March 21, 2014
The Mustangs advanced to the second round of the WNIT to face Minnesota Sunday at 5 p.m. in Minneapolis with an 84-72 win at home over Texas Southern Thursday. SMU is 18-13 on the season after picking up its first postseason win since knocking off North Carolina State 64-63 in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament. The Gophers are 21-12 after beating Green Bay 62-60 to advance.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - MINNESOTA
The Gophers are 21-12, including three overtime losses, led by Rachel Banham's 22.3 points per game. Amanda Zahui averages a double-double with 14.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, and Minnesota is out-scoring opponents 68.7-63.1. The Gophers shoot 39.3 percent from 3-point range, led by Banham, who is 86-of-203 from behind the arc (42.4 percent). Sari Noga is also 62-of-173 from long range (35.8 percent), averaging 7.8 points per game. Banham hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to clinch the win over Green Bay, finishing with 31 points to set a school-record with 709 points on the season.
Series History: SMU has never faced Minnesota.
LAST TIME OUT - TEXAS SOUTHERN
Senior Keena Mays score 32 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the SMU Mustangs to an 84-72 win over Texas Southern in the first round of the WNIT in Moody Coliseum on Thursday night.
Mays made 10 of her 18 shots and converted on seven-of-eight free throw attempts to go along with six assists and a career-high seven steals. Mays recorded her fifth 30-point game of the season, and moved within 26 points of tying head coach Rhonda Rompola's single-season scoring record.
UP NEXT - CREIGHTON/SOUTH DAKOTA ST.
With a win, the Mustangs would the winner between Creighton and South Dakota State. Creighton defeated Missouri 77-51 in the first round, improving to 20-13. Sophomore Marrisa Janning leads a trio of players averaging double figures with a team-high 17.8 points per game. The Bluejays are out-scoring opponents 65.9-62.3. South Dakota State is 23-9 after beating Butler 78-61 to advance. Megan Waytashek leads the team with 11.5 points per game, and Steph Paluch is scoring 10.2 per contest. The Jackrabbits shoot 32.7 percent from behind the arc, and 40.6 percent from the field as a team, and are averaging 70.5 points per game.
This would be the first meeting against South Dakota State or Creighton.
LEADING THE LEAGUE
Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks 30th in the NCAA with 21.2 points per game, and is tne 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 19 times this season, including games against Connecticut and Louisville, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (10th-3.5/game), steals (3rd-2.3/game), and three-point percentage (1st-39.7 percent).
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 at USF. The senior scored the 1,000th point of her collegiate career at Cincinnati earlier this season. In 51 games on the Hilltop, Mays has scored 1,081 points, including 657 this season, becoming just the fourth player in program history to score 500 in a season and 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.
30 IS MAYS' MAGIC NUMBER
Keena Mays matched her career high with 34 points against Houston on Feb. 15, becoming the first player in program history to score at least 30 four times in one season. Most recently, Mays scored 32 points versus Texas Southern in the first round of the WNIT on March 20, reaching the 30-point mark for the fifth time this year. 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 83 3-pointers this season, eclipsing Jillian Samuels' former record of 72, set during the 2007-08 season. The senior made a career-high seven against Houston on Feb. 15, and hit five in each of the last two games. Mays made 64 in 23 games last season, and ranks third all-time at SMU with 147 in two seasons on the Hilltop. Samuels holds the all-time record with 249.
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in 27 games, including a season-high 23 against Temple on Feb. 1. The senior posted her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. UCF on senior day in Dallas. The Duncanville, Texas native now has 26 during for her career. She scored 11 points against No. 3/4 Tennessee and had 14 at No. 7/7 Louisville. Simpson leads the team, is eighth in the conference and ranks 65th in the NCAA, shooting 50.8 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.5 points, ninth in The American, with 8.3 rebounds, seventh in the conference.
DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Akil Simpson posted her 10th double-double of the season against UCF with 10 points and 10 rebounds becoming the first Mustang to record 10 in a season since Janelle Dodds posted 12 during the 2005-06 season. Simpson is now one of seven Mustangs with 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 now matches Karlin Kennedy for third all-time at SMU with 26 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 1,229 points and passed Andrea Cossey to climb to 13th all-time at SMU with 10 points vs. UCF. Delisha Willsis next on the list at 12th with 1,260 points from 2006-11.
BATTLING THE BEST
The Mustangs have played six games against a ranked opponent this season (Tennessee, Rutgers, Louisville twice, and UConn twice), the most in a season in program history. 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, five opponents are currently in the top 10, and Rutgers was 24th when the teams met in The American tournament. Rutgers and UTEP were also receiving votes during the time of the three regular-season games against SMU.
Kiara Perry has scored at least 10 points 10 times this season. She was named Freshman of the Week in The American on Dec. 30. In conference games, she shot 35.1 percent and averaged 8.0 points with 4.5 rebounds.
GET THE BALL
The Mustangs have forced 533 turnovers on the season, while committing 488, and are averaging 17.6 points off turnovers per game. SMU is 11-5 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents, and ranks fourth in the conference with a +1.5 turnover margin. SMU is averaging 7.5 per game. Five players have at least 20 steals, led by Mays' 71. Mays is third in the conference with 2.3 steals per game.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 463 assists on 758 field goals this season, ranking third in The American with 14.9 assists per game. SMU is third in the league with a 0.9 assist/turnover margin. Korina Baker leads the team with 116 assists and ranks sixth in The American with 3.7 per game. The senior recorded a season-high eight twice, most recently against Texas Southern on March 20. Keena Mays has 109 assists, including a season-high eight three times, tied for ninth in the league with 3.5 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 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.
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.
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.
A UNANIMOUS SELECTION
Keena Mays was a unanimous selection to the inaugural All-American Athletic Conference First Team. She won the regular season scoring title, averaging a league-high 20.8 points per game, and is one of just two players in the conference with more than 600 points this season, becoming just the second player in SMU history to reach 600 in a season. The Arlington, Texas, native also finished second in the league with a school-record 73 3-point field goals, and led the conference with a 38.2 shooting percentage behind the arc. She reached 1,000 points in just 51 games on the Hilltop.
EVERY SINGLE YEAR
Akil Simpson earned her third straight second-team all-conference award, averaging 13.7 points per game, ninth in The American, and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game, seventh in the league. She became the 21st player to score 1,000 points in a career at SMU, reaching double figures in points 26 times in 29 games this season. She also became the first player with 10 double-doubles in a season at SMU since Janelle Dodds recorded 12 during the 2005-06 season. She scored a season-high 23 points in a win over Temple, and had a season-high 15 rebounds at UTEP. The forward from Duncanville, Texas, was also named to the All-Freshman team after the 2010-11 season.
Kiara Perry was named to the All-Freshman team, scoring 7.7 points with 4.8 rebounds per game. She scored at least 10 points 10 times this season, including seven conference games, and had a season-high 15 points against Memphis. She finished with a double-double at Rutgers, scoring 10 points with 10 rebounds, and led the Mustangs in rebounds three times this season.