Women's Basketball

Mustangs Host Top-Ranked Connecticut Tuesday At 7 P.M.

Go smu!
Go smu!

Go smu!

Feb. 23, 2014

 SMU (16-10, 7-8) vs. No. 1/1 Connecticut (28-0, 15-0)
 Date & Tip Time  Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
 Location  Moody Coliseum - Dallas, Texas
 Tickets  214-768-4263 or smumustangs.com/tickets
 Video  ESPN3
 Radio  KAAM 770 AM - Dallas
 Live Stats  Gametracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (.pdf)
 Facebook  /SMUMustangs   |   /SMUBasketballW
 Twitter  @SMUMustangs   |   @SMUBasketballW
 SMU App  iPhone App   |   Android App

The Last Meeting
February 4, 2014
Storrs, Conn.
Mustangs Fall At No. 1 Connecticut, 102-41
STORRS, Conn. (SMU) - Keena Mays recorded 20 points and six rebounds, but No. 1 Connecticut held the Mustangs to 20 percent shooting from the field as the Huskies beat the Mustangs 102-41 at the Gampel Pavilion on Tuesday night.

SMU will host the No. 1-ranked team in the country for the first time in program history Tuesday, taking on Connecticut at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. The game will air live on ESPN3.com, and fans with Sportsnet New York (SNY) or ESPN Full Court can watch on television. The matchup features the top two scorers in The American in SMU's Keena Mays and UConn's Breanna Stewart.

The Huskies are 28-0, 15-0 in The American, and all five starters average at least 10 points. Breanna Stewart leads the league's top scoring offense, 84.4 points per game, with 19.3 per game. Stefanie Dolson is just under a double-double average with 13.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Moriah Jefferson leads the league in assists with 5.3 per game, and Connecticut is holding opponents to a national-low 47.0 points per game.

Series History: The Huskies won the first meeting between the two schools 102-41 in Storrs, Conn., on Feb. 4 this season, despite a 20-point performance by Keena Mays. Connecticut shot 76.9 percent in the second half, finishing the game with a 59.7 shooting percentage. The Huskies also made 12 of 20 3-point attempts.

Led by 24 points from Keena Mays and 20 from Akil Simpson, the SMU Mustangs held off a late-charging Memphis Tigers squad to win 78-74 at the FedEx Forum on Saturday afternoon. Simpson moved into 15th all-time at SMU in scoring with her performance. The Mustangs led by nine with 58 seconds to go, but Memphis scored eight points in 34 seconds to cut SMU's lead to one. Kiara Perry knocked down two critical free throws to extend the lead back to three, and a steal by Gabrielle Wilkins on the following Tigers possession led to another free throw by Mays to clinch the win for SMU.

SMU plays its final road game of the regular season in Tampa, Fla., against USF Saturday at 6 p.m. CT on the American Digital Network. The Bulls clinced a top-four seed in The American tournament with a 72-69 win at Temple in their last game, improving to 10-5 in the league and 15-11 overall. Courtney Williams leads the team with 16.1 points per game, and is second with 7.0 rebounds. Inga Orekhova and Alisia Jenkins are scoring just over nine per game, and Jenkins averages a conference-high 9.8 rebounds.

Series History: The Bulls lead the all-time series 2-0 after taking the first meeting this season 76-62 in the first game in newly-renovated Moody Coliseum, despite a 26-point performance from Keena Mays. Four players scored in double figures for USF in the win. The Bulls also won the first meeting of the series 61-55 in the second game of the BTI Classic in Las Vegas Dec. 19, 2010.

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, the Western Athletic Conference, and Conference USA before joining The American. SMU has 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.

Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 30th in the NCAA with 20.8 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 15 times this season, including games against Connecticut and Louisville, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (8th-3.7/game), steals (4th-2.1/game), and three-point percentage (2nd-38.5 percent).

Keena Mays matched her career high with 34 points against Houston Saturday, becoming the first player in program history to score at least 30 four times in one season. She scored 34 at UTEP on Dec. 7, and finished with 32 in the next game at North Texas on Dec. 21. She also scored 30 against Temple on Feb. 1. Current SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola is the only other player to score 30 three times in a season at SMU, scoring 35 and 30 twice during the 1981-82 season.

Keena Mays has 65 3-pointers this season, closing in on Jillian Samuels' record of 72, set during the 2007-08 season. Mays made 64 in 23 games last season, and ranks seventh at SMU with 129 in two seasons on the Hilltop. She needs four more to rank third at SMU.

Keena Mays scored the 1,000th point of her career at Cincinnati. She is 35 points away from reaching the 1,000-point mark at SMU. In 49 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 965 points, including 541 this season, becoming just the fourth player in program history to score 500 in a season, and could become just the second player in program history with 600 in a season. She passed Jennifer McLaughlin (1994-95) for second in a season with 24 points at Memphis. 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.

Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 23 games, including a season-high 23 against Temple on Feb. 1. The senior posted her ninth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds vs. Houston, and has 25 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 47th in the NCAA, shooting 53.6 percent from the field. She is averaging 14.0 points, eighth in The American, with 8.3 rebounds, sixth in the conference.

Akil Simpson needs just one double-double to become the first person to record 10 in a season since Janelle Dodds posted 12 during the 2005-06 season. Only six Mustangs have recorded 10 double-doubles in a season, with Dodds and Shasta Smothers-Johnson accomplishing the feat twice. Smothers-Johnson holds the record with 15 double-doubles during the 1984-85 season. Simpson would also match Karlin Kennedy for third all-time at SMU with 26 career double-doubles. The senior is currently tied with Kim Brungardt with 25 career double-doubles. Dodds and Shasta Smothers-Johnson hold the SMU record with 38 career double-doubles.

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. She has 1,176 points and passed Christine Elliott and Lisa Davis to climb to 15th all-time at SMU with 20 points at Memphis. Jillian Samuels is 14th with 1,188 points from 2006-10, and Andrea Cossey is 13th with 1,206 points from 2000-04.

The Mustangs have played four games against a ranked opponent this season (Tennessee, Louisville twice, and UConn), and play No. 1 Connecticut in Moody Coliseum Tuesday. 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 12 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 8.4 points with 4.6 rebounds.

The Mustangs have forced 456 turnovers on the season, while committing 416, and are averaging 18.1 points off turnovers per game. SMU is 10-4 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents, and ranks fourth in the conference with a +1.5 turnover margin. SMU has 197 steals this season, averaging 7.6 per game. Five players have at least 20 steals, led by Mays' 55.

The Mustangs have recorded 400 assists on 651 field goals this season, ranking fourth in The American with 15.4 assists per game. SMU is fourth in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 96 assists, including a season-high eight three times, ranking eighth in the league with 3.7 per game. Korina Baker has 90 assists, and is 10th with 3.5 per game. She recorded a season-high eight at Memphis.

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.

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. SMU has won two conference tournament championships, winning the WAC 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.



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