Jan. 12, 2014
The Mustangs conclude a two-game road trip at Temple in Philadelphia Tuesday at 11 a.m. CT. SMU enters the game, which will be its third straight on the American Digital Network, with an 11-5 record overall and 2-3 in conference after a 10-point loss at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, who remained perfect at home after the 64-54 win, were the fourth SMU opponent that was ranked or receiving votes at the time of the game.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - TEMPLE
The Owls are 8-7 overall, 2-3 The American, after losing three of their last four, including games against top-ranked Connecticut and No. 7 Louisville. The Huskies, Temple fourth ranked opponent of the season, won 80-36 at home. Feyond Fitzgerald leads the team with 13.4 points per game, and Natasha Thames is averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds. The Owls are shooting 40.8 percent from the field and scoring 65.5 points per game, but are one of just two teams in the league averaging less than 40 rebounds per game (39.6).
Series History: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
LAST TIME OUT - (RV/RV) RUTGERS
Kiara Perry recorded her first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Akil Simpson added the 22nd of her career with 10 points and 11 rebounds, but Rutgers spoiled the homecoming of SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola with a 64-54 win in New Jersey.
Keena Mays led SMU with 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but the Mustangs fell victim to the full-court pressure by the Scarlet Knights late, falling to 11-5 on the season and 2-3 in the American Athletic Conference. With the win, Rutgers stretched its win streak to eight games, improving to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in The American.
UP NEXT - NO. 5 LOUISVILLE
The Mustangs host No. 5 Louisville Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU, the second time the two teams will compete on national television this season. Louisville won the first meeting 71-51 in the KFC Yum! Center on Dec. 29. The Cardinals are 15-1 overall and 3-0 in The American, with games at USF and at home against UCF before coming to Dallas. Shoni Schimmel leads the team with 16.4 points per game, and Sara Hammond and Bria Smith also score 10 per game. Louisville is out-scoring opponents 85.4-59.5, and is averaging nearly 12 more rebounds per game.
Series History: The two programs met for the second time in history on Dec. 29 this season, with Louisville taking a 71-51 win at home. Akil Simpson scored 14 points to lead SMU, and Kiara Perry added 13. The Mustangs won the first meeting 71-54 on Nov. 29, 1996 in Boulder, Colo.
Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs against 35 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 21 different states, as far west as Hawaii and as far north as Idaho. By the end of this season, SMU will add two more schools and two states to its list of conference opponents.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 39th in the NCAA with 19.3 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 (6th-3.9/game), steals (7th-1.9/game), and three-point percentage (7th-34.9 percent).
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 15 of the first 16 games, including a season-high 22 against Memphis. The senior posted her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds at Rutgers, and has 22 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 fourth in the conference and ranks 24th in the NCAA, shooting 56.8 percent from the field. She is averaging 14.1 points, seventh in The American, with 8.3 rebounds, ranking sixth 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 39 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 732 points. She would need to average 20 points for the rest of the season to get to 1,000 points at SMU.
A LITTLE EXTRA
The Mustangs have played three overtime games this season for the first time during the regular season, and matching the most overtime games in a season. SMU played two regular-season overtime games during the 1997-98 and 2003-04 seasons, and had an overtime contest in both conference tournaments during those seasons. SMU is 3-0 in overtime games for the first time in program history, beating TCU and North Texas in overtime and Memphis in double overtime. The Mustangs have never played more than four overtime periods in a season, something they have done four times (1989-90, 1996-97, 2010-11, 2013-14), despite playing four overtimes in one game at TCU in a 127-125 win on Jan. 25, 1997.
GET THE BALL
The Mustangs have forced 294 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 19.6 points off turnovers per game, six more than opponents. SMU ranks fourth in the conference with a +2.8 turnover margin. SMU has 131 steals this season, averaging 8.2 per game. Five players have at least 15 steals, led by Keena Mays' 31.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 255 assists on 407 field goals this season, ranking third in The American with 15.9 assists per game. SMU is second in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 62 assists, including a season-high eight at Eastern Washington and again at SFA, and ranks sixth in the league with 3.9 per game. Korina Baker has 55 assists, ranking 11th with 3.4 per game. Freshman Kiara Perry has 33, and forward Mallory Singleton has 29 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.