Tiger Blogs :: Women's Basketball
November 24, 2009 -- Senior guard LaToya Bullard
Blog Entry #60
The Tiger's women's basketball team is off to a good start for this upcoming year. Practices are going really well as our games in an effort for a winning season in 2009-10. We are extremely excited to prove a point to everyone who doubts how great out team can be. Our goal this year is to become "the Class of Conference USA," both on and off the court. What this means is we will be the best in the classroom, on the basketball court, and in our daily lives. This is something that not only the coaches want but something the players are striving for as well.
What is even more exciting about the 2009-10 edition of the Tigers' basketball team is the local flavor of the roster. With four players hailing from the state of TN and three of them from Memphis, there are some names on the roster that local fans should start to recognize. Freshman Nicole Dickson is the lone TN native not from Memphis, hailing from Greeneville, TN in the Knoxville area. Mary Jackson, Starkitsha Higgins, and myself (LaToya Bullard) are the local Memphians that will be suiting up for the blue and grey. Hopefully this will bring in more Memphis fans and give local players an idea of the benefits of staying home and playing for the hometown school in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse and FedExForum.
Mary is really excited about being a Tiger. Although she has to sit out this year as a transfer, she plans to push her fellow guards in practice to every day. She is an explosive guard that has the ability to penetrate and shoot. She is also a very aggressive defender (I know this firsthand because she tries to lock me up on defense almost every day)!
Star stands about 6'2 and is a really aggressive post player. Her strength is posting up under the basket, but she passes the basketball like a guard. She is working hard to learn our system and get in shape and hopefully, as the season progresses, so with her contributions to the team.
Lastly, there is myself, LaToya Bullard. Healthy at last, I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to playing for the 2009-10 University of Memphis Tigers. It has been a long and difficult road since I played at Craigmont High School way back in 2005. After transferring from Florida and having back surgery last season, the journey has been bumpy. So needless to say, I am soooooo ready to go this year!!! I am ready to contribute to this year's addition of the Memphis Tigers and bring the success to the program I grew up following as a child!! It will be even more enjoyable with the Memphis feel to our roster as Star and Mary are players that I grew up playing with.
The goals and expectations of this team are lofty as our coaches have us aiming high. We are very confident the Tigers will definitely be more aggressive, explosive and winners in the upcoming 2009-10 season. Come out and support us. It's all about the STRE=AK. (That is our team theme, it's a secret).
November 14, 2009 -- Junior center Taylor Mumphrey
Blog Entry #59
Hey Tiger Fans!!! I'm Taylor Mumphrey and this week you're going to find out a little about me and a typical day for me as a Tiger!!! If you didn't recognize me by my name, but you were at the exhibition game Sunday, I'm the long , "lanky" post player #20.
Before I give a run through of a normal day for me, I'll like to share a little background about myself. I'm originally from Dallas, Texas, but I live in Cedar Hill, which is a suburb of Dallas. I graduated from Cedar Hill High School and from there I continued playing basketball at Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma. Yes, I know you never heard of it and honestly it's in the middle of nowhere. But I'm proud to say I kind of miss that little town. Now of' course I'm here at the University of Memphis and ready to take on a new challenge.
Alright, now for the good stuff. I'm sure many wonder how in the world do athletes find the time to compete and go to school all at the same time. To be honest I have the slightest idea, we just do it. Basically, it all comes down to managing your time wisely. You really do have enough time to do what you NEED to do but maybe not what you WANT to do. Example, time is put aside for us to go to study hall and get our work done we NEED for our classes, and if we NEED extra help tutors are provided. However, WANTING to go out on the weekends and stay up all night during the week hanging out is something you must say goodbye to when basketball season starts, because believe me, you're going to NEED your rest.
So here's a typical day for me. Lets say its Tuesday. I have two classes-- first one at 9:40am, so I leave the house about 9:15am since it takes about 15mins to get there walking. That class is over at 11:05 and then my next one starts at 11:20am and ends at 12:45pm. After class, I make a trip to Wilder Tower and say hey to Kristen our Academic Advisor. Then, from there, I go and get a bite to eat before practice, which normally starts at 3pm on Tuesdays. After grabbing a bite to eat it's about 1:30pm and I head to the gym and chill until it's time to be on the court. Practice comes and goes, and then we head to the weight room. So I'll say from 3pm to about 6:15pm is all basketball. After practice, I shower (which is very convenient since I have to go to study hall at 7pm) and then eat Training Table (dinner) with the team. After I leave the gym, I head to Wilder Tower where I will have study hall from 7pm to 9pm. From 8pm to 9pm I'll have a Spanish tutor, which is very useful. Finally, I've reached the end of the day at about 9:20pm I'm back in my room in my bed.
Doesn't sound like too much, but believe me, it is and at times very hard. My Wednesdays are just like Tuesdays but instead of class being at 9:40am they start at 8am. Oh well, like coach says "What we do is not easy. It's HARD. It's Suppose to be HARD. If it were easy everybody would so it". So yeah that's a typical day for me, not too much to handle, right?
