outscoring SMU 16-10 in the second quarter. A Velasco poured in five points and pulled down four boards in the frame, and Gabby Green finished the half with six points, five boards and five assists. The Lions’ ball movement allowed them to dish out 11 assists on 13 made field goals in the first two quarters, while the Mustangs tallied just three assists in the opening half.
After SMU opened the second half on a 7-0 run to cut the LMU lead to three, 33-30, Green went off to regain control for the Lions as she scored five points in just 10 seconds after finishing two layups and drawing a foul on the second to complete a three-point play. She followed up these buckets with a three-pointer to score eight points in the first four minutes of the period. The redshirt junior continued her strong play as she racked up 12 of her team-high 18 points in the third. LMU finished the period up six, 51-45.
SMU went on a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter to tie it up at 51-51, but A. Velasco netted a three to put LMU back up 54-51. SMU’s McKenzie Adams then went on to score back-to-back baskets to give the Mustangs the lead at 55-54, which she later extended to 57-54 on a made jumper for her 21st point of the game. The teams continued to battle as Cheyanne Wallace scored five straight points for LMU to tie it up at 59-59. SMU’s Kiara Perry poured in two free throws to regain the Mustangs lead, 61-59. LMU was unable to score on their end, and Ariana Whitfield of the Mustangs put in two more free throws to put SMU up four, 63-59, with 23 seconds to go.
Wallace drew a foul in the lane and netted one of two free throws to make it 63-60, and the ball went out of bounds off of SMU on the miss, giving the Lions possession with 5.9 seconds remaining. The Mustangs smothered the Lions on defense, and LMU was unable to get a final shot off, as SMU secured the victory.
"I'm really proud of our fight today," LMU head coach Charity Elliott said. "You know, it's tough on the road right before Christmas break. We battled. To me, today was just about some basketball-specific errors. But we stayed together and we kept fighting. Again, it's momentum. There were too many times where we didn't keep the momentum which is something we continue to work on. We'll take a much needed break and now it's conference time, so everybody is 0-0."
Along with her 18 points, Green tallied seven rebounds and six assists. A. Velasco pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go along with 12 points and two steals. Wallace finished with 15 points, including 12 in the second half, while Cast added nine.
Adams led all scorers in the contest with her 21 points, while Perry posted a double-double with 20 points and 14 boards for SMU.
LMU netted eight three-pointers in the loss, while SMU connected on just 2-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc. The Lions dished out 17 assists on 23 made field goals, while the Mustangs had just eight assists.
Today’s matchup marked the team's final non-conference game before WCC play begins. The Lions' first WCC contest will occur at home on Thursday, Dec. 28 when LMU hosts the Saint Mary's Gaels at 7 p.m.
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