Jan. 26, 2014
The Last Meeting
January 1, 2014
Mustangs Open 2014 With 54-43 Win At Cincinnati
CINCINNATI (SMU) - Keena Mays scored 15 points, eclipsing 1,000 for her career including points at Kansas, to lead the Mustangs to a 54-43 win at Cincinnati for their first American Athletic Conference victory on New Year's Day Wednesday afternoon at the Fifth Third Arena. SMU improves to 10-3, 1-1 The American, with the win, while Cincinnati falls to 7-6, 1-1 The American.
The Mustangs return home to host Cincinnati Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. SMU is offering two tickets for the price of one on 2-for-1 Tuesday against the Bearcats. SMU concluded a stretch of three of the last four games on the road with a 73-60 win at Houston. Keena Mays
leads the American Athletic Conference with 19.4 points per game, and Akil Simpson
posted her seventh double-double of the season against the Cougars.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - CINCINNATI
The Bearcats are making the trip to Moody Coliseum for the first time after SMU won the first meeting of the season 54-43 on New Year's Day. Cincinnati is 9-10 overall, 2-6 in The American, with a 59-50 win at Houston and a 47-37 home win against UCF on Saturday. Dayeesha Hollins leads the team with 13.3 points per game, and Jeanise Randolph is nearly averaging a double-double with 11.7 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds per game, fourth in the league.
Series History: The Mustangs are 1-1 all-time against the Bearcats, winning at Cincinnati 54-43 on Jan. 1 behind double-digit point performances by Keena Mays and Akil Simpson. Cincinnati won the first meeting of the series 61-53 in the first round of its home tournament on Nov. 23, 1979.
LAST TIME OUT - HOUSTON
Akil Simpson recorded her seventh double-double of the season and four Mustangs scored in double figures as SMU defeated the Houston Cougars, 73-60, at the Hofheinz Pavilion Saturday afternoon.
SMU improved to 12-7 (3-5 The American) with the win, while Houston remained winless in league play, falling to 4-15 (0-8). Keena Mays totaled 17 points on 50 percent shooting with seven rebounds, while Simpson finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Overall, SMU outrebounded Houston 50-37 and made 54.5 percent of its shots from three-point land, going 6-of-11 for the game.
UP NEXT - TEMPLE
The Mustangs host a rematch against Temple Saturday, playing back-to-back home games for the first time since early January. Fans can purchase a special ticket package for Dads and Daughters Day, including two tickets, two hot dogs, two drinks and two hats for $30. The Owls are 10-9 overall, 4-4 in The American, including an 80-66 win over SMU. Feyond Fitzgerald leads the team with 13.5 points per game, and Natasha Thames is averaging 11.5 points with a team-high 8.5 rebounds.
Series History: Temple won the first meeting all-time between the two programs with an 80-66 win in Philadelphia Jan. 14. Keena Mays led four Mustangs in double figures with 23 points, and Akil Simpson had 10 points and nine rebounds. SMU shot 50 percent as a team in the loss.
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 45th in the NCAA with 19.4 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 nine times this season, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (6th-3.9/game), steals (5th-1.9/game), and three-point percentage (5th-35.2 percent).
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 17 of 19 games, including a season-high 22 against Memphis. The senior posted her seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds at Houston, and has 23 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 26th in the NCAA, shooting 56.4 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.6 points, eighth in The American, with 8.1 rebounds, ranking seventh in the conference.
BATTLING THE BEST
The Mustangs have played three games 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. She has 1,070 points, passing former teammate Alisha Filmore for 18th all-time at SMU with 15 at Houston.
GRAND AND A-MAYS-ING
Keena Mays scored the 1,000th point of her career at Cincinnati. The senior guard scored 331 points in 42 games at Kansas before transferring to SMU. In 42 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 792 points. She would need to average 20 points for the rest of the season to get to 1,000 points at SMU.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 305 assists on 487 field goals this season, ranking fourth in The American with 16.1 assists per game. SMU is fourth in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 74 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 67 assists, ranking 11th with 3.5 per game. Freshman Kiara Perry has 39, and forward Mallory Singleton has 35 with a career-high seven against Southeastern Louisiana.
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 334 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 18.2 points off turnovers per game. SMU is 8-2 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents, and ranks fourth in the conference with a +1.74 turnover margin. SMU has 143 steals this season, averaging 7.5 per game. Five players have at least 15 steals, led by Keena Mays' 37.
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.
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.