Nov. 21, 2012
SMU HOSTS HOOPS FOR THE CURE CLASSIC
Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
The Mustangs face SIU-Edwardsville for the first time in history in the first round of the SMU Hoops for the Cure Classic Friday at 5 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. SMU will face either Montana State or Clemson, also two teams SMU has never played, on Saturday night. SMU is 3-1 on the season, led by senior Alisha Filmore, who is averaging 13.3 points per game. Freshman Farrin Bell is shooting a team-high 48.1 percent from the field and is tied for second on the team with 8.3 points per game.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
SIU-EDWARDSVILLE: The Cougars are 2-2 this season, dropping two straight after winning their season opener before beating Western Illinois Tuesday night. Raven Berry leads the team with 13.2 points per game, and Tierny Austin is averaging 12.2 points per game.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the first meeting between the two teams on the hardwood.
The Bobcats are 2-0 coming into the SMU tournament, knocking off Colorado State and Denver in the first two games of the season. Kalli Durham leads the team with 13.0 points per game, shooting 33.3 percent on 3-point attempts, and Rachel Semansky is scoring 12.5 per contest. The Bobcats are out-scoring their opponents 65.5 to 54.0 after two games.
SERIES HISTORY: SMU has never played Montana State.
The Tigers are 0-3 this season, including a two-point, overtime loss to South Florida. Danaejah Grant leads the team with 11.3 points per game, and Quinyotta Pettaway is scoring 10.0 points per game. Opponents are out-scoring the Tigers 62.7 to 54.0 this season.
SERIES HISTORY: SMU has never played Clemson.
LAST TIME OUT - ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK
The comeback effort came up short for the Mustangs Monday night as SMU suffered its first loss of the season against Arkansas-Little Rock, falling 47-43 in Moody Coliseum despite a double-double from Akil Simpson and an 11-point performance from Alisha Filmore.
Trailing by five down 39-34 with just over four minutes left in the game, Filmore connected on the first SMU 3-point basket to pull the Mustangs (3-1) to within two points, 39-37 with 4:19 left. A little more than a minute and a half later, Filmore answered a bucket by the Trojans (2-1) with another 3-pointer to cut the lead to one, 41-40 with 2:45 to play. The Trojans held onto the lead, and made four free throws in the last 32 seconds to escape Moody Coliseum with the win.
STREAKS AND TRENDS
The Mustangs started the season 3-0 for the third time in the last four years...Alisha Filmore led the Mustangs in scoring in two of the first three games and is scoring a team-high 13.3 points per game...Filmore has scored at least 10 points in all four games this season...SMU is averaging 69.7 points per game, eclipsing 60 in all three games...Akil Simpson posted her 11th career double-double against UALR...
LEADER OF THE PACK
Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in the first four games this season, with a season-high 16 in the win over North Texas. She is ninth in C-USA, averaging 13.3 points per game. After spending most of her first two seasons on the Hilltop playing the point guard position, 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 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.
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.
LIVING UP TO THE HYPE
Seven Mustangs have scored in double-figures 12 times over the first four games, including two freshmen and junior college transfer Korina Baker. Freshman Farrin Bell scored 12 points in the season opener against Alcorn State, and finished with 12 in the win over North Texas. She is second on the tea in points, averaging 8.3 per game, and rebounds, grabbing 5.3. Gabrielle Wilkins also hit double-digits in her collegiate debut, earning C-USA Freshman of the Week honors after scoring 11 points with five rebounds against North Texas. Baker scored 12 points against Texas Southern and is averaging 7.0 points per game with a team-high 12 assists.
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 383 games during her career at SMU. With 17 more wins this season, Rompola would get her ninth 20-win season and 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.