Jan. 2, 2014
The Last Meeting
December 19, 2010
Las Vegas, Nev.
Mustangs Drop Close Contest To South Florida 61-55
LAS VEGAS (SMU) - The SMU women's basketball team dropped a close contest to South Florida, falling 61-55 to the Bulls in the second game of the BTI Classic in Las Vegas. The Mustangs (5-5) led 55-54 with just under two minutes left in the game, but the Bulls (9-4) held the Mustangs scoreless down the stretch to take the victory.
The Mustangs play their first game of the season in newly-renovated Moody Coliseum against USF on ESPN3 at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. SMU is 10-3 on the season, and 1-1 in the American Athletic Conference after a road win at Cincinnati Wednesday. Keena Mays
leads the league with 19.4 points per game, and Akil Simpson
is 10th, averaging 14.0. The Bulls are 6-7 overall, 1-1 in league play after a win at Houston on New Year's Eve snapped a four-game losing streak.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - USF
The Bulls are 6-7 overall, 1-1 in The American, after winning at Houston on Tuesday, 77-54, to snap a four-game losing streak. Courtney Williams leads the team with 14.6 points per game, while Alisia Jenkins averages a double-double with 10.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest. As a team, USF is averaging 70.4 points per game, two points less than SMU's 72.7 offensive average, while opponents are scoring 62.0. The Bulls rank second in rebounds, averaging 47.0, just one-half rebound per game behind league-leader Louisville.
Series History: USF won the only meeting 61-55 on Dec. 19, 2010 at the BTI Classic in Las Vegas.
LAST TIME OUT - CINCINNATI
Keena Mays scored 15 points, eclipsing 1,000 for her career including points at Kansas, to lead the Mustangs to a 54-43 win at Cincinnati for their first American Athletic Conference victory on New Year's Day Wednesday afternoon at the Fifth Third Arena. SMU improves to 10-3, 1-1 The American, with the win, while Cincinnati falls to 7-6, 1-1 The American.
Mays went 6-for-14, including three 3-pointers, and also had six rebounds and three assists. Akil Simpson hit double-digits for the 12th time this season, tallying 13 points in the game to get to within seven of 1,000 career points.
UP NEXT - MEMPHIS
The Mustangs host Memphis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before returning to the road for games at Rutgers (Jan. 11) and Temple (Jan. 14). All three games will air on The American Digital Network. Memphis is 7-6, 0-1 The American, dropping their first conference game at home to Temple, 63-56, its first loss in five games. Ariel Hearn leads the team with 18.6 points per game, second behind SMU's Keena Mays in the conference, and is shooting 45.3 percent from behind the arc. The Tigers also have seven other players scoring at least five points. Memphis is averaging 67.2 points per game, while opponents score 66.2.
Series History: SMU went 6-3 against the Tigers while the two schools were members of Conference USA, and is 6-4 all-time against Memphis. SMU won five straight after Memphis won the first meeting, a 99-77 win on Dec. 10, 1994 in Memphis. The Mustangs won the first five conference games, and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 74-67 win at Memphis last season.
Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs against 33 different conference opponents during her time as head coach. The American Athletic Conference is the fourth the SMU women's basketball team has been a member of, competing in the Southwest Conference (8 opponents) until joining the Western Athletic Conference (18 opponents, 16 new) prior to the 1996-97 season. The Mustangs became members of Conference USA (11 opponents, 7 new) in 2005-06. The Mustangs have played conference games in 19 different states, as far west as Hawaii and as far north as Idaho. By the end of this season, SMU will add four more schools and four states to its list of conference opponents.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 44th in the NCAA with 19.4 points per game, and is the only player in the conference with multiple Player of the Week awards, earning her third on Dec. 9 after scoring a career-high 34 points in a five-point loss at UTEP, and broke 30 for the second straight game with 32 at North Texas. She has eclipsed 20 six times this season, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (6th-4.3/game), steals (11th-1.7/game), and three-point percentage (5th-36.5 percent).
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points 12 of the first 13 games, including a season-high 20 at SFA. The senior posted her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds at UTEP, and has 20 during her career, recording nine as a sophomore. She scored 11 points against No. 3/4 Tennessee and had 14 at No. 7/7 Louisville. Simpson leads the team, is second in the conference and ranks 18th in the NCAA, shooting 60.0 percent from the field. She is averaging 14.0 points, 10th in The American, with 7.7 rebounds, ranking 10th in the conference.
