Jan. 8, 2013
SMU BEGINS C-USA ACTION AT TULANE
Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: New Orleans, La. (Devlin Fieldhouse)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
The Mustangs start the Conference USA schedule at 11-2 Tulane Thursday at 7 p.m. in New Orleans, La. SMU enters the game 9-4 after winning four of its last six, led by junior transfer Keena Mays, who has scored at least 20 points in four of her first five games with the Mustangs. SMU will host UCF in the C-USA home opener Sunday in Moody Coliseum at 2 p.m.
Mustangs Come Back For Five-Point Win Over Tulane In Home Finale
DALLAS (SMU) - The Mustangs had 10 players score in a 54-49 victory over Tulane in Moody Coliseum on Sunday. Alisha Filmore led the charge with 12 points, and Akil Simpson grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds in the win.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS
SMU: The Mustangs posted a 9-4 mark in non-conference competition, winning four of their last six. Keena Mays has provided a spark, averaging 24.6 points per game over the last five, including a career-high 33 against Stephen F. Austin. The SMU offense has exploded since her arrival, scoring 88 points for the first time since Dec. 28, 2008, and the Mustangs are averaging 68.8 points.
TULANE: The Green Wave enter the contest with the league's second-best non-conference mark, going 11-2 and winning six of the last seven. Whitney Bibbins leads the team with 15.5 points per game, and is third on the team with 6.1 rebounds per game. Danielle Blagg scores 9.3 points per game, shooting 35.3 percent from 3-point range, 24-of-68. Tulane is tied for second in C-USA in scoring offense, just ahead of SMU with 69.5 points, while holding opponents to 59.2.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 12-15 all-time against the Green Wave, splitting the season series with each team winning its home game in the last three seasons. The two teams first met on Jan. 26, 1980 when Tulane won 72-62 in Dallas.
LAST SEASON: Akil Simpson scored a career-high 25 points with 10 rebounds at Tulane in a 75-63 loss to the Green Wave. Alisha Filmore added 15 points on the road. In Dallas, Filmore scored a team-high 12 points, but the SMU defense was the story, holding Tulane to 49 points in a 54-49 SMU win.
LONG TIME RIVALS
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola, in her 22nd season, and Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton, in her 19th season, are Conference USA's longest tenured head coaches. The two have faced each other 21 times during their careers, with Stockton holding an 11-10 advantage in the series, which began with a 74-71 SMU win at Tulane on Dec. 30, 1994.
UP NEXT - UCF
The Mustangs host UCF in the Conference USA home opener Sunday in Moody Coliseum at 2 p.m. SMU will honor its alumni at halftime against the east division rival. The Knights won their last three to improve to 6-8 after starting the season 1-5. Briahanna Jackson leads the team with 15.3 points per game, and Gevenia Carter is averaging 13.2, but UCF is getting outscored 61.3-58.5 by opponents this season.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 7-2 all-time against the Knights after winning the last three straight. SMU won the first meeting 69-57 on Feb. 10, 2006 in Orlando, starting a string of four straight wins. SMU is 4-0 against the Knights in Dallas. Alisha Filmore scored 15 points and Krystal Johnson had nine in a 60-48 win at UCF last season.
LAST TIME OUT - HARVARD
The Mustangs scored a season-high 88 points, and Keena Mays and Alisha Filmore each eclipsed 20 points as SMU improved to 9-4 with an 88-73 win over Harvard (7-5) in the second round of the Surf `N Slam Classic at San Diego State University. Mays scored 25 points, reaching 20 for the fourth time in five games, going 8-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Filmore scored a season-high 22 points on an 8-of-15 performance, and hit four 3-pointers in eight attempts. Mays also had a season-high eight assists with five rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
WORTH THE WAIT
Keena Mays had 33 points agaisnt Stephen F. Austin, tied for ninth in a game at SMU and the most by a Mustang since D-dra Rucker scored 33 points at Fresno State on Jan. 28, 2001. The stellar performance also made her the first player at SMU to score at least 20 in back-to-back games since Delisha Wills scored 22 and 20 in consecutive games in December 2010. In her first game since transferring to SMU from Kansas in Jan. 2012, she scored 23 points with 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks. It was the second double-double of her career after scoring 12 points with 10 assists against Michigan as a freshman. Mays is averaging 24.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in five games, and the Mustangs are 4-1 since her SMU debut.
Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in 11 games this season, with a season-high 22 in the win over Harvard. She is tied for 15th in C-USA, averaging 12.7 points per game. After spending most of her first two seasons on the Hilltop playing the point guard position, Filmore was second on the team in scoring last season, averaging 10.2 points per game. She scored at least 10 points in 15 of the Mustangs' 31 games, including a career-high 29 points against TAMU-CC on Dec. 18, 2011. Filmore also had 26 points against Houston. She was the leading scorer in nine games last season.
Freshman Gabrielle Wilkins is averaging 6.0 points per game. She has scored at least 10 points in three games, scoring 11 points in her debut against North Texas. She finished with 12 and 13 points in the two SMU Classic games. She tied a C-USA record and set the SMU single-game record with 10 steals against SIU-Edwardsville. She has 21 steals on the season.
