Nov. 26, 2013
The Mustangs, with wins in the first six games for their best start since going 7-0 to start the 1993-94 season, will travel to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam Tournament for games on Thursday and Friday. SMU will face Kansas State first on Thanksgiving at 3:15 p.m., and will face either Virginia or No. 3 Tennessee Friday. Keena Mays leads the team in scoring with 20.0 points per game. Akil Simpson has three straight double-doubles and averages 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest.
LAST TIME OUT - LAMAR
Keena Mays scored 22 points, including 10 straight late in the second half, to propel the SMU Mustangs to a 82-79 win over the Lamar Cardinals at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, on Monday night. SMU is now 6-0 for the second time in school history, with the other being a 7-0 start in 1993-94.
The Mustangs scored the first seven points of the game, and then went on a 12-0 run to take a 22-7 lead with 13:31 left in the first half. SMU stretched the lead to as many as 19 over the first 20 minutes, taking a 36-17 lead with 8:36 on the clock, and led by 12 at halftime.
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 6-0 start this season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
KANSAS STATE: The Wildcats are 2-2 on the season, winning their first two games of the season against Tennessee State and Charlotte and dropping its last two at UTEP and against Wichita State. Leticia Romero leads Kansas State with 13.3 points per game, and Katya Leick paces them in rebounds with 6.3.
Series History: Kansas State won the only previous meeting between the two programs, taking a 69-59 win in Manhattan, Kan., in the 1990-91 season.
UP NEXT - JUNKANOO JAM TOURNAMENT
SMU will face Kansas State and either Tennessee or Virginia at the Junkanoo Jam Tournament in Freeport, Bahamas. 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 3-2 on the season entering the Bahamas tournament.
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 13 times in 26 games at SMU, including four 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 20.0 points per game with 5.8 rebounds per game and 5.8 assists this season. The senior is shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point range, and leads the team with 11 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, 22) and Akil Simpson (15, 11, 16, 15, 20, 11) reaching double figures in all six games. Destynee Hives-McCray (16, 17, 13, 13) has scored 10 or more in four games, while Freshman Kiara Perry (12, 14, 14) and Gabrielle Wilkins (15, 11, 17) have reached double digits three times. Mallory Singleton became the sixth player with a 10-point game, scoring 10 against Mississippi Valley State.
TAKE IT AWAY
The Mustangs have forced 110 turnovers on the season, and SMU is also out-rebounding its opponents 279-224, and opponents have only grabbed 75 offensive boards.
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., and all nine dressed players scored against Lamar as well. 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.