March 5, 2013
The Last Meeting
January 20, 2013
Mustangs Maintain C-USA Lead With 73-51 Win Over Rice
DALLAS (SMU) - The Mustangs improved to 4-0 in conference play for the first time since the 1999-2000 season with a dominate 73-51 win against Rice in Moody Coliseum Sunday. Keena Mays led all-scorers with 25 points for SMU (12-4, 4-0 Conference USA), making a career-high six 3-pointers to eclipse 20 points for the sixth time in nine games. Akil Simpson recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
SMU CONCLUDES REGULAR SEASON AT RICE
The Mustangs (21-7, 12-3 Conference USA) clinched at least a share of the Conference USA regular season title with a 73-71 win against UTEP and can clinch the crown outright at Rice (13-15, 5-10 C-USA) Thursday at 7 p.m. SMU will have a bye in the first round of the C-USA Championship in Tusla, and the Mustangs will play their first tournament game on Thursday, March 14.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS
SMU: The Mustangs are 21-7, 12-3 in C-USA, and hold a one-game lead in the conference with one game left before the C-USA Championship in Tulsa March 13-16. Keena Mays is second in the league averaging 19.3 points per game, tied for 27th in the NCAA, and has scored at least 15 in seven of the last nine games. SMU ranks 15th in the country with a conference-best 36.0 3-point percentage, and the Mustangs are 35th in the nation and second in C-USA, holding opponents to 27.0 percent from behind the arc.
RICE: The Owls are 13-15 overall, 5-10 in C-USA after winning three of the last four, and are 11th in the league in scoring offense with 57.2 points per game. Jessica Kuster leads the team with 16.2 points per game, grabs a league-high 9.9 rebounds per game. She is also second in Conference USA with 41 blocks.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs hold a 35-33 advantage in the all-time series, but SMU is just 13-23 against the Owls in Houston. SMU boast the longest winning streak in the series at five games from Feb. 15, 2007 to Feb. 22, 2009. Rice won the first meeting 57-54 in Houston during the 1978-79 season. SMU won the first meeting this season 73-51 in Dallas. Keena Mays scored 25 points, and Akil Simpson added 16 with 11 rebounds.
UP NEXT - C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP
The Mustangs have clinched one of the top three seeds in the 2013 C-USA Championship in Tulsa, Okla., March 13-16, and will have a first round bye. SMU is 7-6 in seven C-USA tournament, and 25-24 overall in conference tournaments. The Mustangs won the 2008 C-USA Championship, going 3-0 as the No. 2 seed, and earned their first conference tournament title in 1999, going 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. SMU has been seeded No. 1 twice all-time (2000-WAC, 2009-C-USA) and posted a 3-2 record as the top seed.
LAST TIME OUT - UTEP
The Mustangs clinched at least a share of the Conference USA regular season championship with a 73-71 win against UTEP Sunday in the home finale in Moody Coliseum Sunday, improving to 12-3 in league play and 21-7 overall.
Akil Simpson led the team to its third regular season title in program history (2000 and 2009), second in C-USA, with 19 points and nine rebounds. SMU's lone senior, Alisha Filmore, ended her career in Moody with 2 points, six rebounds and five assists.
However, as the SMU women's basketball program celebrated Senior Day before the game, it was a freshman who came up with the day's biggest moment. After Anete Steinberga, who finished with a game-high 25 points, scored for UTEP to tie the game 71-71 with 10 seconds left, Gabrielle Wilkins drove to the right of the lane and was fouled by Steinberga on a jump shot. Wilkins made both free throws to give SMU a two-point lead with six seconds left.
The Mustangs received votes in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Sports Coaches' Top 25 Polls for four straight weeks this after winning 20 games for the ninth time in program history. SMU earned as many as seven votes in the AP poll.
Junior transfer Keena Mays has established herself as a candidate for Conference USA Player of the Year after scoring at least 20 points in nine of her first 20 games at SMU, including a career-high 33 points against Stephen F. Austin. She scored 29 points to lead SMU to a triple-overtime win against UAB, earning her fourth C-USA Player of the Week Award, and finished with 29 at home against Tulsa. Mays is averaging 19.3 points per game, which ranks second in the conference and tied for 27th in the NCAA. Her 3-point percentage, 42.4, also leads the conference and rank 12th nationally.
1,000 CAREER POINTS
Senior Alisha Filmore became the 20th player in SMU history with 1,000 career points, scoring nine against Houston to push her total to 1,001. She added 12 on Senior Day against UTEP and had 10 vs. Tulane to take her total to 1,023. She has scored at least 10 in 21 games this season, including 13 of the last 17, with a season-high 22 in the win over Harvard. She is 17th in C-USA with 12.2 points per game and is ninth in the league, shooting 33.0 percent from 3-point range.
TAKE IT AWAY
SMU is 61st in the country, averaging 10.3 steals per game, and is 43rd in the NCAA in turnover margin, forcing opponents into 3.68 more turnovers per game. Alisha Filmore leads the team with 62 steals, and is tied for 11th in the league with 2.2 per game. Korina Baker has 45 steals, and is also 86th in the NCAA in assists/turnover ratio. Keena Mays has 46 steals, eighth in C-USA with 2.3 per game, and freshman Gabrielle Wilkins has 40 steals on the season, with a C-USA record-tying 10 against SIUE.
