Nov. 24, 2013
The Mustangs, with wins in the first five games to match their best start since going 7-0 to start the 1993-94 season, host Lamar Monday in the Curtis Culwell Center at 6 p.m. Keena Mays has scored at least 20 in three of the first five games, and leads the team with 19.6 per game. Akil Simpson is nearly averaging a double-double with 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
LAST TIME OUT - STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
After trailing at the beginning of the first half, SMU pulled away from the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks to win 81-69 in Nacogdoches, Texas, Saturday evening. SMU is now 5-0 on the season, marking the third time in program history that it has achieved that mark.
SMU senior Keena Mays finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, just one board and two helpers shy of generating the first triple-double in program history. Akil Simpson tallied her second straight double-double, posting 20 points with 12 rebounds. The duo became the first pair to score 20 points each for SMU since Mays and Alisha Filmore scored 26 and 21 respectively on Feb. 3 at UTEP.
SMU received votes in the 2013-14 USA TODAY Sports Coaches' Poll for the third straight week. The Mustangs earned votes in the preseason poll after finishing the 2012-13 season with a 21-10 record, and are off to a 4-0 start this season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
LAMAR: The Cardinals are 3-2, winning three of their last four after a season-opening loss at Oklahoma State. Dominique Edwards leads the team in points, 18.0 per game, and rebounds, 9.8. Shauna Long is Lamar's top outside threat, shooting 61.5 percent with 16 3-pointers in the first five games. As a team, the Cardinals have made 45 of 119 field goals from 3-point range, shooting 38.1 percent from distance and 41.9 percent overall.
Series History: The Mustangs are 4-1 against Lamar all-time, and have won three by 10 or more points. SMU has played the Cardinals just once during head coach Rhonda Rompola's tenure, winning 85-69 on Feb. 12, 1996, the most points by the Mustangs in the series.
UP NEXT - JUNKANOO JAM TOURNAMENT
SMU will face Kansas State and either Tennessee or Virginia at the Junkanoo Jam Tournament in Freeport, Bahamas. Kansas State enters the tournament with a 2-2 record, and the Wildcats are led by Leticia Romero, who is the only player on the team averaging more than 10 points, scoring 13.3 per game. Tennessee is ranked No. 3 with a 5-0 record. Ariel Massengale leads five Lady Vols who average at least 10 points per game with 14.3 per contest. Virginia is 3-2on the season entering the Bahamas tournament.
Kansas State won only meeting (69-59; 12/29/90)
Tennessee - Would be first meeting
Virginia won only meeting (77-68; 3/13/98 in the NCAA East Regional in Tucson, Ariz.)
IN THE BAHAMAS
The Mustangs went 2-0 in the Bahamas in Decemeber 2009, beating Wichita State 67-60 and Indiana State 69-54 in Nassau. SMU is 6-2 all-time in games played outside the 50 state, going 2-2 in four games played during two tournaments in Cancun, Mexico, (Dec. 2001 and Dec. 2006), and 2-0 in the San Jaun Shootout in Puerto Rico in Dec. 1995.
LEADING THE STAMPEDE
Keena Mays has scored at least 20 points 12 times in 25 games at SMU, including three times this season. She nearly recorded the first triple-double in SMU history with 26 points, eight assists and nine rebounds at SFA, and is averaging 19.6 points per game with 6.0 rebounds per game and 29 assists this season. The senior is shooting 39.4 percent from 3-point range, and leads the team with 10 steals. She was named to the American Athletic Conference Preaseason All-Conference team after being named Conference USA Player of the Year as a junior.
DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Six different Mustangs have scored at least 10 points in a game this season, with Keena Mays (22, 25, 15, 10, 26) and Akil Simpson (15, 11, 16, 15, 20) reaching double figures in all five games. Freshman Kiara Perry (12, 14, 14) and Destynee Hives-McCray (16, 17, 13) have reached double digits three times, and Gabrielle Wilkins (15, 11) scored 10 points twice. Mallory Singleton became the sixth player with a 10-point game, scoring 10 against Mississippi Valley State.
TAKE IT AWAY
The Mustangs have forced 99 turnovers and turned them into 127 of their 406 points. SMU is also out-rebounding its opponents 233-187, and opponents have only grabbed 61 offensive boards for 39 second-chance points.
All nine players scored against Grambling State, the most in a game since 10 Mustangs scored at Tulane on Feb. 3, 2011, including Gabrielle Wilkins, who scored a career-high 15 points in the opener. All nine players lit up the scoreboard again against Mississippi Valley State, with five scoring at least 10. Seven of nine players scored against TCU, and eight Mustangs tallied points at Eastern Washington and at Stephen F. Austin.
PASSING THE ROCK
The Mustangs have recorded 101 assists on 141 field goals this season, led by senior Keena Mays, who has 29 assists, including a season-high eight at Eastern Washington and again at SFA. Korina Baker has 20 assists, and Gabrielle Wilkins has 13. Freshman Kiara Perry has 11, and all nine players have at least three this season.
SIMPSON IS A STAR
Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points in each of the first five games, including a season-high 20 at SFA. The senior posted her first double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds against MVSU, and recorded her second with 12 rebounds to go with 20 points at SFA. Simpson leads the team and is 10th in the conference, shooting 55.8 percent from the field. She is averaging 15.4 points with 8.8 rebounds.
PRESENCE IN THE PAINT
Destynee Hives-McCray is shooting 51.2 percent, averaging 12.0 points per game, and has reached double figures in three games, including the last two. She posted the first double-double in the season opener, scoring 16 points with 10 rebounds. The junior is also averaging 7.4 rebounds per game, and has pulled down 10 twice this season.
A CLASS OF ONE
Kiara Perry is the lone freshman on the roster this season. She has started all five games and reached
double digits in points in three. The guard is averaging 9.4 points with 5.4 rebounds and 11 assists. In high school, she was named MVP at the Texas state championship tournament after leading Duncanville to its second straight state title and a 70-game winning streak spanning two seasons.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
SMU enters the new American Athletic Conference this season. Members of the conference, which consists of former BIG EAST and Conference USA members, includes Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, Rutgers, Temple, UCF and USF. Connecticut beat Louisville to win the 2013 NCAA championship, and the Bulls advanced to the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The 2014 American Women's Basketball Championship will be hosted at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., March 7-10.
MOODY GETS A FACELIFT
The $47 million renovation and expansion of Moody Coliseum, which opened in December 1956, will be 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. SMU will play its first basketball games with a men's and women's doubleheader on Jan. 4. The women will play USF at 3:30 in ESPN3.
NEW HEIGHTS IN BROADCAST COVERAGE
For the first time in program history, SMU women's basketball fans will have the opportunity to watch all 29 regular-season games live this season. The Mustangs will have two games on ESPNU this season, Dec. 29 at Louisville, and again when SMU hosts the Cardinals on Jan. 19 in the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum. ESPN will broadcast two games live on its digital channel, ESPN3, including the first game of the season in Moody Coliseum, a Jan. 4 matchup against USF. The Memphis game on Feb. 22 in the FedEx Forum will also be on ESPN3. SportsNet New York will carry both games against Connecticut. SMU will also play seven games on the American Digital Network, and the other eight home games will air on PonyUp TV.
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. The Mustangs have captured two conference tournament championships, winning the Western Athletic Conference 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. Rompola has also earned six Coach of the Year honors during her career.