Jan. 17, 2014
The Last Meeting
December 29, 2013
Mustangs Suffer First Conference Loss At No. 7 Louisville Sunday
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SMU) - Akil Simpson scored 14 points to lead the Mustangs, but the top-scoring offense in the American Athletic Conference led No. 7 Louisville to a 71-51 win over SMU in the conference opener for both teams Sunday in the KFC Yum! Center.
The Mustangs return home after a six day, two game road trip to host a rematch against No. 5 Louisville in Moody Coliseum Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Fans are asked to wear white to the nationally-televised contest, which will air on ESPNU. SMU is 11-6 on the season, 2-4 in the American Athletic Conference, despite boasting the league's leading scorer in Keena Mays, who is averaging 19.5 points per game. The Cardinals are 17-1, 5-0 in league play, including a 71-51 win over the Mustangs in the KFC Yum! Center.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - NO. 5 LOUISVILLE
The Cardinals are 15-1 overall, 5-0 in The American, and have won 10 straight since a 69-64 loss at then No. 7 Kentucky. Louisville is the league's second-highest scoring offense, averaging 83.6 points per game, led by Shoni Schimmel's team-high 17.5. Sara Hammond and Bria Smith also score more than 10 per game. Louisville is out-scoring opponents 83.6-59.0, 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.
LAST TIME OUT - TEMPLE
Four Mustangs scored in double figures, led by 23 from Keena Mays, but SMU could not overcome a second half run by Temple as the Owls won 80-66 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
SMU fell to 11-6 (2-4 The American) in the loss while Temple improved to 9-7 (3-3). Mays and Akil Simpson (10 points) scored in double-digits for the 16th time in 17 games this season. Kiara Perry scored 12, putting her in double-digits for the third straight game. As a team, SMU shot a season-high 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field.
Temple pulled away with an 18-4 run from the 13:40 mark to 5:05 to take a 66-54 lead. Temple also had four players in double figures, including two off the bench. Rateska Brown hit four 3-pointers off the bench for the Owls, totaling 15 points for the game. Feyonda Fitzgerald and Tyonna Williams led the Owls with 16 points each.
UP NEXT - HOUSTON
The Mustangs travel to Houston to take on the Cougars (4-12, 0-5 The American) Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. on the American Digital Network. Te'onna Campbell leads the team, averaging 10.7 points, and is second with 7.2 rebounds per game, behind Yasmeen Thompson, who is grabbing 7.9 with 6.4 points per game.
The Mustangs are 19-29 all-time against Houston, but are 19-10 since Rhonda Rompola took over the helm in 1991. SMU has won three of the last four, but split the season series last year, winning 58-54 at home before falling 65-58 in Houston. The American is the third different conference the two schools have both been members of together (Southwest Conference and C-USA).
Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs against 36 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 one more schools and one states to its list of conference opponents.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 44th in the NCAA with 19.5 points per game, and is one of only two players 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 eight 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 (6th-34.2 percent).
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 16 of the first 17 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 third in the conference and ranks 31st in the NCAA, shooting 56.8 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.9 points, ninth in The American, with 8.4 rebounds, ranking sixth in the conference.
BATTLING THE BEST
The Mustangs are playing their third game against a ranked opponent this season (Tennessee and Louisville twice), and have two game on the schedule against No. 1 Connecticut. SMU played five ranked opponents during the 2003-04 season, but just two games against a team ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game. This season, all five opponents are currently in the top 10.
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, 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 755 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 305 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 18.9 points off turnovers per game, six more than opponents. SMU ranks fourth in the conference with a +2.2 turnover margin. SMU has 135 steals this season, averaging 7.9 per game. Five players have at least 15 steals, led by Keena Mays' 33.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 268 assists on 432 field goals this season, ranking fourth in The American with 15.8 assists per game. SMU is third in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 66 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 57 assists, ranking 11th with 3.4 per game. Freshman Kiara Perry has 35, and forward Mallory Singleton has 29 with a career-high seven against Southeastern Louisiana.
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.