RUNNING THE POINT
Korina Baker has 101 assists and is eighth in the league with 3.6 per game. She handed out a career-high nine assists against Montana State. She also scored a career-high 17 points against UCF, and has reached 10 points six times this season. She is tied for sixth in C-USA with a 34.4 3-point percentage, and is averaging 5.7 points per game.
DOMINANT OUTSIDE THE ARC
The Mustangs lead Conference USA and are 15th in the NCAA, shooting 36.0 percent from the perimeter, making 153 of 425 3-point attempts. Keena Mays is shooting a league-best 42.5 percent, which ranks 12th nationally. Mays has made 59 of 139 attempts in 20 games, including a career-high six against Rice. Korina Baker is tied for sixth in C-USA, going 33-for-96 from distance, 34.4 percent, and Alisha Filmore is ninth at 33.0 percent, 36-for-109. SMU is also second in C-USA and 35th in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 27.0 percent. The Mustangs have held opponents to three or less 3-point field goals 11 times.
In conference games, the Mustangs are scoring a league-high 69.6 points. Three of SMU's starters rank in the top 20 in the league in scoring in C-USA games, averaging at least 10 points. Keena Mays leads the team with 17.5 points per game, third, and has scored at least 15 in seven of the last nine games. Alisha Filmore is 19th with 11.7 per game, and Akil Simpson is 20th with 11.3 after scoring 19 against UTEP Sunday.
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has led the Mustangs to the NCAA Tournament seven times and the WNIT four times in 21 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 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 31 All-Conference selections. Rompola has also been named Coach of the Year six times during her career.
ROMPOLA REACHES 400 WINS
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola earned her 400th win with a 69-60 victory over Tulsa in Moody Coliseum on Feb. 21, more than any other head coach of any sport on the Hilltop. Rompola, who is the single season record holder at SMU with 683 points during the 1981-82 season, has led the Mustangs to nine 20-win seasons during her 22-year career at the helm of the SMU women's basketball program as the Mustangs are 21-7 this season, 12-3 in Conference USA. Rompola has guided the Mustangs to 12 postseason appearances, including seven trips to the NCAA Tournament.
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 22 seasons ago. Assistant coach Deneen Parker is in her 18th season with the Mustangs. 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 fourth year with the program.
SMU put up 94 points against UAB in a triple-overtime win, the most since beating UT-Arlington 97-66 on Dec. 8, 2007. The Mustangs scored 88 points against Harvard, the most in regulation since Dec. 28, 2008 when they scored 92 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and have scored at least 70 in 15 games, including seven of the last 12. SMU had two players eclipse 20 points in consecutive games and had multiple 20-point scorers for the third time this season in the 82-73 win at UTEP. The Mustangs are averaging 69.2 points per game, which ranks 48th in the NCAA. Keena Mays is second in the league with 19.3 points per game, and Alisha Filmore is scoring 12.2 per game. Akil Simpson is averaging 10.6 per game, and the trio has each had at least 20 points in a game. Sophomore Destynee Hives-McCray became the fourth Mustang to eclipse 20, scoring a career-high 22 at Southern Miss.
THREE OF A KIND
SMU's three starting guards each have at least 30 3-point field goals, led by Keena Mays, shooting a league-high 42.4 percent, 59-of-139. Korina Baker is tied for sixth in the conference shooting 34.4 percent from behind the arc, making 33 of 96. Senior Alisha Filmore has made 36 3-pointers, and is ninth in the league at 33.0 percent from behind the arc. As a team, the Mustangs have made at least five in 18 games, including 12 of the last 17. SMU made a season-high 10 in 16 attempts at TCU and hit 10 of 20 against Rice.
Akil Simpson has scored at least 10 points 17 times this season, including 19 vs. UTEP to lead SMU to at least a share of the C-USA regular season title. The junior scored a season-high 20 points at San Diego State, and is seventh in Conference USA, shooting 47.3 percent. She leads the team with 8.3 rebounds, tied for seventh in C-USA, and grabbed a career-high 17 at Memphis with 13 points for her sixth double-double of the season.
SMU has had two players score at least 20 points in the same game three times this season. Keena Mays and Akil Simpson first accomplished the feat with 26 and 20 at San Diego State. Mays and Alisha Filmore then teamed up for 25 and 22 in the next game against Harvard. Mays scored 26 and Filmore finished with 21 in an 82-73 win at UTEP.
Out of 343 NCAA Division I women's basketball teams, SMU is ranked in the top 60 in nine categories. The Mustangs are 12th in the country in 3-point field goal percentage, 36.6, and 25th in 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 26.3 percent. Winning 74.1 percent of its games, SMU is 50th in the country in win-lost percentage.
SMU IS DALLAS' TEAM
The SMU marketing slogan "SMU is Dallas' Team" is an accurate description of the women's basketball program. Since the start of the program in 1976, 72 of 105 letter winners were from Texas. This season, 12 of 14 players are Texas natives, and all 12 list hometowns in or around the DFW Metroplex. Of the four coaches, head coach Rhonda Rompola, a New Jersey native, is the only one not from Texas.
NOT EVEN CLOSE
SMU has earned 11 of its 21 wins by at least 10 points, including five by more than 20. The Mustangs are second in C-USA and 61st in the NCAA in scoring margin, out-scoring opponents by an average of 7.9 points per game. SMU leads the league, out-scoring conference opponents by 6.7 points. The Mustangs doubled up UT-Pam Am, 71-35, for the largest margin of victory, 36, since beating Memphis 93-49 on Feb. 14, 2008.