Feb. 13, 2014
The Last Meeting
January 25, 2014
The Mustangs host Houston Saturday at 2 p.m. The game is part of the Play4Kay initiative to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. SMU will also host a postgame skills clinic featuring the women's basketball, volleyball, equestrian and women's soccer teams in conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The Mustangs are 14-10 overall, 5-8 in The American, while Houston is 5-19, 1-12 in The American.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - HOUSTON
The Cougars are 5-19 overall and 1-12 in The American, beating Cincinnati 48-39 on Feb. 8 for their lone conference win. Te'onna Campbell leads the team in points, 9.9 per game, and rebounds, 6.9. As a team, Houston is last in The American in scoring offense, 54.2 points per game, and sixth in scoring defense, 65.0 points per game. The Cougars are also last in scoring margin, -10.8.
Series History: SMU is 20-30 all-time against the Cougars, but 20-10 during Rompola's tenure. The Mustangs have won four of the last five, including a 73-60 victory in Houston on Jan. 25. Keena Mays led SMU with 17 points, and Akil Simpson recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT - UCF
Keena Mays scored 25 points, including two late threes to keep the game close, but it was not enough as UCF topped SMU in Orlando, 59-54, on Tuesday evening. Akil Simpson also added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Mustangs.
Mays' 25 points marked her 13th game this season with at least 20 points and fourth in the last five games. Simpson reached double figures for the 21st time this season.
SMU cut UCF's lead to three with 5:44 remaining, going on an 8-0 run with Mays collecting all eight points. In total, Mays scored 18 points in the final eight minutes of play. UCF opened its lead to 10 with 22 seconds remaining, but two three-pointers from Mays in the last 14 seconds kept the Mustangs' hope alive. UCF closed the game making eight of 10 free throw attempts over the final 51 seconds.
UP NEXT - MEMPHIS
SMU takes on Memphis in the FedEx Forum Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. on ESPN3. The Mustangs are currently sixth in the standings and one game ahead of the Tigers (11-14, 4-9 The American). Ariel Hearn leads the team and ranks fourth in the league, averaging 17.4 points per game, and is also fourth in 3-point percentage, 37.4. The Tigers are ninth in scoring defense, allowing 67.4 points per game.
Series History: SMU went 6-3 against the Tigers while the two schools were members of Conference USA, and is 7-4 all-time against Memphis. SMU won five straight after Memphis won the first meeting, a 99-77 win on Dec. 10, 1994 in Memphis. After Memphis won three straight, SMU made it back-to-back victories with an 80-75 win in double overtime on Jan. 7 in Moody Coliseum.
Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs against 37 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 22 different states, as far west as Hawaii and as far north as Idaho. This season, SMU added six new schools in five new states to its list of conference opponents.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 33rd in the NCAA with 20.1 points per game, and is one of three players in the conference with multiple Player of the Week awards, earning her league-best fourth honor on Feb. 1 after scoring 24 against Cincinnati and 30 against Temple, reaching 30 for the third time this season. She has eclipsed 20 points 13 times this season, including games against Connecticut and Louisville, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (7th-3.9/game), steals (3rd-2.2/game), and three-point percentage (6th-35.7 percent).
Keena Mays scored the 1,000th point of her career at Cincinnati. She is 93 points away from reaching the 1,000-point mark at SMU. In 47 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 907 points, including 483 this season. She is also 17 points away from becoming the fourth player at SMU to score 500 points in a season. Head coach Rhonda Rompola holds the single-season record with 683 points during the 1981-82 season. Mays scored 331 points in 42 games at Kansas before transferring to SMU.
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 21 games, including a season-high 23 against Temple on Feb. 1. The senior posted her eighth double-double of the season with 23 points and 12 rebounds vs. Temple, and has 24 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 sixth in the conference and ranks 48th in the NCAA, shooting 52.7 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.8 points, eighth in The American, with 8.2 rebounds, seventh 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, and finished with 12 points, reaching double digits for the seventh straight game. She has 1,141 points, passing former teammate Alisha Filmore for 18th all-time at SMU with 15 at Houston. She needs 17 more points to pass Jillian Samuels for 15th all-time at SMU.
BATTLING THE BEST
The Mustangs have played four games against a ranked opponent this season (Tennessee, Louisville twice, and UConn), and have another 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. Rutgers and UTEP were also receiving votes during the time of the three games.
Kiara Perry has scored at least 10 points 10 times, including six of the last 10 games. She was named Freshman of the Week in The American on Dec. 30. In conference games, she is shooting 37.1 percent and averaging 8.9 points with 4.5 rebounds.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 369 assists on 600 field goals this season, good for fourth in The American with 15.4 assists per game. SMU is third in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 93 assists, including a season-high eight three times, and ranks seventh in the league with 3.9 per game. Korina Baker has 79 assists, ranking 10th with 3.3 per game.
GET THE BALL
The Mustangs have forced 432 turnovers on the season, while committing 372, and are averaging 18.5 points off turnovers per game. SMU is 10-4 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents, and ranks third in the conference with a +2.5 turnover margin. SMU has 187 steals this season, averaging 7.8 per game. Seven players have at least 10 steals, led by Mays' 53.
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.
OUT FOR THE SEASON
Destynee Hives-McCray will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 women's basketball season as she continues to recover from an undisclosed medical issue. The junior was averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds through 10 games before she became ill, reaching double figures in points six times, including a season-high 17 against Mississippi Valley State. She also had two double doubles, pulling down at least 10 rebounds three times. The two-year starter was shooting 53.8 percent from the field, which led the team. SMU plans to apply for a hardship waiver, and if granted, Hives-McCray would have two years of eligibility remaining. She is expected to make a full recovery and return to game action next season.
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.