Mustangs Knock Off ECU

Filed under: SMU Women's Basketball,Sports |

smumustangs.com – Dai’ja Thomas has been consistent in the post for the Mustangs all season, but on Saturday afternoon in Moody Coliseum, the junior dominated. Thomas matched the program record with 22 rebounds while also dropping in a career-high 15 points to lead SMU past ECU, 65-51.

With her astounding 22 rebounds, Thomas became just the fifth player in SMU history to grab at least 20 boards. She was a force on the offensive glass especially, with nine of her rebounds coming on that end of the floor. Behind Thomas’ unrelenting effort, SMU dominated the Pirates on the glass, finishing with 16 more rebounds.

“(Dai’ja Thomas) came out and gave us a post presence from the beginning of the game to the end,” head coach Travis Mays said. “She was the difference. She was able to secure quite a few rebounds. If they would have gone the other way, it could have been second chance points for ECU or fouls against us. My hat goes off to Dai’ja Thomas.”

Kiara Perry (0). Photo by smumustangs.com

The Mustangs were aggressive as a team on the offensive end, attacking the basket and drawing fouls around the rim. That showed in the final free throw tally, as SMU was able to get to the line for 42 shots compared to ECU’s 15.

“We needed an aggressive mindset,” Mays said. “I’ve been harping that we have not been aggressive. We’ve been settling and taking jump shots when we need to drive. I was able to get that point across in, and we were able to get a little bit of separation.”

Senior McKenzie Adams led the way offensively, scoring a team-high 18 points. Adams was a big reason for the free throw advantage SMU enjoyed, knocking in 10 of her 11 free ones from the charity stripe. Fellow senior Kiara Perry finished just one rebound shy of a double-double while dropping in 16 points on efficient 6-of-11 shooting.

SMU’s defense locked down the Pirates in the second half, allowing ECU just one field goal and four points in the entire third quarter to build a comfortable lead. In the final 20 minutes as a whole, the Pirates managed to shoot just over 20 percent from the floor as the Mustangs clamped down for their first conference win.

The Mustangs are back on the road for the next one, traveling to Wichita State on January 16 for a 7 p.m. tip.

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