March 2, 2014
SMU plays its regular season finale in Dallas at Moody Coliseum against UCF. The SMU women's basketball program will honor its five senior during a pregame ceremony. With a win against the Knights, the Mustangs would clinch the No. 5 seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament March 7-10 in Uncasville, Conn. SMU will play either Rutgers or USF in the quarterfinals of the inaugural tournament.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - UCF
Sara Djassi has played and started every game this season for UCF and highlights the offense for the Knights with 11.0 points per game to go with 4.9 rebounds. Djassi ranks 17th in the league in scoring and 11th in free throw shooting percentage, converting on 73.8 percent (96-for-130) of her attempts. Brittni Montgomery leads UCF and is fifth in the conference with 8.3 rebounds per game and Stephanie Taylor sits sixth in the league in blocked shots with 33 (1.2 per game). The Knights are fourth in The American in defensive rebounds, averaging 27.8 per game.
Series History: SMU is 8-4 all-time against UCF, but the Knights took the most recent meeting at UCF on Jan. 13, winning by a count of 59-54. Prior to that meeting in Orlando, the Mustangs had won four straight games over UCF from 2010-2013, including a 69-54 home win on Jan. 13, 2013. SMU is 3-0 all-time against UCF in Dallas.
LAST TIME OUT - USF
Keena Mays became the 22nd Mustang to score 1,000 points in her career as she entered the game with 978 career points and totaled 22 in the game, but it was not enough as South Florida defeated SMU in Tampa, 72-51. Senior forward Akil Simpson moved into 14th all-time at SMU in scoring as she tallied 11 points and seven rebounds in defeat. South Florida got up early in the first half, reaching its largest lead of the game, 33-9, at the 6:32 mark of the first half. SMU then clamped down on defense and finished the half on an 18-6 run, holding the Bulls scoreless from the field over the last 4:44 of the half. SMU trailed 39-27 at the intermission. In the second half, Mays got hot and drilled back-to-back three pointers with the second coming at the 16:03 mark in the half to cut the Bulls lead to 42-33. Over the next four minutes, SMU and USF traded buckets back and forth until the Mustangs went on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to seven at 45-38, but that was as close as SMU could get as the Bulls pulled away and finished the game by outscoring the Mustangs 27-13 over the last 12 minutes.
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.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 32nd in the NCAA with 20.6 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 16 times this season, including games against Connecticut and Louisville, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (10th-3.5/game), steals (4th-2.1/game), and three-point percentage (2nd-38.3 percent).
30 IS MAYS' MAGIC NUMBER
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.
RECORDS ARE MADE OUTSIDE THE ARC
Keena Mays has 70 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 134 in two seasons on the Hilltop to rank third all-time at SMU.
Keena Mays became the 22nd Mustang to score 1,000 points in her career at SMU on Saturday, March, 1 as she entered that game with 978 career points and totaled 22 in the game. The senior scored the 1,000th point of her career at Cincinnati earlier this season. In 50 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 1,000 points, including 576 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. 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 25 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 44th in the NCAA, shooting 52.8 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.8 points, ninth in The American, with 8.2 rebounds, sixth in the conference.
DOUBLE OR NOTHING
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.
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. She has 1,198 points and passed Jillian Samuels to climb to 14th all-time at SMU with 11 points at USF. Andrea Cossey is next on the list at 13th with 1,206 points from 2000-04.
BATTLING THE BEST
The Mustangs have played five games against a ranked opponent this season (Tennessee, Louisville twice, and UConn twice). 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. There are currently three ranked teams in The American.
Kiara Perry has scored at least 10 points 10 times, including six of the last 13 games. She was named Freshman of the Week in The American on Dec. 30. In conference games, she is shooting 35.4 percent and averaging 8.2 points with 4.5 rebounds.
GET THE BALL
The Mustangs have forced 481 turnovers on the season, while committing 437, and are averaging 15.6 points off turnovers per game. SMU is 10-5 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents, and ranks fourth in the conference with a +1.57 turnover margin. SMU has 207 steals this season, averaging 7.4 per game. Five players have at least 20 steals, led by Mays' 58.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 419 assists on 685 field goals this season, ranking fourth in The American with 15.0 assists per game. SMU is fourth in the league with a 1.0 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 97 assists, including a season-high eight three times, ranking 10th in the league with 3.5 per game. Korina Baker has 99 assists, and is eighth with 3.5 per game. She recorded a season-high eight at Memphis.
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.
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.
The Last Meeting
February 11, 2014
Mays Scores 25, Mustangs Fall At UCF, 59-54
ORLANDO, FLA (SMU) - 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.
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.