Feb. 21, 2012
SMU FACES LEAGUE CHAMPION UTEP THURSDAY NIGHT IN EL PASO
Radio: KAAM 770 AM Scott Garner (Play-by-Play)
Location: El Paso, Texas (Don Haskins Center)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
SMU (12-14, 5-8 C-USA) takes on UTEP on Thursday night. The Miners have already clinched a share of the conference regular season title with a 13-0 record against C-USA opponents, and UTEP is 24-2 overall. The Mustangs play their final home game of the season on Sunday against Tulane at 2 p.m. Seniors Heidi Brandenburg, Christine Elliott and Samantha Mahnesmith will be honored before the game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
UTEP: The Mustangs take on the Miners, undefeated in Conference USA games at 13-0 and 24-2 overall, in El Paso, Texas on Thursday night. The Miners have already clinched a share of the C-USA regular season title. Gloria Brown leads the team and is 15th in the league, scoring 11.6 points per game, and she is fifth in the conference with 8.8 rebounds. Kelli Willingham is second in C-USA, shooting 40.5-percent from 3-point range, averaging 8.2 points per game. UTEP is second in the conference, averaging 68.0 points per game.
Series History: The Mustangs are 22-9 all-time against the Miners, and have won two of the last three regular season matchups. SMU swept the season series last year before falling 75-57 to the Miners in the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso.
UP NEXT: TULANE
The Green Wave is 19-7 overall and fourth in C-USA with an 8-5 record. Tulane is third in the league in both scoring offense, 62.0 points per game, and scoring defense, 53.5 points per game. Olivia Grayson leads the team and is ninth in the conference, scoring 13.7 points per game, and Brett Benzio is 23rd with 9.7 points and is fourth in the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game.
Series History: The Mustangs are 11-15 all-time against the Green Wave. SMU had won four of the last six before Tulane took a 75-63 victory in New Orleans in the first matchup this season.
STREAKS AND TRENDS
Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in nine games and scored at least 20 three times, including a career-high 29 points against TAMU-Corpus Christi...Filmore has led SMU in points six times this season...The Mustangs held their opponents to 60 points or less in the first four games and 12 times this season, including eight of the last 12...Christine Elliott has grabbed at least nine rebounds in eight games, leading the Mustangs in rebounds 11 times this season...Akil Simpson has scored in double-figures in 15 games, including a career-high 25 points at Tulane...Simpson has posted seven double-doubles, including three of the last six games...SMU has had at least 10 steals in 11 games, with nine against TAMU-Corpus Christi.
RHONDA PASSES HYNDMAN IN WINS AT SMU
Head Coach Rhonda Rompola passed Schellas Hyndman for most wins as a head coach at SMU with the 369th win of her career on Nov. 17 with a 47-38 victory over TCU. Hyndman had 368 wins as the men's soccer head coach. Rompola currently has 378 wins. She earned the 350th win of her career with a 69-61 win over UCF on Feb. 25, 2010.
Alisha Filmore leads Conference USA, shooting 42.0-perecnt from 3-point range, and Akil Simpson is first in the league, shooting 55.2-percent from the field. Filmore is one of two players in the league connecting on at least 40-percent of 3's. Simpson is also the league leader in confernce games, shooting 59.1-percent against C-USA opponents. Simpson is averaging 11.0 points per game, and Filmore is scoring 10.8.
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 20 seasons ago. Assistant coach Deneen Parker joined the duo 16 years ago. 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 third year with the program.
After spending most of the last two seasons playing point guard, junior Alisha Filmore has spent this season scoring points, letting sophomore Krystal Johnson and first-year transfer Sabrina McKinney run the offense. Filmore is second on the team with 10.8 points per game, and averages 11.5 points in C-USA games. She scored a career-high 29 points against TAMU-CC and has scored at least 20 three times this season. She has reached double-figures 13 times, including six of the last 10 games. She leads the league, shooting 42.0-percent from 3-point range.
In the past five seasons, the Mustangs have 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.