The Mustangs scored 88 points for the first time since Dec. 28, 2008 when they scored 92 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and have scored at least 70 in eight of 13 games, including seven of the last eight, after reaching 70 just four times last season. SMU had two players eclipse 20 points in each of the last two games, and the Mustangs are averaging 68.8 points per game, nearly 10 points more than last year. Keena Mays is leading the league with 24.6 points per game, and Alisha Filmore is scoring 12.7 per game. Akil Simpson is up to 9.9 per game after scoring at least 10 in the last four games.
DOMINANT OUTSIDE THE ARC
The Mustangs lead Conference USA, shooting 35.2 percent from the perimeter, making 63 of 179 3-point attempts. Kristin Askew is shooting a league-high 50.0 percent, going 8-of-16 from behind the arc. Mays is shooting 48.6 percent from the perimeter, making 18 of 37 in five games. Korina Baker is 10th in C-USA, going 13 of 38 from distance, 34.2 percent. SMU is sixth in C-USA and 30th in the country in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 27.7 percent behind the arc.
RUNNING THE POINT
Korina Baker has a team-high 49 assists and is ninth in the league with 3.8 per game. She handed out a career-high nine assists against Montana State, and has had at least four six times. She has also scored a career-high 12 points twice.
In the past six seasons, the SMU has had three 20-win seasons, won a Conference USA Tournament Championship, a C-USA Regular Season title, advanced to the NCAA Tournament and made two WNIT appearances.
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 22 seasons ago. Assistant coach Deneen Parker is in her 18th season with the Mustangs. The SMU staff has the second longest active tenure of any staff at one school. Danny Hughes joined the staff prior to the 2009-10 season and is in his fourth year with the program.
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs to the NCAA Tournament seven times and the WNIT four times in 21 seasons. The Mustangs have captured two conference tournament championships, winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament in 1999 and the Conference USA tournament in 2008, and two regular season titles under her leadership. She has coached three All-Americans, two Conference Players of the Year, two Conference Defensive Players of the Year and 31 All-Conference selections. Rompola has also been named Coach of the Year six times during her career.
ROMPOLA CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has won 389 games during her career at SMU. With 11 more wins this season, Rompola would get her ninth 20-win season and reach 400 wins in her career, something only 40 NCAA Division I coaches have accomplished in their careers. Last season, Rompola passed former SMU men's soccer head coach Schellas Hyndman for most wins by a coach at SMU with the 369th win of her career, a 47-38 victory over TCU on Nov. 17, 2011. She earned her 350th career win on Feb. 25, 2010 with a 69-61 win against UCF.
SIGNING CLASS RATED AS ONE OF NATION'S BEST
Head coach Rhonda Rompola called the 2012-13 freshmen class one of best in the history of the SMU program. Farrin Bell averaged 20 points and five rebounds per game at Richardson High School. Nia Jackson scored 13 points with eight rebounds per contest at Argyle Liberty Christian High School in Keller, Texas. Gabrielle Wilkins led Garland High School with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Lexus Williams put up 12 points and 10 boards at North Little Rock High School. Combined with transfers Korina Baker, Brittney Hardy and Keena Mays, the seven-player class was rated as one of the top 20 classes in the country by Dan Olsen's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
LIVING UP TO THE HYPE
Nine Mustangs have scored in double-figures 38 times this season, including two freshmen and transfers Korina Baker and Keena Mays. Freshman Farrin Bell scored 12 points in the season opener against Alcorn State, and finished with 12 in the win over North Texas. Gabrielle Wilkins also hit double-digits in her collegiate debut, earning C-USA Freshman of the Week honors after scoring 11 points with five rebounds against North Texas. Wilkins scored at least 10 in three games this season, scoring 12 and 13 in the SMU Classic. Baker scored 12 points against Texas Southern, and added 12 at TCU, making four 3-point shots. Keena Mays scored 23 in her SMU debut against Louisiana-Monroe, and finished with a career-high 33 against Stephen F. Austin. She scored at least 10 in all five games and eclipsed 20 in four.
ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM
Akil Simpson was named to the All-C-USA Second Team after finishing the regular season with 10.6 points per game, and tied for ninth in the league with 7.3 rebounds. She had seven double-doubles in the regular season and scored at least 20 points three times, with a career-high 25 points at Tulane. She grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds against Houston. Simpson was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2011. She was named to the C-USA All-Preseason Team this year.
Keena Mays and Destynee Hives-McCray became the first tandem to post a double-double in the same game since Janielle Dodds and Sharee Shepherd accomplished the feat against UAB on Feb. 17, 2008. Mays had 23 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, in her SMU debut, while Hives-McCray scored 11 points with 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
In the past two games, Keena Mays teamed with Akil Simpson and then Alisha Filmore to give SMU two players with at least 20 points. Mays scored 26 at San Diego State and Simpson finished with 20. In SMU's win over Harvard, Mays scored 25 and Filmore added 22.
SMU IS DALLAS' TEAM
The new SMU marketing slogan "SMU is Dallas' Team" is a very accurate description of the women's basketball program. Since the start of the program in 1976, 72 of 105 letter winners were natives of Texas. This season, 12 of 14 players are Texas natives, and all 12 list hometowns in or around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Of the four coaches on staff, head coach Rhonda Rompola, a New Jersey native, is the only one not from Texas.