Mustangs Travel To North Texas Saturday For Final Non-Conference Game

Go smu!
Go smu!

Go smu!

Dec. 19, 2013

 SMU (8-2) at North Texas (5-5)
 Date & Tip Time  Saturday, Dec. 21 at 12 p.m.
 Location  The Super Pit - Denton, Texas
 Live Video  All-Access
 Radio KAAM 770 AM - Dallas
 Live Stats  Gametracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (.pdf)
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 Twitter  @SMUMustangs   |   @SMUBasketballW
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The Last Meeting
North Texas63
November 15, 2012
Moody Coliseum
Filmore's Late Free Throws Lift Mustangs To 67-63 Victory Over North Texas
DALLAS (SMU) - Senior Alisha Filmore made six free throws in the final 1:09 to finish with 16 points and lead SMU to a 67-63 win over North Texas Thursday night in Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs scored 18 points in the last 5:09 to outlast North Texas and improve to 3-0 on the season, while the Mean Green fell to 0-2.

SMU plays its final non-conference game of the regular season Saturday on the road against North Texas at 12 p.m. The Mustangs are 8-2 overall, led by the American Athletic Conference's leading scorer in senior guard Keena Mays, who is averaging 19.8 points per game. The Mean Green is 5-5, after losing three of its last five, but North Texas is returning home after four straight road games.

The Mean Green enters the contest with a 5-5 record, winning three of its five home games. One of the home losses was a two-point overtime defeat to Grand Canyon before four straight on the road prior to Saturday's matchup with SMU. Briesha Wynn leads the team with 11.3 points per game, and is second on the team averaging 6.3 rebounds. As a team, North Texas is scoring 67.6 points per game, while opponents are averaging 66.8, a number that is skewed slightly due to a 95-47 loss at Oklahoma State.

Series History: The Mustangs are 28-16 all-time against North Texas, and have won nine of the last 11. The Mean Green snapped a string of five straight SMU victories with a 50-46 win on Nov. 22, 2011, the last time the two teams met in Denton. SMU won 67-63 last season, prior to Keena Mays gaining eligibility.

Keena Mays scored a career-high 34 points, but it wasn't enough as SMU fell 76-71 at UTEP Saturday. The senior went 10 for 21 from the field and 12 for 16 at the free throw line. With the loss, SMU fell to 8-2, while the Miners remained perfect, improving to 8-0. Akil Simpson recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for the Mustangs, but the Miners had three players in double figures. Kayla Thornton led UTEP with 21 points, and Jenzel Nash scored 19. Mays also had seven rebounds and five assists in the loss. UTEP led by seven at halftime, and stretched the lead to as many as 15 points over the early part of the second half, 47-32 with 15:29 on the clock. The Mustangs scored the next 10 points, cutting the lead to five, 47-42 with 12:32 to go in the game. Korina Baker hit a 3 with 8:09 to go, cutting the lead to three, 54-51, and then a Mays 3 cut the lead to two, 56-54 with 7:28 remaining. The Miners made 10 of 14 free throws in the last 1:27 to maintain the lead.

SMU begins play in the American Athletic Conference at No. 7 Louisville Dec. 29 on ESPNU at 2 p.m. CT. The Cardinals are 10-1 overall, with the lone loss coming at then-ranked No. 7 Kentucky, and host Colorado Saturday before the start of conference play. Schoni Schimmel leads the defending national runner-up with 14.9 points per game, and Louisville has scored at least 100 points in four of its games. As a team, the Cardinals are out-rebounding opponents 48-35, and shooting 51.0 percent from the field.

Series History: SMU beat Louisville 71-54 on Nov. 29, 1996 in Boulder, Colo., in the only meeting between the two programs.

With one game left before the start of conference play, Keena Mays leads the American Athletic Conference with 19.8 points per game, and is the only player in the conference with multiple Player of the Week awards, earning her third on Dec. 9 after scoring a career-high 34 points in a five-point loss at UTEP. She has eclipsed 20 five times this season, and also ranks among the league's leaders in assists (4th-4.8/game), steals (10th-1.7/game), and three-point percentage (12th-35.4 percent).

Akil Simpson is one of two Mustangs with at least 10 points nine of the first 10 games, including a season-high 20 at SFA. The senior posted her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds at UTEP, and has 20 during her career, recording nine as a sophomore. She scored 11 points against No. 3/4 Tennessee. Simpson leads the team, is eighth in the conference and ranks 44th in the NCAA, shooting 56.4 percent from the field. She is averaging 13.7 points with 8.4 rebounds, ranking sixth in the conference.

Akil Simpson is just 52 points shy of becoming the 21st player to record 1,000 points as a Mustang. Simpson is currently averaging 13.7 points per contest, meaning she is on pace to break the 1,000-point barrier in four games, which would be Jan. 4 against USF in the Moody Coliseum opener. Simpson would be the first Mustang to reach the 1,000 point club since Alisha Filmore did so last season. Keena Mays is also close, with 953 total points including her time at Kansas. Mays is averaging 19.8 points per outing this season, and would nearly reach 1,000 points in just her SMU career if she keeps at that pace. She has scored 622 points in 33 games at SMU.

Six different Mustangs have scored at least 10 points in a game this season, with Keena Mays (22, 25, 15, 10, 26, 22, 15, 12, 17, 34) reaching double figures in all 10 games. Akil Simpson (15, 11, 16, 15, 20, 11, 11, 14, 17) finished with seven against Kansas State for her only game below double digits, and Destynee Hives-McCray has finished with at least 10 six times. Gabrielle Wilkins has reached double digits four times, and freshman Kiara Perry scored 10 three times. Mallory Singleton became the sixth player with a 10-point game, scoring 10 against Mississippi Valley State.

The Mustangs have forced 179 turnovers on the season, and are averaging 20.2 points off turnovers per game. SMU ranks fourth in the conference with a +3.3 turnover margin. The Mustangs are also out-rebounding opponents 451-407, and opponents have only grabbed 133 offensive boards. The Mustangs are averaging nearly four more second-chance points per game than their opponents, and have won the rebounding battle seven times, all wins. SMU has a +4.4 rebounding margin average per game.

The Mustangs have recorded 180 assists on 267 field goals this season, and have a 1.2 assist/turnover margin. Keena Mays leads the team with 48 assists, including a season-high eight at Eastern Washington and again at SFA, and ranks fourth in the league with 4.8 per game. Korina Baker has 37 assists, and freshman Kiara Perry has 20. Forward Mallory Singleton took her season total to 20 with a career-high seven against Southeastern Louisiana.

Destynee Hives-McCray is third on the team with 11.0 points per game, and the post player is second with 7.0 rebounds per game. She is one of just two Mustangs shooting at least 50 percent with more than 20 attemps, hitting 53.8 percent from the field. She has reached double figures six times this season, and has two double-doubles. She has also grabbed at least 10 rebounds in three games.

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.

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.

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.