Nov. 8, 2012
SMU OPENS SEASON AT HOME AGAINST ALCORN STATE SATURDAY
Radio: KAAM 770 AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
Mahnesmith Leads SMU With 13 Points In 76-54 Win To Open Season
DALLAS (SMU) - Samantha Mahnesmith scored a team-high 13 points and Krystal Johnson added a career-high 10 points to lead SMU to a 76-54 win over Alcorn State Saturday in Moody Coliseum to open the 2011-12 season.
SMU opens the 2012-13 season agaisnt Alcorn State Saturday at noon, and the Mustangs will play a second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent, hosting Texas Southern Monday at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Alcorn State: The Lady Braves are facing the Mustangs in the first game of the season for the second year in a row. SMU defeated Alcorn State 76-54 on Nov. 12 in Moody Coliseum. The Lady Braves finished the season 14-20 overall after starting 0-7. Alcorn State went 9-9 in the SWAC, and had a 3-1 record in the SWAC Tournament, falling 67-41 to Prairie View in the championship game. Seniors Carolinsia Crumbly and Renelle Richmond are the top returning scorers, averaging 9.1 and 6.6 points per game last season, respectively.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 3-1 all-time against Alcorn State. SMU won the first three meeting of the series before the Lady Braves claimed their first win agains the Mustangs during the 1995-96 season. SMU won the first meeting 72-60 on Dec. 12, 1986 in the Dallas Hilton Inn Classic.
UP NEXT: TEXAS SOUTHERN
Texas Southern went just 5-26 last season with two wins against SWAC opponents. Gianne Fleming led the Tigers with 9.8 points per game last season as a junior. Freshmen Kayla West (8.4) and Morgan Simmons (6.7) were the only other players on the team to score more than five points per game. The Tigers and Mustangs had three common opponents last season in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, TCU and Alcorn State. Texas Southern went 1-3 against the three teams, beating TAMU-CC 63-54. SMU went 3-0 against the teams, winning all three games by at least nine points. Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is starting her first season as head coach of the Tigers after a two-year stint at UNC-Wilmington.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 3-1 all-time against Texas Southern, winning three straight since the Tigers beat SMU in the first round of the 1979 TAIAW Playoffs, SMU's third season as a program.
LEADER OF THE PACK
After spending most of her first two seasons on the Hilltop playing the point guard position, senior Alisha Filmore was second on the team in scoring last season, averaging 10.2 points per game. She scored at least 10 points in 15 of the Mustangs' 31 games, including a career-high 29 points, which is tied for the fifth highest by a Conference USA player last season, against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 18, 2011. Filmore also had 26 points against Houston. She was the leading scorer in nine games last season.
FILMORE AMONG CONFERENCE ELITE
Alisha Filmore led Conference USA in 3-point field goal percentage last season, shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc. She was one of just two players in the league connecting on more than 40 percent of 3-point attempts, and only three players made more than 35 percent of attempts. She made every 3-point attempt in six games, and matched Andrea Cossey for second most in a game at SMU, making seven of 11 attempts against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Filmore was also fourth in the league, shooting 78.2 percent from the free throw line, making 68 of 87 attempts from the charity stripe. She made every attempt in 10 games, including a 6-for-6 performance against Cal State Fullerton, and made a career-high nine free throws in 12 attempts against UT-San Antonio.
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 joined the duo 17 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 fourth year with the program.
In the past six 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 in 21 seasons. The Mustangs have captured two conference tournament championships, winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament in 1999 and the Conference 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 21-year career.
THERE WAS NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP
As a sophomore, Akil Simpson stole the spotlight, leading the Mustangs with 10.7 points per game, ranking in the top 20 in Conference USA. She scored at least 10 points in 17 of 31 games, including a career-high 25 points at Tulane on Feb. 5, 2012. She reached the 20 point mark three times in all, scoring 22 against Fresno State and 20 in SMU's two-point win at Marshall. Simpson also led the team in rebounding, averaging 7.5 boards per game, and grabbed at least 10 in 11 games. She tied for fifth in the league with nine double-doubles and now has 10 for her career.
SIGNING CLASS RATED AS ONE OF NATION'S BEST
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. Combined with transfers Korina Baker, Brittney Hardy and Keena Mays, the seven-player class was rated as one of the top-20 classes in the country by Dan Olsen's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM
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. She was also selected to the C-USA All-Preseason Team this year.
TRANSFERS EXPECTED TO MAKE IMPACT
Two of SMU's three transfers will make their debuts as Mustangs this season. Korina Baker, a junior transfer from Valleyford, Wash., led North Idaho College to a national championship as a freshman, and earned All-America and All-Scenic West Athletic Conference honors after her sophomore season. Keena Mays enrolled at SMU in January and will be eligible to play in December after transferring from Kansas after two seasons. As a freshman, she started 13 games for the Jayhawks and was second on the team with 119 assists. The Mansfield, Texas native averaged 7.1 points per game and grabbed 3.0 rebounds during her first year.
ROMPOLA CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has won 380 games in 21 seasons at SMU. With 20 wins this season, a feat her teams have done eight times, Rompola would reach 400 wins in her career, something only 40 NCAA Division I coaches have accomplished in their careers. Last season, Rompola passed former SMU men's soccer head coach Schellas Hyndman for most wins by a coach at SMU with the 369th win of her career, a 47-38 victory over TCU on Nov. 17, 2011. She earned her 350th career win on Feb. 25, 2010 with a 69-61 win against UCF.
SMU IS DALLAS' TEAM
The new SMU marketing slogan "SMU is Dallas' Team" is a very accurate description of the women's basketball program. Since the start of the program in 1976, 72 of 105 letter winners were natives of Texas. This season, 12 of 14 players are Texas natives, and all 12 list hometowns in or around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Of the four coaches on staff, head coach Rhonda Rompola, a New Jersey native, is the only one not from Texas.
HOME SWEET HOME
SMU fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the Mustangs in Moody Coliseum this season. SMU plays 10 of its 13 non-conference games on the Hilltop, and hosts eight of the 16 Conference USA games during the regular season. Over the last eight seasons, the Mustangs posted a 92-33 record in Moody Coliseum, and SMU is 317-194 all-time when playing at home.
RETURNING TO THE HILLTOP
The Mustangs added two familiar faces to the staff this season. Shawna Lavender, who played at SMU and graduated in 1997, is the Director of Basketball Operations, and Jillian Samuels, a 2010 graduate of SMU, was named Assistant Director of Player Development. Samuels hold the SMU record with 249 3-point field goals in her career, and was the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points. She is 14th all-time with 1,158 career points. Lavender, formerly Shawna Ford, led the Mustangs to a 76-41 overall record, and scored a career-high 42 points, second most in school history, in a historic four-overtime victory over TCU during the 1996-97 season. As a senior, she led the Mustangs with 130 assists and 46 3-point field goals made. She scored 313 points, averaging 10.4 per game during her final season. She was also a team captain for two seasons.