Mustangs, 5-0 In C-USA, Host Houston Thursday

Jan. 29, 2013

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Radio: KAAM 770AM Ray Canevari (Play-by-Play)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)
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SMU, the last undefeated team in Conference USA at 5-0, puts its six game win streak on the line against Houston (9-9, 3-2 C-USA), holding a one-game lead over UTEP and UAB, SMU's next two opponents. The Mustangs will play at UTEP (16-2, 4-1 C-USA) Sunday at 2 p.m. CT, before returning to Moody Coliseum for a matchup against UAB (13-5, 4-1 C-USA) in Moody Coliseum at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7.

SMU: Keena Mays leads the team in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game, and has scored a team high in eight of 10 games, including her 12-point performance at Tulsa. The Mustangs are second in the league, scoring 69.3 points per game, and lead C-USA in conference games, scoring 70.8. SMU is also shooting a league-high 37.7 percent on 3-point attempts, eighth in NCAA.

HOUSTON: The Cougars are 9-9 overall after winning four of their last six, and are 3-2 in C-USA. Porsche Landry leads the team with 17.2 points per game, and Marissa Ashton scores 9.3. Houston is scoring 66.8 points per game overall, and are second behind SMU averaging 65.8 points in conference game. Opponents are averaging 65.6.

SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 18-28 all-time against the Cougars, but swept the season series last year. SMU gots its first win against the Cougars during the 1991-92 season, Rompola's first as head coach, and the Mustangs are 18-9 during her tenure. The first game between the two schools took place on Jan. 13, 1981 with Houston taking a 77-71 win in Dallas.

The Miners are the league's top-rated team in the RPI at 52 with a 16-2 record, 4-1 in C-USA. Kayla Thornton leads the team with 15.1 points per game, connecting on 31.4 percent of 3-point attempts, and Anete Steinberga averages 14.1 points at the post position. Kelli Willingham is the team's sharpshooter, connecting on 34 of 90 3-point attempts. As a team, UTEP scores 68.2 points per game, while holding opponents to 55.9.

SERIES HISTORY: The Mustangs are 22-10 against the Miners overall, but after winning six of seven, SMU has dropped the last three. The Mustangs swept the season series in 2010-11 before falling to UTEP in the conference tournament in El Paso. SMU won the first meeting between the two schools 69-63 in Dallas on Jan. 10, 1997, starting a string of eight straight wins for the Mustangs.

SMU out-scored Tulsa 44-27 in the second half to stretch the win streak to six, improving to 5-0 in Conference USA and 14-4 overall, with a 71-46 win over the Golden Hurricane (7-12, 2-4 C-USA) on the road in the Reynolds Center Sunday. Keena Mays led four Mustangs in double figures with 12 points, and had five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes. Lexus Williams scored 10 points, reaching double digits for the first time in her career. Akil Simpson finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Destynee Hives-McCray added 10. Leading 27-19 at halftime, the Mustangs went on a 25-4 run over the first 7:30 of the second half to stretch the lead to 52-23 and the rout was on. SMU pushed the lead to as many as 33, 65-32 with 5:37 left, and the Golden Hurricane weren't within 20 points for the last 15 minutes of the game. After scoring nine points in the first half for Tulsa, Taleya Mayberry was held scoreless in the second half.

Junior transfer Keena Mays has established herself as a candidate for Conference USA Player of the Year after scoring at least 20 points in six of her first 10 games at SMU, including a career-high 33 points against Stephen F. Austin. She is averaging 20.3 points per game, which would rank first in the conference and tied for 16th in the NCAA if she met the 75 percent of the team's games minimum. Her 3-point percentage, 44.8, would also lead the conference and rank tied for seventh nationally.

In conference games, the Mustangs are scoring more points, 70.8, than any team in the league, and SMU is second in C-USA overall, averaging 69.2 points per game. Four of SMU's five starters average nine points or more, led by Keena Mays with 16.0 per game. Alisha Filmore is averaging 10.2, and Destynee Hives-McCray and Akil Simpson each score 9.8 per game.

Senior Alisha Filmore has scored at least 10 points in 14 games this season, including six of the last eight, with a season-high 22 in the win over Harvard. She is 15th in C-USA, averaging 11.9 points per game and is tied for ninth in the league shooting 33.3 percent from 3-point range. She has 896 points in her career, needing to maintain an average of 10 points per game to become the 20th player in program history with 1,000 career points.

