Mays stopped in SMU’s loss to No. 7 Louisville

Southern Methodist guard Keena Mays came into the game against

No. 7 Louisville tops in the American Athletic Conference in

scoring at nearly 21 points a game. As a team, the Mustangs were

averaging 76 points.

Mays and her team didn’t come close to reaching either mark.

Mays was held to seven points and SMU shot just 35 percent from

the field in a 71-51 loss to the Cardinals in the teams’ conference

opener. Akil Simpson led the Mustangs (9-3, 0-1) with 14 points

while Kiara Perry added 13.

Shoni Schimmel scored 18 points, Sara Hammond had 14 points and

10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season, and

Louisville (13-1, 1-0) got its sixth straight win.

Schimmel made four of the team’s five 3-point shots, and Bria

Smith added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Mustangs coach Rhonda Rompola wasn’t surprised by Louisville’s

focus on stopping Mays.

”They did what we expect every team to do leading up to this

game,” Rompola said. ”To be honest, I’m really amazed we’ve gone

this long and teams haven’t doubled down. They are going to double

her. They are going to face guard her. When teams do that, the rest

of our team has got to step up offensively.”

Mays finished 3 of 13 from the field including 1 of 6 from three

point range. Mays had three assists and three turnovers as the

Mustangs shot just 27.6 percent in the second-half (8 of 29).

”Our goal was to try to limit her touches as much as we could

and I thought we did an outstanding job of that,” Louisville coach

Jeff Walz said. ”She’s a very explosive player who averages about

20 a night. We didn’t want her to get scoring early and get going

and build some confidence.”

The score was tied 23-all with 7:50 left in the first half when

Louisville went on a 26-7 spurt to take a 47-30 lead with 45

seconds to go before halftime.

”We couldn’t hit a shot and when we could hit a shot, we

couldn’t rebound the ball,” said Simpson, who made 6 of 8 field

goals and had seven rebounds. ”We went 8 minutes of the second

half without scoring a field goal, and that’s not going to work,

especially a good team like Louisville. We just need to get in the

gym and work on our shots.”

The Cardinals’ lead ballooned to 63-33 before Simpson’s rebound

and basket with 10:35 to play.

”Today, the difference in SMU and Louisville, they knocked down

not just easy shots, they knocked down tough shots. We did not,”

said Rompola.

SMU made just 1 of 18 three-point attempts and was out rebounded

48-35. The Mustangs had 15 turnovers.

The Mustangs trailed 71-44 with 3:59 to play and scored the

final seven points of the game.

”Louisville is just as advertised,” said Simpson. ”They are a

really good team. They hit the boards, they are going to scrap. I

think we scrapped with them. I think we fought with them. We just

have to hit shots.”