Women's Basketball

Mustangs Open C-USA Championship Against Marshall On Wednesday

Go smu! Akil Simpson
Go smu!
Akil Simpson
Go smu!

March 5, 2012

Radio: KAAM 770 AM Scott Garner (Play-by-Play)
Location: Memphis, Tenn. (Elma Roane Fieldhouse)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com

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SMU will open the Conference USA Tournament against Marshall on Wednesday in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis, Tenn. The winner will face the No. 2 seed and tournament host Memphis in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Marshall: The Thundering Herd won three of its last five games, losing one in overtime, to finish 16-13 and claim the seven seed with a 7-9 record in Conference USA. Lateidra Elliott leads the team with 7.3 points per game, and Erica Woods averages 6.6 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game. Marshall leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 32.3 percent. Shynisha Johnson leads the team shooting 37.3 percent, and Shay Weaver has made a team-high 37 field goals from beyond the arc, shooting 33.9 percent.

Series History: The Mustangs are 7-1 all-time against Marshall. SMU came back to beat Marshall 55-53 in Huntington, W.V., in the regular season matchup on Jan. 15. The Mustangs have won three in a row, and won the first four matchups.

Tournament History: SMU and Marshall faced each other in the semifinals of the 2008 tournament, with the Mustangs winning 68-59 in Orlando, Fla. SMU went on to win the C-USA Championship with a 73-57 win over UTEP.

The winner between SMU and Marshall will face No. 2 seed Memphis in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Memphis wrapped up the regular season on a four-game winning streak and won seven of its last eight to go 23-6 overall, 13-3 in Conference USA. Jasmine Lee led the team and is fourth in the league, scoring 15.2 points per game, and is second in C-USA with 10.0 rebounds per game. Brittany Carter and Nicole Dickson also scored over 13 points each. The Tigers lead the conference averaging 69.7 points per game.

Series History: The Mustangs are 5-3 all-time against the Tigers, falling 60-55 in Dallas on Feb. 9. The two teams have never faced each other in the C-USA Championship.

Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in 10 games and scored at least 20 three times, including a career-high 29 points against TAMU-Corpus Christi...Filmore has led SMU in points seven times this season...The Mustangs held their opponents to 60 points or less in the first four games and 13 times this season, including nine of the last 14...Christine Elliott has grabbed at least nine rebounds in nine games, leading the Mustangs in rebounds 12 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 seven games...SMU has had at least 10 steals in 11 games, with nine against TAMU-Corpus Christi.

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 379 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 41.6-perecnt from 3-point range, and Akil Simpson is second in the league, shooting 52.8-percent from the field. Filmore is one of only two players in the league connecting on at least 40-percent of 3's. Simpson is the league leader in confernce games, shooting 54.7-percent against C-USA opponents. Both players are averaging 10.6 points per game.

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 tied for the team lead with 10.6 points per game, and averages 11.0 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 15 times, including five of the last eight games. She leads the league, shooting 41.6-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.

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 1,153 career points, 16th all-time at SMU, and 878 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 7.9 points and 7.0 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.

The Mustangs are shooting 67.6-percent, second in the conference, sinking 361-of-534 attempts. Akil Simpson has made a team-high 82 foul shots, and Alisha Filmore is fourth in the league, shooting 77.6-percent from the line. SMU went to the line 43 times against UTSA, third most in school history, making 31 free throws. The Mustangs made all eight of their free throws at UTEP.

Christine Elliott has 17 career double-doubles, third among active leaders in Conference USA. This season, the senior forward posted her third double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds at Tulsa. Akil Simpson posted her seventh of the season and the eighth of her career with 14 points and 11 rebounds at Tulane.

Akil Simpson is tied for the team lead, averaging 10.6 points per game, and grabs a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. She is second in the conference, shooting 52.8-percent from the field, and has made a team-high 82 free throws. In conference games, she is averaging 11.8 points per game, 14th in the league, with 8.3 rebounds, tied for seventh in C-USA. She has been named C-USA Player of the Week twice, and also has 45 steals and 44 assists.

The Mustangs are second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 30.1-percent for the season, and are shooting 30.0-percent in conference games. Alisha Filmore leads the conference, shooting 41.6-percent, and Samantha Mahnesmith connects on 27.6-percent of attempts.

Akil Simpson was named to the All-C-USA Second Team after finishing the regular season averaging 10.6 points per game, and tied for ninth in the league with 7.3 rebounds per game. She had seven double-doubles in the regular season and scored at least 20 points three times. She scored a career-high 25 points at Tulane and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds against Houston. Simpson was named to the All-Freshman Team last season.

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.

Freshman transfer Brittney Hardy played 17 minutes at Tulane 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 seven games with the Mustangs, she is averaging 6.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. She reached double figures for the first against Southern Miss, scoring 10 points.

Samantha Mahnesmith has made 37 3-pointers this season, pushing her career-total to 124. With five 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.

The Mustangs are 6-5 overall in the Conference USA Championship, winning the tournament in 2008 in Olando, Fla., with a 73-57 win over UTEP. SMU is 24-23 all-time in conference tournaments, and have won twice, winning the WAC Tournament in 1999.

The last time SMU faced Marshall in the C-USA Championship, the Mustangs won 68-59 in the semifinals of the 2008 tournament in Orlando, Fla. The Mustangs went on to win the championship with a 73-57 win over UTEP in the final. 2008 was the only time the Mustangs have faced the Thundering Herd in the tournament.

The Mustangs have never been the No. 10 seed in the Conference USA Championship or any other conference tournament. SMU has only faced a No. 7 seed once, eliminating Baylor from the 1995 Southwest Conference Tournament with an 83-68 victory.



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