Jan. 18, 2013
FIRST-PLACE SMU HOSTS RICE SUNDAY
Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum Coliseum)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
Late Rally Comes Up Short For SMU Against Rice
DALLAS (SMU) - Akil Simpson scored 12 points with five rebounds, and Krystal Johnson added 10 points to lead the Mustangs, but Jessica Kuster scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Rice to a 69-60 win over SMU in Moody Coliseum on Sunday.
SMU, the first team in Conference USA to get to 3-0, returns home on a four game winning streak after a 79-69 win at Southern Miss to take on Rice (9-7, 1-2 C-USA) in Moody Colisuem Sunday at 2 p.m. The Mustangs (12-4 overall) then get a short break before travelling to Oklahoma to face Tulsa on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS
SMU: The Mustangs are 12-4 on the season and 3-0 in Conference USA for the first time since joining the league in 2005-06, including a pair of wins on the road. Keena Mays leads the team with 20.8 points per game, and scored 27 at Tulane. Alisha Filmore also averages double figures, scoring 12.5 per game, and at least four Mustangs scored at least 10 points in each of the last two games. SMU is third in C-USA in scoring offense, averaging 69.0 points, and leads the conference shooting 36.8 percent on 3-point attempts.
RICE: The Owls are 9-7 after dropping three of their last four, including a pair of C-USA games to start 1-2 in the conference. Jessica Kuster leads the team, averaging a double-double with 16.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, and Megan Palmer scores 11.5 per game. As a team, Rice is scoring just 57.9 points per game, 10th in C-USA, while opponents are averaging 61.7 points. Rice is 11th in field goal percentage, 35.7 percent, and last in C-USA in 3-point percentage, 24.7.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs hold a 34-33 edge in the all-time series, but the Owls are are 8-7 against SMU since the Mustangs joined C-USA in 2005-06. SMU is 21-10 at home against Rice, although the Owls have won the last four straight overall. SMU boasts the longest winning streak in the series at five games from Feb. 15, 2007 to Feb. 22, 2009. Rice won the first meeting 57-54 in Houston during the 1978-79 season.
THE COACHES: SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola played for Rice head coach Greg Williams on the Dallas Diamonds. Williams also spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant at SMU. Williams holds the edge between the two, going 8-7 when coaching against his former player.
UP NEXT - TULSA
The Golden Hurricane are 6-10 overall and 1-2 in C-USA, beating Marshall 67-49 after an 0-2 start to league play. Taleya Mayberry is tied for the conference lead, averaging 19.4 points per game, and Kelsee Grovey adds 9.8. Tulsa is averaging 64.6 points per game, while opponents are scoring 62.2.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 23-13 all-time against Tulsa. SMU has won six of the last nine, but the Golden Hurricane won both games last season by a combined seven points, including a buzzer-beater 3 to give Tulsa a 42-39 win in Dallas on Jan. 29. The Mustangs are 8-8 at Tulsa. The series started on Nov. 30, 1981 when SMU won 86-64 in Dallas.
LAST TIME OUT - SOUTHERN MISS
Destynee Hives-McCray scored a career-high 24 points and had 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season to lead SMU to a 79-69 win at Southern Miss Thursday night. The Mustangs improved to 12-4 overall, 3-0 in Conference USA for the first time since joining the league in 2005-06, and stretched the win streak to four games with their eight double-digit win of the season. Gabrielle Wilkins also had a career high, scoring 14 points as SMU had five in double figures for the first time since Nov. 27, 2010. Wilkins was 6-of-7 from the floor, and Korina Baker was 4-for-4 from 3-point range for 14 points. Alisha Filmore added 13 points, and Keena Mays finished with 10. The Mustangs went on a 17-0 run over the span of nearly six minutes to take a 20-9 lead over the Golden Eagles (9-7, 1-2 C-USA), and SMU was 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half to take a 43-31 into the lockerroom, and USM didn't get within eight points in the second half as SMU picked up its eighth win by at least 10 points.
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 20.8 points and 6.1 rebounds, and the Mustangs are 7-1 since her SMU debut.
Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in 14 games this season, including the last six straight, with a season-high 22 in the win over Harvard. She is 14th in C-USA, averaging 12.5 points per game and is 13th in the league shooting 31.7 percent from 3-point range. She has 882 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.
TAKE IT AWAY
SMU is 46th in the country, averaging 11.4 steals per game, and is 30th in the NCAA in turnover margin, forcing opponents into 5.1 more turnovers per game. Alisha Filmore and Korina Baker lead the team with 33 steals, tied for 12th in C-USA with 2.1 per game. Baker is also 74th in the NCAA in assists/turnover ratio, and freshman Gabrielle Wilkins has 26 steals on the season, including a C-USA record-tying 10 against SIU-Edwardsville.
DOMINANT OUTSIDE THE ARC
The Mustangs lead Conference USA and are 16th in the NCAA, shooting 36.8 percent from the perimeter, making 82 of 223 3-point attempts, and SMU is one of only four teams in the league shooting higher than 30 percent from behind the arc. Korina Baker leads C-USA, going 23-for-51 from distance, 45.1 percent. Keena Mays and Kristin Askew, who don't meet the minimums for rankings, are both shooting higher than 43 percent. Mays has made 23 of 53 attempts in eight games, and Askew is 10-for-22 from behind the arc. SMU is fourth in C-USA in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 28.1 percent.
RUNNING THE POINT
Korina Baker has a team-high 61 assists and is eighth 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 eight times. She also scored a career-high 17 points against UCF, and has reached double figures four times this season, averaging 6.8 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 392 games during her career at SMU. With eight more wins, 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 against Harvard, the most since Dec. 28, 2008 when they scored 92 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and have scored at least 70 in nine of 16 games, including eight of the last 11, 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 69.0 points per game, nearly 10 points more than last year. Keena Mays is leading the league with 20.8 points per game, and Alisha Filmore is scoring 12.5 per game. Akil Simpson is averaging 9.4 per game, and the trio has each had at least 20 points in a game. Sophomore Destynee Hives-McCray became the fourth Mustangs to eclipse 20, scoring a career-high 22 at Southern Miss.
After scoring just 25 points in the first five games, Akil Simpson has scored at least 10 points seven times this season, including four of the last seven games with a season-high 20 points at San Diego State. The junior is seventh in Conference USA, shooting 45.6 percent from the field, and leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game, 10th in C-USA.
THREE OF A KIND
The Mustangs three starting guards each have at least 20 3-point field goals, led by junior transfers Keena Mays and Korina Baker. Baker leads the conference shooting 45.1 percent from behind the arc, and matches Mays with a team-high 23 3-pointers after going 9-of-11 in the last two games. Senior Alisha Filmore has also made 20 3-pointers. As a team, the Mustangs have made at least five in 11 games, including the last five straight. SMU made a season-high 10 at TCU.
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.
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.
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.
SOPHOMORE STEPS UP
Destynee Hives-McCray scored a career-high 22 points in SMU's 79-69 win at Southern Miss, reaching double figures for the seventh time this season, and has scored at least 10 in the last two conference games. She also grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. The forward is averaging 8.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.