Jan. 5, 2014
The Last Meeting
February 17, 2013
Late Run Lifts Mustangs To 74-67 Win At Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (SMU) - Alisha Filmore scored 21 points and Akil Simpson grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds with 13 points to lead the Mustangs to a 74-67 win at Memphis Sunday. With the win, SMU maintained a two-game advantage in Conference USA, improving to 10-1 in the league and 19-5 overall, while Memphis fell to 14-11, 5-6 in C-USA.
SMU will play its second game at the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum on Tuesday night against Memphis at 7 p.m. The Mustangs are 10-4 after dropping the Moody Coliseum opener to USF, 76-62, on Saturday afternoon. Keena Mays paces the Mustangs offense with 19.9 points per game, good for first in the American Athletic Conference. Akil Simpson ranks ninth in the league, tallying 13.9 points per game, to go along with a team-leading 7.8 rebounds.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - MEMPHIS
Memphis is 7-7 this season, but has dropped its first two league matches. The Tigers lost a tight home conference opener against Temple, 63-56, on Dec. 29, and lost to top-ranked Connecticut 90-49 on Saturday. Memphis entered league play on a four-game winning streak, winning its first four games in December. The Tigers are led by sophomore guard Ariel Hearn, who is averaging over 18 points in 34.4 minutes per game. Hearn's scoring totals rank second in the league.
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.
LAST TIME OUT - USF
Akil Simpson scored 12 points, becoming the 21st Mustang to reach the 1,000 career point plateau in the opener for the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum, but the USF Bulls pulled out the league win, 76-62, on Saturday afternoon.
Keena Mays added 26 points on 9-of-19 shooting with eight rebounds and four steals, while Simpson also collected nine rebounds in the loss. Simpson hit the 1,000 point mark with a floater in the lane at the 6:01 mark of the first half.
After trailing by double-digits for much of the beginning of the second half, Mays led a charge back into the game, topping off the Mustangs' run with a three-point play after a driving layup at the 12:00 mark of the second half, bringing the deficit to just four at 47-43. The Bulls answered with a 9-0 run over the next 3:12 to open the lead back to 13.
UP NEXT - (RV/RV) RUTGERS
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola returns to her home state of New Jersey to lead the Mustangs against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are receiving votes in both polls, marking the fourth team SMU has faced this season that was ranked or receiving votes at the time of the game. Rutgers is on a seven game win streak, including its first two conference games, going into a Tuesday night contest at Cincinnati. Kahleah Copper leads the team with 16.4 points per game, and is one of four Scarlet Knights averaging at least 10 points. As a team, Rutgers is out-scoring opponents 67.4-53.3,
Series History: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs against 34 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 three more schools and three states to its list of conference opponents.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 44th in the NCAA with 19.9 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 seven times this season, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (7th-4.1/game), steals (10th-1.9/game), and three-point percentage (5th-36.6 percent).
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points 13 of the first 14 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 58.8 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.9 points, ninth in The American, with 7.8 rebounds, ranking eighth in the conference.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Akil Simpson made the reopening of Moody Coliseum on Jan. 4 against USF a day that will live forever, becoming the 21st player to score 1,000 points during a career at SMU. The senior entered the game needing seven points to reach the milestone figure, and finished with 12 points, reaching double digits for the seventh straight game.
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 37 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 702 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 on Dec. 30. 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 249 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 19.9 points off turnovers per game. SMU ranks fourth in the conference with a +2.7 turnover margin. The Mustangs are also out-rebounding opponents 607-572, nearly three rebounds per game.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 230 assists on 360 field goals this season, ranking third in The American with 16.4 assists per game. SMU is second in the league with a 1.1 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 57 assists, including a season-high eight at Eastern Washington and again at SFA, and ranks seventh in the league with 4.1 per game. Korina Baker has 48 assists, ranking 11th with 3.4 per game. Freshman Kiara Perry has 29, and forward Mallory Singleton has 27 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.