SMU is 45th in the country, averaging 11.3 steals per game, and is 25th in the NCAA in turnover margin, forcing opponents into 5.11 more turnovers per game. Korina Baker lead the team with 38 steals, 12th in C-USA with 2.1 per game, and Alisha Filmore has 36 steals. Baker is also 89th in the NCAA in assists/turnover ratio, and freshman Gabrielle Wilkins has 29 steals on the season, including a C-USA record-tying 10 against SIU-Edwardsville.

Korina Baker has a team-high 66 assists and is tied for eighth in the league with 3.7 per game. She handed out a career-high nine assists against Montana State, and has had at least four eight times. She also scored a career-high 17 points against UCF, and has reached double figures four times this season, averaging 6.5 points per game.

The Mustangs lead Conference USA and are eighth in the NCAA, shooting 37.7 percent from the perimeter, making 95 of 252 3-point attempts. Korina Baker leads C-USA, going 24-for-56 from distance, 42.9 percent. Keena Mays, who doesn't meet the minimums for rankings, is shooting 44.8 percent, which would lead the conference and tie for seventh nationally. Mays has made 30 of 67 attempts in 10 games, including a career-high six against Rice. SMU is second in C-USA and 24th in NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 25.9 percent.

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 C-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.

SMU head coach Rhonda Rompola has won 394 games during her career at SMU. With six more wins, 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.

The Mustangs scored 88 points against Harvard, the most since Dec. 28, 2008 when they scored 92 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and have scored at least 70 in 11 games, including 10 of the last 13, after reaching 70 just four times last season. SMU had two players eclipse 20 points in consecutive games, and the Mustangs are averaging 69.3 points per game, nearly 10 points more than last year. Keena Mays is leading the league with 20.3 points per game, and Alisha Filmore is scoring 11.9 per game. Akil Simpson is averaging 9.9 per game, and the trio has each had at least 20 points in a game. Sophomore Destynee Hives-McCray became the fourth Mustangs to eclipse 20, scoring a career-high 22 at Southern Miss.

After scoring just 25 points in the first five games, Akil Simpson has scored at least 10 points nine times this season, including six of the last nine games with a season-high 20 points at San Diego State. The junior is sixth in Conference USA, shooting 46.2 percent from the field, and leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per game, 11th in C-USA. She posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Rice.

SMU's three starting guards each have at least 20 3-point field goals, led by Keena Mays, shooting what would be a league-high 44.8 percent, 30-of-67. Korina Baker leads the conference shooting 42.9 percent from behind the arc, after going 10-of-16 in the last four games, and is shooting 61.1 percent in C-USA games. Senior Alisha Filmore has made 23 3-pointers, tied for ninth in the league at 33.3 percent from behind the arc. As a team, the Mustangs have made at least five in 12 games, including six of the last seven. SMU made a season-high 10 in 16 attempts at TCU and hit 10 of 20 against Rice.

In two games at the Surf 'N Slam Classic in San Diego, Keena Mays teamed with Akil Simpson and then Alisha Filmore to give SMU two players with at least 20 points. Mays scored 26 at San Diego State and Simpson finished with 20. In SMU's win over Harvard, Mays scored 25 and Filmore added 22.

Out of 343 NCAA Division I women's basketball teams, SMU is ranked in the top 55 in 10 categories. The Mustangs are eighth in the country in 3-point field goal percentage, 37.7, and 24th in 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 25.9 percent. Winning 77.8 percent of games, the Mustangs are 39th in the country in win-lost percentage.

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.

Destynee Hives-McCray scored a career-high 22 points in SMU's 79-69 win at Southern Miss, and has reached double figures in eight games this season, including three of the last four games. She also grabbed 10 rebounds at USM for her fourth double-double of the season. The forward is averaging 8.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

SMU has earned 10 of its 14 wins by at least 10 points, including five by more than 20. The Mustangs are second in C-USA and 46th in the NCAA in scoring margin, out-scoring opponents by an average of 11.1 points per game. SMU leads the league, out-scoring conference opponents by 15.6 points. The Mustangs doubled up UT-Pam Am, 71-35, for the largest margin of victory, 36, since beating Memphis 93-49 on Feb. 14 2008.



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