Jan. 11, 2013
SMU RETURNS HOME AGAINST UCF SUNDAY
Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
Mustangs Take 60-48 Win At UCF For Fourth Straight Victory
ORLANDO, Fla. (SMU) - The Mustangs out-scored UCF 34-19 in the second half to take a 60-48 victory on the road for their fourth straight win, improving to 11-8, 4-2 in Conference USA, while the Knights fell to 9-10, 4-3 in C-USA.
After three straight road games, the Mustangs take on UCF in Moody Coliseum Sunday at 2 p.m. It is the first home conference game for the Mustangs after winning 62-56 at Tulane in the Conference USA opener. SMU is on the road again Thursday, facing Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the Mustangs host Rice the following Sunday.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS
SMU: The Mustangs are 10-4 on the season after knocking off preseason favorite Tulane 62-56 on the road in the first C-USA game of the season. Keena Mays leads the conference with 25.0 points per game, and scored 27 at Tulane. SMU is fourth in the league in scoring offense, averaging 68.3 points, and leads the conference shooting 34.9 percent on 3-point attempts.
UCF: The Knights are 6-9 overall after a 64-46 loss at home to UAB in the first conference game of the season. Briahanna Jackson leads the team with 14.9 points per game, and Gevenia Carter is scoring 13.1 points per game. UCF is 10th in the league, scoring 57.7 points per game as a team, but opponents are scoring 61.5. UCF shoots 34 percent from the field, 25 percent on 3-point attempts and 66 percent from the free throw line.
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.
UP NEXT - SOUTHERN MISS
The Mustangs travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to face the Golden Eagles Thursday at 7 p.m. Southern Miss is 9-5 overall and won its C-USA opener 48-46 against Marshall. Jamierra Faulkner leads the team, scoring 17.1 points per game, and Tanecka Carey is averaging 16.1 points. Faulker leads the conference in assists, handing out 6.4 per game. USM is out-scoring opponents 62.9 to 61.1, shooting 39.7 percent from the field.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 5-4 all-time against Southern Miss, but have lost three of the last four after winning four in a row. SMU is just 1-32in Hattiesburg, dropping the last two on the road. The series started on Nov. 24, 1989 when the Golden Eagles defeated the Mustangs in the season-opening Dallas Hilton Inn Classic. Last season, Alisha Filmore scored 20 points, but Jamierra Faulker scored 28 to lead Southern Miss to a 74-67 win in Dallas.
LAST TIME OUT - TULANE
Keena Mays scored a put-back bucket off her own miss to give SMU a 55-51 lead with 2:14 left, and the Mustangs made all six of their free throws in the last 36 seconds to take a 62-56 win at Tulane in Devlin Fieldhouse Thursday night in the Conference USA opener, snapping a string of seven straight wins by the home team in the series. Mays finished with a game-high 27 points, going 9-of-19 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line, eclipsing 20 points in five of six games this season. The junior transfer also had eight rebounds and five assists with three steals. SMU out-scored Tulane 36-29 in the second half, shooting 46.2 percent, 12-of-26, while holding the Green Wave to 36.7-percent, 11-of-30. Korina Baker hit a three to start the second half, and Akil Simpson scored a fastbreak layup to give the Mustangs a four-point lead, 31-27 with 18:48 left in the game. SMU stretched the lead to five three four times during the half, which included five ties and three lead changes, before pushing the advantage to seven, SMU's largest of the game, with 26 seconds left to seal the victory.
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 25.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in six games, and the Mustangs are 5-1 since her SMU debut.
Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in 12 games this season, including the last four straight, with a season-high 22 in the win over Harvard. She is 15th in C-USA, averaging 12.6 points per game and is 13th in the league shooting 32.7 percent from 3-point range. She has 858 points in her career, needing to maintain an average of 10 points per game to become the 20th player in program history with 1,000 career points.
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.
DOMINANT OUTSIDE THE ARC
The Mustangs lead Conference USA, shooting 34.9 percent from the perimeter, making 68 of 195 3-point attempts, and SMU is one of only four teams in the league shooting higher than 30 percent from behind the arc. Keena Mays and Kristin Askew are shooting a league-high 45.5 percent. Mays has made 20 of 44 attempts in six games, and Askew is 10-for-22 from behind the arc. Korina Baker is seventh in C-USA, going 14 of 40 from distance, 35.0 percent. SMU is sixth in C-USA and 30th in the country in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 28.1 percent behind the arc.
RUNNING THE POINT
Korina Baker has a team-high 51 assists and is ninth in the league with 3.6 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, and is averaging 5.5 points per game.
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 390 games during her career at SMU. With 10 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.
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 14 games, including seven of the last nine, after reaching 70 just four times last season. SMU had two players eclipse 20 points in two consecutive games games, and the Mustangs are averaging 68.3 points per game, nearly 10 points more than last year. Keena Mays is leading the league with 25.0 points per game, and Alisha Filmore is scoring 12.6 per game. Akil Simpson is up to 9.7 per game after scoring at least 10 in four of the last five games, including a season-high 20 at San Diego State.
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 40 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 six games and eclipsed 20 in five.
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 two games at the Surf 'N Slam Classic in San Diego, 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.