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Danielle Maddox

The Green Wave claimed its fifth straight victory in a rowagainst Southern Methodist University with a 75-63 win at FogelmanArena Sunday, improving its overall record to 17-5 (6-3).

After several significant momentum swings on both sides of thecourt, the Wave’s stubborn defense finally held SMU and eventuallyended the game.

Senior center Brett Benzio led the team with a season-high 22points and seven rebounds, but Sunday’s game was a team effort.Guard Olivia Grayson tallied 16 points, followed by guard TyriaSnow’s 11 points, six assists and five steals.

“I’ve just got to give credit to my teammates,” Snow said. “It’sa whole-team effort. Those players are getting open and when theyget open, they hit shots. I’m able to give them the pass, so it’s acredit to my teammates for making the open looks.”

Freshmen forwards Danielle Blagg and Tiffany Dale, eachcontributed an additional 10 points to the scoreboard. In addition,Dale started for the first time in a Green Wave uniform.

“I thought we played very well, especially offensively,” headcoach Lisa Stockton said. “We didn’t turn the ball over a lot, andwe shot pretty well.”

After its initial 13-0 run against SMU, however, the squadlooked disconnected with several rushed bounce passes inside toBenzio, who only tallied six of her 22 points in the first period.The Wave went into the locker room ahead 32-28. Following halftime,however, Benzio immediately scored 11 consecutive points in justthree minutes, interrupted by only one SMU basket, to establish a43-28 lead for the Wave.

“I was just trying to help my team in any way,” Benzio said. “Icouldn’t get open since they were keying in on me in the first halfa little bit more, and they somehow forgot about me in thebeginning of the second half. I converted for my teammates.”

Unfortunately for the Green Wave, the lead did not hold and theMustangs made a 10-0 run to close the gap from 15 points to justfive at 43-38.

“They came back because the defense broke down,” Stockton said.”We were able to switch up our defenses a little bit and shut themdown. We’ve got to learn that teams this good are going to comeback on you, and you have to respond.”

Both teams struggled to build a sizable lead until Benziofinally shut the Mustangs out with a show-stopping block, whichcaused a shift in momentum that ignited the Wave’s offence.

“I led the conference in blocks last year and it’s somethingthat I think they have to worry about – me being inside of thepaint – and it changes how the guards can play and how they canprotect the basket,” Benzio said. “I think that block right therepretty much sealed the deal on the fact that they weren’t going tobe able to attack the basket anymore.”

Stockton gave the upperclassmen credit for the win.

“We responded offensively tonight, but defensively we brokedown,” Stockton said. “Those upperclassmen came in and shut themdown.”