DALLAS (SMU) – Ariana Whitfield hit the game-winner with 7.2 seconds left as the Mustangs topped the Temple Owls, 53-52, in a Wednesday thriller inside Moody Coliseum.
After Temple hit 1-of-2 from the line to send the Owls up by one, the Mustangs called a timeout and set up their game-winning play. After the Whitfield bucket, the SMU defense forced the ball into the corner where Temple coughed it up and secured the Mustang win.
At the game’s beginning, the Mustangs got off to a strong start on both ends of the floor in the first quarter. They jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the first eight minutes and carried a 20-10 advantage after 10 minutes. SMU assisted on seven of nine baskets in the quarter and forced five Owl turnovers.
SMU stretched the lead to 15 with more solid play in the second period. Johnasia Cash pulled in eight first half boards and contributed five points while holding the Owls to 25% from the field in the first half.
Temple trailed by as many as 19 in the third, as the Mustangs took advantage of early second half success. But, the Owls were able to scratch the lead away to seven heading into the game’s final quarter. The Mustangs turned it over seven times in the quarter and a cold stretch near the end of the period helped the Temple comeback attempt.
The Owls had their first lead of the game with eight minutes to go in the half after starting the half on a 8-0 run. The Mustangs would quickly take the lead back, but a Temple 11-0 run put the Owls up by nine with 2:15 remaining. SMU wasn’t done fighting as they went on a run of their own to cut it to a one-score game with 39 seconds left. In the waning seconds with Temple trying to drain the clock, BriShonne Tollie swiped the ball from the Owl offense with 12 seconds left, and took off down toward the hoop before pulling up in front of the three-point arc and canning the game-tying three.
The Mustangs improve to 9-17 on the season and 3-10 in American Conference play. Temple falls to 9-17 and 5-8 in conference.
Kayla White led the Mustangs in scoring with a 10-point night. Cash led the team in boards with nine while Makenzie Ellis and JaQuia White each contributed four dimes.
Next up, the Mustangs are on the road at Tulane on Sunday. The game is set for a 2 p.m. tip.