Jan. 30, 2014
The Mustangs look to stretch the win streak to three games and even the score against Temple Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. 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 enter the game with the same conference record as SMU at 4-5 in The American, including a win over SMU on Jan. 14. Keena Mays scored 24 in her last game, leading SMU to a 67-44 win against Cincinnati, and leads the league with 19.6 per game.
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SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - TEMPLE
The Owls are making the trip to Moody Coliseum for the first time after Temple won the first meeting of the season 80-66. Temple is tied with SMU in The American standings at 4-5 in league play, 10-10 overall, with five losses to four different ranked opponents. Feyonda Fitzgerald leads the team with 13.2 points per game, and Natasha Thames is scoring 11.3 with a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game. The Owls average 65.8 points per game, shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from 3-point range as a team.
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.
LAST TIME OUT - CINCINNATI
Keena Mays scored 24 points and the SMU Mustangs forced 22 turnovers as they beat the Cincinnati Bearcats, 66-47, at Moody Coliseum on Tuesday night. Akil Simpson added 17 points and Mallory Singleton scored 14 in the win. SMU took a 39-22 lead into halftime with Mays (15 points) and Singleton (10) leading the Mustangs into the break.
The Mustangs held Cincinnati to just 34 percent shooting from the field while making 43.3 percent of their own shots. SMU recorded 21 assists on 26 field goals, led by eight assists from Mays, tying a season high. Mays also tied a career high with six steals. Simpson tallied seven rebounds and a block while Gabrielle Wilkins recorded five points and seven rebounds.
UP NEXT - NO. 1 CONNECTICUT
The Mustangs play at No. 1 Connecticut (22-0, 9-0 The American) Tuesday, facing the team ranked at the top for the first time in program history. The previous highest-ranked opponent was No. 3 Oklahoma on Dec. 5, 2001. The Huskies are the nation's 13th-ranked scoring offense, averaging 84.4 points per game with four players scoring double figures, led by Breanna Stewart's 19.5. UConn leads the country in scoring defense, holding opponents to 48.5 points per game. The Huskies have eight wins over seven different ranked teams, including five against top 10 teams. Stefanie Dolson is averaging 12.7 points and 9.6 rebounds, and UConn shoots 50.5 percent as a team.
Series History: This is the first meeting between the two programs.
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 school and one more state to its list of conference opponents on Tuesday when the Mustangs play at UConn.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 49th in the NCAA with 19.6 points per game, and is one of three 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 points 10 times this season, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (6th-4.1/game), steals (3rd-2.2/game), and three-point percentage (4th-36.4 percent).
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 18 of 20 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 22nd in the NCAA, shooting 55.7 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.8 points, eighth in The American, with 8.1 rebounds, tied for 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 1,087 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 43 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 816 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 326 assists on 513 field goals this season, tied for third in The American with 16.3 assists per game. SMU is third in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 82 assists, including a season-high eight three times, and ranks sixth in the league with 4.1 per game. Korina Baker has 72 assists, ranking ninth with 3.6 per game. Freshman Kiara Perry has 40, and forward Mallory Singleton has 38 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 356 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 18.6 points off turnovers per game. SMU is 9-2 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents, and ranks third in the conference with a +2.0 turnover margin. SMU has 155 steals this season, averaging 7.8 per game. Six players have at least 10 steals, led by Keena Mays' 43.
MOODY GETS A FACELIFT
The $47 million renovation and expansion of Moody Coliseum, which opened in December 1956, was 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.