Dec. 26, 2012
SMU TRAVELS FOR SURF 'N SLAM CLASSIC
Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: San Diego, Calif. (Viejas Arena)
Live stats and video available on SMUMustangs.com
The Mustangs leave the DFW-Metroplex for the first time all season to compete in the Surf 'N Slam Classic at San Diego State University Dec. 28 and 30. The Mustangs take on the Aztecs in the first round at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, and will face either No. 15 Oklahoma State or Harvard on Sunday.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
SAN DIEGO STATE: The Mustangs will take on the hosting San Diego State Aztecs in the first round of the Surf 'N Slam Classic on Dec. 28 in San Diego, Calif. The Aztecs have won three of their last four to improve to 7-3 on the season. Courtney Clements leads the team, averaging 19.4 points per game, and Chelsea Hopkins is scoring 11.2 points per contest. The Aztecs are out-scoring opponents 67.1-52.9, shooting 42.1 percent from the field.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 4-0 all-time against the Aztecs. The two teams first met as Western Athletic Conference opponents on Jan. 17, 1998. SMU won 71-62 in Dallas. Later that season, the Mustangs won 71-62 in San Diego. SMU also took a 64-55 win on the road in December 2003, and won the last meeting 80-36 on Dec. 22, 2004.
FIRST MEETING BETWEEN VETERANS
Head coach Rhonda Rompola is in her 22nd season at SMU and has a 4-0 record against San Diego State. However, Rompola and Beth Burns, who is in the eighth year of her second stint as head coach of the Aztecs and 16th overall at SDSU, are opposing each other for the first time. Burns left SDSU for Ohio State prior to the 1997-98 season, prior to the first meeting that season, and returned for the 2005-06 season, immediately following the last meeting the season before. Burns is in her 21st season overall, while Rompola is in her 22nd.
UP NEXT - NO. 15 OKLAHOMA STATE/HARVARD
The Mustangs will face either No. 15 Oklahoma State or Harvard in the second round of the Surf 'N Slam Classic on Dec. 30. The Cowgirls are 9-0 on the season, and Toni Young leads four players averaging at least 10 points with 17.6 per game and grabs 9.2 rebounds per contest. OSU is out-scoring opponents 88.9-50.0. Harvard is 7-3 on the season, and Christine Clark leads three players averaging double figures with 16.6 points per game. Harvard is scoring 68.3 points per game, while allowing 63.3.
SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 1-2 all-time against the Cowgirls, beating Oklahoma State 71-56 in the championship game of the Cotton Bowl Basketball Classic in Dallas on Dec. 6, 1997. The first meeting was on Dec. 6, 1985 when the Cowgirls won 75-64 in the first round of the Ladyjack Classic. The two teams haven't faced each other since OSU won 64-57 at home in the opener of the 1998-99 season. This would be the first matchup between SMU and Harvard.
LAST TIME OUT - WICHITA STATE
Michelle Price got past the SMU defense to hit a layup with 10 seconds left in the game to put Wichita State up 61-59, ending SMU's win streak at three games Saturday afternoon in Moody Coliseum. Destynee Hives-McCray had a chance to tie the game with 3.5 seconds left, but her shot on the front end of a one-and-one bounced off the rim. Akil Simpson tried to tip in the rebound, but couldn't get it to go. Simpson finished with her 12 career double-double and second of the season with 13 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Keena Mays had 16 points, scoring in double figures for the third time in as many games, matching Wichita State's Jessica Diamond for the game high. Alisha Filmore added 11 points and matched her career high with eight rebounds for the Mustangs (8-3).
WORTH THE WAIT
Keena Mays had 33 points agaisnt Stephen F. Austin, tied for ninth in a game at SMU and the most by a Mustang since D-dra Rucker scored 33 points at Fresno State on Jan. 28, 2001. The stellar performance also made her the first player at SMU to score at least 20 in back-to-back games since Delisha Wills scored 22 and 20 in consecutive games in December 2010. In her first game since transferring to SMU from Kansas in Jan. 2012, she scored 23 points with 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks. It was the second double-double of her career after scoring 12 points with 10 assists against Michigan as a freshman. Her previous career-high in points was 21 against Alabama on Dec. 4, 2011. She has scored at least 10 points 15 times in 44 games.
Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in nine games this season, with a season-high 20 in the win over Montana State. She is 15th in C-USA, averaging 12.0 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 averaging 6.2 points per game. She has scored at least 10 points in three games, scoring 11 points in her debut against North Texas. She finished with 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 12th in C-USA and in the top 50 in the NCAA with 2.2 steals per game.
DOMINANT OUTSIDE THE ARC
The Mustangs lead Conference USA, shooting 34.2 percent from the perimeter, making 50 of 146 3-point attempts. Kristin Askew is shooting a league-high 50.0 percent, going 8-of-16 from behind the arc. Mays is shooting 43.5 percent from the perimeter, making 10 of 23 in three games. Korina Baker is sixth in C-USA, going 13-of-35 from distance, 37.1 percent. SMU is third in C-USA and in the top 25 in the country in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 24.8 percent behind the arc.
RUNNING THE POINT
Korina Baker has a team-high 44 assists and is fifth in the league with 4.0 per game. She handed out a career-high nine assists against Montana State, and has had at least five in three of the last four games. She has also scored a career-high 12 points twice.
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 is in her 18th season with the Mustangs. 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 career.
ROMPOLA CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE
SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has won 388 games during her career at SMU. With 12 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
When the latest NCAA stat rankings were released last Monday, the Mustangs were 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
Nine Mustangs have scored in double-figures 32 times this season, including two freshmen and transfers Korina Baker and Keena Mays. 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 games this season, scoring 12 and 13 in the SMU Classic. Baker scored 12 points against Texas Southern, and added 12 at TCU, making four 3-point shots. Keena Mays scored 23 in her SMU debut against Louisiana-Monroe, and finished with 33 against Stephen F. Austin. She had a game-high for the third straight time with 16 against Wichita State.
ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM
Akil Simpson was named to the All-C-USA Second Team after finishing the regular season with 10.6 points per game, and tied for ninth in the league with 7.3 rebounds. She had seven double-doubles in the regular season and scored at least 20 points three times, with a career-high 25 points at Tulane. She grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds against Houston. Simpson was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2011. She was named to the C-USA All-Preseason Team this year.
Keena Mays and Destynee Hives-McCray became the first tandem to post a double-double in the same game since Janielle Dodds and Sharee Shepherd accomplished the feat against UAB on Feb. 17, 2008. Mays had 23 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, in her SMU debut, while Hives-McCray scored 11 points with 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
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.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Keena Mays was named Conference USA Player of the Week after averaging 24.0 points in three games, including a 33-point performance against Stephen F. Austin in her second game in over a year after transferring to SMU from Kansas, conference officials announced Sunday. Mays led the Mustangs to a 2-1 record for the week, improving to 8-3 overall, and scored a game-high 16 points in a two-point loss to Wichita State, reaching double figures in all three games. She shot 48.2 percent from the field, making 27 of 56 attempts, including 10 of 23 from 3-point range.