Jan. 1, 2014
CINCINNATI - Alyesha Lovett (Newark, N.J./Malcolm X Shabazz) and Jasmine Whitfield (Crestwood, Ky./South Oldham) tied or set career scoring highs but it was not enough as the University of Cincinnati women's basketball team dropped a 54-43 decision to visiting SMU in American Athletic Conference action Wednesday inside Fifth Third Arena.
Lovett led all players with 17, setting a season high and tying her career best, hit at Georgetown on Jan. 29, 2013. Whitfield's 10 points set her career best, surpassing the six-point mark she had hit four times.
Jeanise Randolph (Chicago, Ill./Thornton Fractional North) just missed a double-double, knocking down 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Kayla Cook (South Webster, Ohio/South Webster) added five assists.
The Bearcats (7-6, 0-2 American) struggled from the floor all day, firing at a 36.0-percent clip (18-of-50) and knocking down only five of 18 three pointers. The teams combined to shoot only nine free throws.
SMU (10-3, 1-1 American) went to an inside game in the second half, outscoring the Bearcats 28-14 in the paint and holding a 36-27 advantage on the boards.
The Mustangs were led by Keena Mays and Akil Simpson, who finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Raven Short had nine rebounds and Korina Baker grabbed seven boards.
UC was without injured leading scorer Dayeesha Hollins (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods/Michigan) who had averaged 13.3 ppg. Freshman Bianca Quisenberry (Springfield, Ohio/Tecumseh) made her first career start.
SMU led 29-21 at halftime after the Bearcats opened up with a 9-for-28 (.321) shooting performance. UC was 3-of-12 (.250) from behind the three-point line and only made it to the charity stripe twice, missing both.
SMU got 10 first-half points out of Mays and overcame its own sluggish start from behind the three-point line (2-of-7/.286), leading by as many as 13 with 12:17 left in the stanza after a 16-2 run made the score 20-7.
UC used an 11-5 run over the next 4:47 to pull within four, 25-21 with 4:16 left in the half. That closed out the scoring for the Bearcats in the half as UC missed its last four shots and turned it over three times in the final four minutes.
The Bearcats are back on the road Saturday, continuing American Athletic Conference action against No. 7 Louisville in the KFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. ET.