CHASING A MILESTONE
Akil Simpson is just seven points shy of becoming the 21st player to record 1,000 points as a Mustang. Simpson would be the first Mustang to reach the 1,000 point club since Alisha Filmore did so last season. Simpson has scored at least 10 points in each of the last six games, and reached double figures in 12 of 13 games this season.
GRAND AND A-MAYS-ING
Keena Mays scored the 1,000th point of her career at Cincinnati. The senior guard scored 331 points in 43 games at Kansas before transferring to SMU. In 36 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 676 points. She would need to average 20 points for the rest of the season to get to 1,000 points at SMU.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Kiara Perry was named American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week, league officials announced Monday. The lone freshman on SMU's roster finished with 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds at No. 7 Louisville in the first conference game of the season.
The 5-10, Duncanville, Texas, native matched senior Akil Simpson with a team-high six field goals in the game, reaching double figures for the fourth time this season and the first time since Nov. 19 against Mississippi Valley State. The 13 points was one shy of her season-high 14 points, which she scored in back-to-back games. Nine rebounds matched her season-high, which she set on Nov. 16 at Eastern Washington.
GET THE BALL
The Mustangs have forced 231 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 19.6 points off turnovers per game. SMU ranks fourth in the conference with a +3.0 turnover margin. The Mustangs are also out-rebounding opponents 566-528, or about three rebounds per game.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 216 assists on 338 field goals this season, ranking third in The American with 16.6 assists per game. SMU is second in the league with a 1.1 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 56 assists, including a season-high eight at Eastern Washington and again at SFA, and ranks sixth in the league with 4.3 per game. Korina Baker has 45 assists, ranking 11th with 3.5 per game. Freshman Kiara Perry has 27, and forward Mallory Singleton has 25 with a career-high seven against Southeastern Louisiana.
PRESENCE IN THE PAINT
Destynee Hives-McCray is third on the team with 11.0 points per game, and the post player is second with 7.0 rebounds per game. She is one of just two Mustangs shooting at least 50 percent with more than 20 attemps, hitting 53.8 percent from the field. She has reached double figures six times this season, and has two double-doubles. She has also grabbed at least 10 rebounds in three games.
MOODY GETS A FACELIFT
The $47 million renovation and expansion of Moody Coliseum, which opened in December 1956, will be completed in December, and the Mustangs will host all conference games on campus. The renovated Moody Coliseum will provide many new and improved features, including a renovated main entry lobby, expanded concourses with raised ceilings, club seats, loge boxes, private suites, group suites, new event space, offices, team locker rooms and meeting space. SMU will play its first basketball games with a men's and women's doubleheader on Jan. 4. The women will play USF at 3:30 in ESPN3.
NEW HEIGHTS IN BROADCAST COVERAGE
For the first time in program history, SMU women's basketball fans will have the opportunity to watch all 29 regular-season games live this season. The Mustangs will have two games on ESPNU this season, Dec. 29 at Louisville, and again when SMU hosts the Cardinals on Jan. 19 in the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum. ESPN will broadcast two games live on its digital channel, ESPN3, including the first game of the season in Moody Coliseum, a Jan. 4 matchup against USF. The Memphis game on Feb. 22 in the FedEx Forum will also be on ESPN3. SportsNet New York will carry both games against Connecticut. SMU will also play seven games on the American Digital Network, and the other eight home games will air on PonyUp TV.
Head coach Rhonda Rompola and associate head coach Lisa Dark have been together on the sidelines since Rompola took over the reins of the program 23 seasons ago. Assistant coach Deneen Parker is in her 19th season with the Mustangs. The SMU staff has the second longest active tenure of any staff at one school. Danny Hughes is in his fifth year with the program.
Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs to the NCAA Tournament seven times and the WNIT five times in 22 seasons. The Mustangs have captured two conference tournament championships, winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament in 1999 and the C-USA tournament in 2008, and three regular season titles under her leadership. She has coached three All-Americans, three Conference Players of the Year, two Conference Defensive Players of the Year and 34 All-Conference selections. Rompola has also earned six Coach of the Year honors during her career.