Women's Basketball

Mustangs Begin Quest For C-USA Championship Thursday

Go smu!
Go smu!

Go smu!

March 12, 2013

 No. 1 SMU (21-8, 12-4 C-USA) vs. No. 8 UCF (13-17, 7-9 C-USA) or No. 9 Houston (13-16, 7-9 C-USA)
 Date & Tip Time  Thursday, March 14 at 11 a.m.
 Location  Tulsa Convention Center - Tulsa, Okla.
 Radio  KAAM 770 AM
 Live Video  C-USA Digital Network
 Live Stats  SMU Gametracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (.pdf)
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 Twitter  @SMUMustangs   |   @SMUBasketballW
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Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Mustangs (21-8, 12-4 Conference USA) won the C-USA regular season championship and enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed after going 12-4 in league play, including wins in the first nine C-USA games to win 10 in a row for the second time in school history. SMU will face the winner between No. 8 UCF and No. 9 Houston Thursday in the Tulsa Convention Center at 11 a.m.

The Mustangs were led by Conference USA Player of the Year Keena Mays, who finished second in C-USA with 19.3 points per game and eclipsed 20 points nine times in 21 games. The guard also ranked sixth in the league with 3.9 assists per game. She was named C-USA Player of the Week four times, and shot a league-leading 41.0 percent from 3-point range, making 59 of 144 attempts. Second team All-C-USA selections Alisha Filmore (12.2 ppg) and Akil Simpson (10.5 ppg) also averaged double figures for the Mustangs, who averaged 68.4 points per game. SMU is also the top 3-point shooting team in the league, connecting on 35.5 percent of shots from behind the arc.

The Mustangs have a 7-6 record in seven C-USA Championships, and are 25-24 all-time in conference tournaments. SMU has won two conference tournament championships, winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament in 1999 with a 65-49 win over Colorado State and the C-USA tournament in 2008 with a 73-57 win against UTEP.

No. 8 - UCF: The Knights are 13-17 overall and 7-9 in Conference USA, but won six of their last nine to finish eighth in the league. Gevenia Carter leads the team with 15.0 points per game, and freshman Briahanna Jackson scores 14.5 per game and has a league-high 98 steals. UCF is averaging 59.6 points per game, while opponents are scoring 60.5.

SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 8-2 all-time against the Knights in a series which began when SMU joined Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 season. SMU won the first meeting 69-57 in Orlando on Feb. 10, 2006, sparking a string of four straight wins, including a 79-58 win in the 2007 C-USA Championship. The Knights won a pair of games during the 2008-09 season, winning the regular season matchup 78-68 before upsetting No. 1-seeded SMU 62-51 in the 2009 C-USA Championship. The Mustangs have won the last four in the series.

No. 9 - HOUSTON: The Cougars went 4-4 in the second half of the conference season after a four-game losing streak to finish 7-9 in league play, 13-16 overall, including a 65-58 win at home against SMU. Porshe Landry leads the team with 16.5 points per game, and five others score at least seven. As a team, Houston averages 63. 6 points per game, but the Cougars are allowing opponents to score 65.3.

SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 19-29 all-time against the Cougars in a series which dates back to Jan. 13, 1981 when Houston beat SMU 77-71 in the first meeting. SMU is 18-9 during head coach Rhonda Rompola's 22-year career, and the Mustangs have won three of the last four. The two teams have never faced each other in the Conference USA tournament, but each school won twice in four meetings in the Southwest Conference tournament, last facing each other in the 1996 tournament.

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 was named Conference USA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year after leading the Mustangs to their third regular-season conference championship. She finished second in the league in scoring with 19.3 points per game, and was named C-USA Player of the Week four times. She scored at least 20 points nine times in 21 games, and shot a league-high 41.0 percent from 3-point range, which would rank 20th in the NCAA if she met the 75 percent of games minimum. She scored a career-high 33 points against Stephen F. Austin, and scored 29 against two conference foes.

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 is currently 19th all-time at SMU with 1,036. She has scored at least 10 in 22 games this season, including 14 of the last 18, with a season-high 22 against Harvard. She is 18th in C-USA with 12.2 points per game and ranks seventh, shooting 33.6 percent from 3-point range.

SMU is 48th in the country, averaging 10.4 steals per game, and is 39th in the NCAA in turnover margin, forcing opponents into 3.72 more turnovers per game. Alisha Filmore leads the team with 68 steals, and is tied for 11th in the league with 2.2 per game. Keena Mays swiped five at Rice to get to 51 in 21 games, ranking sixth in C-USA with 2.4 per game.Korina Baker has 45 steals, and is also 86th in the NCAA in assists/turnover ratio. Freshman Gabrielle Wilkins has 41 steals on the season, with a C-USA record-tying 10 against SIUE.

The Mustangs lead Conference USA and are 21st in the NCAA, shooting 35.5 percent from the perimeter, making 157 of 442 3-point attempts. Keena Mays is shooting a league-best 41.0 percent, which ranks 20th nationally. Mays has made 59 of 144 attempts in 21 games, including a career-high six against Rice. Korina Baker is tied for eighth in C-USA, going 33-for-99 from distance, 33.3 percent, and Alisha Filmore is seventh at 33.6 percent, 39-for-116. SMU is also second in C-USA and 38th 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 12 times.