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs to the NCAA Tournament seven times and the WNIT four times. The Mustangs have captured two conference tournament championships 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 30 All-Conference selections. Rompola has also been named Coach of the Year six times during her 20-year tenure.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Christine Elliott scored her 1,000th point on Dec. 3 against Wichita State in her hometown of Wichita, Kan., becoming the 19th player in school history to reach the milestone. The senior, who led the team with 13 points in the game, accomplished the milestone with her third field goal three minutes into the game. She now has 1,127 career points, 17th all-time at SMU, and 862 rebounds, fifth at SMU, becoming the fifth player at SMU with at least 1,000 points and 800 rebounds in a career. This season, Elliott is averaging 7.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. She scored a season-high 15 points at Kansas and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds against TCU.
The Mustangs are 10-3 when shooting at least 40.0-percent. When shooting 45.0-percent or higher, SMU is 4-0. In games when the Mustangs shoot a higher percentage than opponents, SMU is 10-3. The Mustangs have shot at least 40-percent in seven of the last 10 games, going 5-2.
Head coach Rhonda Rompola called the 2012-13 freshmen class one of best in the history of the SMU program. The class features three players from the DFW area and an All-Arkansas selection from Little Rock, Ark. Farrin Bell averages 20 points and five rebounds per game at Richardson High School. Nia Jackson scores 13 points with eight rebounds per contest at Argyle Liberty Christian High School in Keller, Texas. Gabrielle Wilkins leads Garland High School with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Lexus Williams puts up 12 points and 10 boards at North Little Rock High School.
TAKING WHATS FREE
The Mustangs are shooting 67.1-percent, fourth in the conference, sinking 327-of-487 attempts. Akil Simpson has made a team-high 72 foul shots, and Alisha Filmore is fourth in the league, shooting 78.7-percent from the line. SMU went to the line 43 times against UTSA, third most in school history, making 31 free throws.
Christine Elliott has 16 career double-doubles, third among active leaders in Conference USA. This season, the senior forward posted her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds against TCU, and scored 15 points with 10 rebounds at Kansas. Akil Simpson posted her seventh of the season and the eighth of her career with 14 points and 11 rebounds at Tulane.
Akil Simpson leads the team, averaging 11.0 points per game, and is third with 7.0 rebounds per game. She leads the conference, shooting 55.2-percent from the field, and has made a team-high 72 free throws. In conference games, she is averaging 13.0 points per game, seventh in the league, with 7.8 rebounds, eighth in C-USA. She has been named C-USA Player of the Week twice, and also has 42 steals and 40 assists.
BEYOND THE ARC
The Mustangs are second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 31.2-percent for the season, and lead the league shooting 32.0-percent in conference games. Alisha Filmore leads the conference, shooting 42.0-percent, and Samantha Mahnesmith connects on 29.5-percent of attempts.
BIG XII TRANSFERS
SMU added a pair of Big XII transfers at the start of the spring semester in former Kansas guard Keena Mays and former Oklahoma State forward Brittney Hardy. Mays, a native of Arlington, Texas, transferred in the middle of her sophomore season at KU, and will be eligible at the end of the 2012 fall semester. She averaged 7.1 assists and was second on the team with 119 assists, playing in every game as a freshman last season. Hardy, a native of Frisco, Texas, played 20 minutes in four games with 15 rebounds at Oklahoma State, and has been declared eligible to play immediately.
MAKING AN IMPACT
Freshman transfer Brittney Hardy played 17 minutes at Tulane Sunday in her first game since transferring to SMU prior to the start of the spring semester. The 6-2 forward had nine points and seven rebounds in her debut, going 4-of-8 from the field and 1-of-2 at the free throw line. In three games with the Mustangs, she is averaging 7.8 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds in 18.8 minutes per game. She reached double figures for the first against Southern Miss, scoring 10 points.
MAHNESMITH CLOSING IN ON TOP-5 IN 3'S
Samantha Mahnesmith has made 36 3-pointers this season, pushing her career-total to 123. With six more 3's, she would pass Katie Gross for fifth all-time at SMU. Jillian Samuels holds the career record at SMU, making 249 shots from behind the arc from 2006-07 to 2009-10. Mahnesmith made 55 treys during the 2010-11 season, eighth most in a season at SMU.