Dec. 14, 2012
MUSTANGS RETURN TO COURT AGAINST LOUISIANA-MONROE MONDAY AT 7 P.M.
Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
The Mustangs start a three-game homestand Monday night, hosting Louisiana-Monroe in Moody Coliseum at 7 p.m., playing for the first time since Dec. 1. Fans who bring a new toy will receive free admission for one adult and one child. SMU, 6-2 overall and 6-1 at home, plays three home games in six days, including a Dec. 19 matchup against in-state rival Stephen F. Austin, before concluding the non-conference schedule with a pair of games at the San Diego Surf 'N Slam Classic at San Diego State on Dec. 28 and 30. Fans are being asked to wear white to the Wichita State game on Dec. 22 at noon.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
LOUISIANA-MONROE: The Warhawks are 2-7 this season, splitting two games with a 73-55 win over Southern Miss and a loss at Texas in the time since SMU last played on Dec. 1. Alexar Tugler leads the time with 10.1 points per game, and Jasmine Shaw is scoring 10.0 per contest. Ashleigh Simmons is grabbing a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game while averaging 8.8 points. Louisiana-Monroe has made 28 of 90 3-point attempts, shooting 31.1 percent from behind the arc. The Warhawks are averaging 57.4 points per game while allowing 69.2, and have been out-scored by an average of 17.8 points in each of the seven losses. ULM has been in just one game decided by less than 10 points, a 65-57 loss to Western Kentucky.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs have played Louisian-Monroe just once before in the history of the program, beating the Warhawks 56-44 in the first round of the SMU Hoops for the Cure Classic in Moody Coliseum on Nov. 25, 2005.
UP NEXT - STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
The Ladyjacks are 4-4, 1-3 in road games, going into a Dec. 15 matchup at Rice before coming to Dallas on Dec. 19. Porsha Robert leads the team in both points, 14.4 per game, and rebounds, 7.5, and four other players are scoring at least seven points per game. Stephen F. Austin is scoring 66.8 points per game, while holding opponents to 63.0.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are just 5-10 against the Ladyjacks all-time, but have won five of the last eight and three of the last four. The two teams first met on Dec. 17, 1982 in Dallas, but have played just five times in the last 12 years, with SMU going 3-2.
LAST TIME OUT - UT-PAN AMERICAN
Destynee Hives-McCray posted her second double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, and Kristin Askew scored a career-high 14 points to lead all players as SMU doubled up UT- Pan American 71-35 in Moody Coliseum Saturday, holding an opponent to less than 40 points for the sixth time in the program's 36 seasons. The Mustangs (6-2) held the Broncs (3-6) to just six points from the field in the first half, holding UT-Pan Am scoreless from the field from the 18:20 mark until there were less than two minutes on the clock. During the stretch, SMU posted its largest run of the season, scoring 24 unanswered points to take a 28-4 lead before the Broncs got a free throw to end the drought with 7:23 left in the half.
STREAKS AND TRENDS
The Mustangs started the season 5-1 for the third time in the last six years, making the postseason both of the other two (2008 and 2010)...Alisha Filmore scored at least 10 points in seven games this season and led the team in three games, including 20 points against Montana State...SMU has eclipsed 60 points in seven games and scored at least 70 in four games, including the last three...Simpson has led the Mustangs in rebounding in five of the last six games...Five different Mustangs have been the top scorer through eight games this season...
LEADER OF THE PACK
Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in the first seven games this season, with a season-high 20 in the win over Montana State. She is tied for 12th in C-USA, averaging 12.9 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 TAMU-CC on Dec. 18, 2011. Filmore also had 26 points against Houston. She was the leading scorer in nine games last season.
Freshman Gabrielle Wilkins is second on the team, averaging 8.7 points per game. She has scored at least 10 points in three of the six games she has played in this season. She scored 11 points in her debut against North Texas, and scored 12 and 13 points in the two SMU Classic games. She tied a C-USA record and set the SMU single-game record with 10 steals against SIU-Edwardsville. She has 20 steals on the season, and is fourth in C-USA and 36th in the NCAA with 3.3 steals per game.
DOMINANT OUTSIDE THE ARC
The Mustangs lead Conference USA, shooting 35.3 percent from the perimeter, making 36 of 102 3-point attempts. Sophomore Kristin Askew is shooting a league-high 53.3 percent, making seven 3's in the last two games. Korina Baker is sixth in the conference, going 13-of-32 from distance for a 40.6 percent clip, and Alisha Filmore, who led the league last season, is ninth in C-USA with a 36.0 percentage. SMU is also second in C-USA and 23rd in the country in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 23.1 percent behind the arc.
SINCE IT'S FREE
The Mustangs are second in Conference USA, shooting 68.3 percent from the free throw line. Destynee Hives-McCray leads the conference making all 18 attempts this season. Alisha Filmore is 12th in the league, shooting 70.3 percent (26-of-37).
READY TO PLAY
After a full year of practice since transferring to SMU from Kansas in Jan. 2012, junior Keena Mays is eligible to play her first game with the Mustangs against Louisiana-Monroe. The Arlington, Texas native was second among freshmen in the Big XII with 3.5 assists per game and was second on the team with 119 in 34 games. She also averaged 7.1 points in her first season.
In the past six seasons, the SMU has 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.
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.
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.
ROMPOLA CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has won 386 games during her career at SMU. With 14 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 IN THE NCAA RANKINGS
The Mustangs are 23rd in the NCAA, holding opponents to 23.1 percent on 3-point shooting. SMU has allowed just 27 3-pointers through eight games. SMU is also 26th in the nation with 12.8 steals per game. SMU has swiped 19 twice, and Gabrielle Wilkins had a C-USA record-tying 10 steals against SIUE, and has 20 on the season, ranking 36th in the country with a 3.3 per game average.
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
Eight Mustangs have scored in double-figures 24 times over the first eight 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. 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. Wilkins scored at least 10 in three of six games played this season, scoring 12 and 13 in the SMU Classic, and is second on the team with 9.5 points per game. Baker scored 12 points against Texas Southern, and added 12 at TCU, making four 3-point shots.
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.
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 has 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. This season, SMU is 6-1 in Moody.
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.