In conference games, the Mustangs are scoring a league-high 68.1 points. Four of SMU's starters rank in the top 30 in the league in scoring in C-USA games, with three averaging at least 10 points. Keena Mays leads the team with 16.8 points per game, fourth, and has scored at least 15 in seven of the last 10 games. Alisha Filmore is 18th with 11.8 per game, and has scored at least 10 points in five of the last six games. Akil Simpson finished the regular season 21st averaging 10.9 points in league games, and Destynee Hives-McCray scored 9.3 points against conference opponents, tied for 28th.

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.

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 21-8 this season, went 12-4 in Conference USA. Rompola has guided the Mustangs to 11 postseason appearances, including seven trips to the NCAA Tournament, and SMU has clinched at least a trip to the WNIT by winning the C-USA regular season crown.

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.

Korina Baker has 103 assists and is eighth in the league with 3.6 per game. She handed out a career-high nine assists against Montana State, and has had at least four assists in a game 13 times. The junior transfer is 86th in the country in assist/turnover ratio, 1.56, with just 66 turnovers. She also scored a career-high 17 points against UCF, and has reached 10 points six times this season. She is tied for eighth in C-USA with a 34.4 3-point percentage.

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.

SMU's three starting guards each have at least 30 3-point field goals, led by Keena Mays, shooting a league-high 41.0 percent, 59-of-144. Korina Baker is tied for eight in the conference shooting 33.0 percent from behind the arc, making 33 of 99. Senior Alisha Filmore has made 39 3-pointers, and is seventh in the league at 33.6 percent from behind the arc. As a team, the Mustangs have made at least five in 18 games, including 12 of the last 18. SMU made a season-high 10 in 16 attempts at TCU and hit 10 of 20 against Rice.

Out of 343 NCAA Division I women's basketball teams, SMU is ranked in the top 60 in seven categories. The Mustangs are 21st in the country in 3-point field goal percentage, 35.5, and 38th in 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 27.0 percent. Winning 72.4 percent of its games, SMU is 52nd in the country in win-lost percentage.

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.

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 68.4 points per game, which ranks 55th 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 10.5 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.

Akil Simpson has scored at least 10 points 17 times this season, including 19 vs. UTEP to lead SMU to 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 46.7 percent. She leads the team with 8.3 rebounds, eighth in C-USA, and grabbed a career-high 17 at Memphis with 13 points for her sixth double-double of the season. She scored at least 10 points in nine of the last 13 games, including a string of six straight games, and shot at least 40 percent in 12 of 16 conference games, including five at higher than 60 percent.

Keena Mays was named to the All-Conference USA First Team by the conference's coaches and members of the media after leading the Mustangs to their third regular season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Championship with a 12-4 record in league play, 21-8 overall. Senior Alisha Filmore and junior Akil Simpson were selected to the second team. Simpson was also named to the second team as a sophomore, and was tabbed for the All-Freshman team in 2011.

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 70th in the NCAA in scoring margin, out-scoring opponents by an average of 7.2 points per game. SMU leads the league, out-scoring conference opponents by 5.5 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.

The Mustangs played 18 of 29 games in Moody Coliseum this season, setting a school record with 15 wins at home. SMU went 7-1 at home against Conference USA opponents, and lost three games by a combined 11 points. The Mustangs set the previous record with 13 wins in Moody Coliseum during the 2004-05 season, and matched the feat in 2009-10.

Post players Akil Simpson and Destynee Hives-McCray combined for 40 blocks this season, and the Mustangs are fourth in Conference USA with 440 offensive rebounds. Simpson is secon in the league with 113 offensive rebounds, and Hives-McCray is fifth with 92. The duo combines to average 14.7 rebounds per game.

Keena Mays was named Conference USA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year by the conference's coaches and members of the media after leading the Mustangs to their third regular season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Championship with a 12-4 record in league play, 21-8 overall. Mays finished the regular season second in Conference USA with 19.3 points per game and eclipsed 20 points nine times in 21 games. The guard also ranked sixth in the league with 3.9 assists per game. She was named C-USA Player of the Week four times, and shot a league-leading 41.0 percent from 3-point range, making 59 of 144 attempts. The junior transfer posted two double-double, scoring 23 points with 11 rebounds in her first game at SMU, and finished with 29 points, including two buzzer-beaters, and 13 rebounds in a triple-overtime win against UAB. SMU went on a 10-game win streak, including the first nine conference games, and won a school-record 15 games in Moody Coliseum. Mays is the third Mustang to be named Player of the Year, joining Karlin Kennedy, who was named Western Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year in 2000 and D-dra Rucker, who was named WAC Player of the Year in 2001. She is just the second player in league history to win both awards in the same season.

Moody Coliseum is undergoing expansion and extensive renovation, providing many new and improved features that include new premium seating, renovation of the entry lobby and concourses and state-of-the-art upgrades. This project will revitalize Moody Coliseum as a preeminent collegiate sports arena and multi-purpose event facility, preserving its historical character while adding the most modern technological enhancements. Construction began in August 2012 with the expansion of the building's north facade followed by renovation of the interior space and infrastructure upgrades. The $47 million project is scheduled to be completed in December 2013.



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