November 9, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #58
Good afternoon Tiger fans,
Well, we all got to see the Tigers in action yesterday in the exhibition game at the Fieldhouse, and while the final score wasn't pointing the right way at the end, I thought we saw a lot of good things out there.
I doubt we'll see another team like the Houston Jaguars squad all season. A majority of those were all-conference players at the NCAA Division I level and you seldom play a team of that many all-conference honorees all at once! I thought the opening half was great, it was good to see Savannah Ellis start off with two good moves to score in the paint early, and Brittany Carter proved she can create some good looks for herself. I was impressed with Chatia Kelsey too....with her and AQ playing defense, I think opposing guards in the league just became a little more agitated!
Just to answer a couple of questions that I've gotten in the last couple of hours. No, Mary Jackson and Jasmine Lee did not play Sunday afternoon because both just transferred to Memphis and have to sit out this entire season per NCAA transfer rules. Freshman Nicole Dickson could be back in the line-up on Friday night. She suffered a concussion at the UALR scrimmage and had to be held out and will have to be cleared by our team doctors before she can suit up again. LaToya Bullard also suffered a scare after taking a knee to the head in practice, so she played more limited minutes yesterday with an eye to toward making sure she was healthy enough to go for the opener Friday night. Remember, both LaToya Bullard, Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins, Chatia Kelsey and Christine Lesane missed parts of pre-season due to injuries and are still having to work their way in to game shape...patience Tiger fans...it will all be fine! Well all have the players' health and best interests in mind, so you'll have to give us the benefit of the doubt some days.
November 3, 2009 -- Freshman guard Chatia Kelsey
Blog Entry #57
I am Chatia Kelsey, one of many new freshmen on the team this year. I'm from Huntsville, Alabama and I am very excited to be part of the University of Memphis Women's Basketball team this year and for the coming years. This past weekend, we had a scrimmage against UALR and it was pretty intense. That was my first experience on the college level, and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous going in. After a while, I got use to it and tried to play my game and help my team out in any way possible.
We played two 20 minute halves and two 10 minute quarters, and I found myself to be exhausted, but the experience was fun. I was just so happy to play against an opponent other than my teammates at practice. The team is looking good this year, although we have a lot to work on. After only seeing some of my teammates in practice, it was great to see them pick it up a notch. You can tell some of the returners and upperclassmen learned a lot during their first season under Coach McFerrin. Brittany Carter, Ramses "AQ" Lonlack, Savannah Ellis, and Alex Winchell all played really well.
I am excited to see what the year will bring. I can't believe that the season is about to start. I have a feeling this is going to be a great season.
Hope to see you this Sunday, November 8 at 2 pm for our exhibition game against the Houston Jaguars!
October 30, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #56
Hello Tiger fans!
Less than a week to go until our exhibition game...which means I'm scrambling to work on fun stuff like the game insert, credentials, parking, staffing, timing sheets, etc!
The team participated in a closed scrimmage at UALR on Saturday. This is the fourth straight season the two teams have done a closed scrimmage, which allows both coaches to go in to the session with a list of particular looks they want to work against and makes sure the team isn't cheating the drill (as a Tiger, you know the play the offense is running in practice, so sometimes players cheat the drill, you can't do that against another team when you don't know their plays). The thing with a closed scrimmage is as a media person, I am not allowed to cover it, or report on it, so short of saying we had a closed scrimmage, that's about all I've got.
Coach McFerrin will tape her second video coaches show tomorrow (Tuesday), so watch for that on our website tomorrow afternoon at www.gotigersgo.com on the women's basketball home page. Maybe Jeff Brightwell will ask coach for some general stuff about the scrimmage there. And freshman guard Chatia Kelsey will be our next player blog according to Coach Wholey, so maybe Chatia will talk about it in her blog as well.
October 30, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #55
Good afternoon from a wet Memphis!
Here's a quick bulletin with some breaking news. The Tigers will have two games televised this season. The contracts aren't all finalized for the entire league, but the two dates we have heard are the Jan. 17th game at Southern Miss and the February 27th game against East Carolina at FedExForum. Both game times will be tweaked for the live TV broadcasts on CBS College Sports. The USM game is being pushed back to 4 p.m., while the ECU game moves up to 1 p.m.
Have a good weekend and Go Tigers!
October 28, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #54
Morning Tiger fans,
I mentioned the exhibition game roster at the end of my last post, and what an exhibition roster it is. Lots of players Memphis fans will remember, including two former Tigers, Melissa Abraham and Charity Egenti. Both are playing for an exhibition team called the Houston Jaguars that the Tigers will face on Nov. 8th at 2 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Abraham lettered for Memphis from 1998-2002 and ranks in the career top 10 in rebounds (685) and blocks (101).
There are a lot of familiar C-USA faces on the Jaguars squad as well. Marshall's Siketha Sheppard and four former Houston players highlight the roster (Chandi Jones, Sha'Ratta Hawkins, Tye Jackson and Sunshine Misa-Uli). Chandi Jones you might remember as the player who broke Tamika Whitmore's C-USA career scoring record, scoring 2,692 points for the Cougars from 2000-2004. Tye Jackson and Sha'Ratta Hawkins are two players we've seen recently with the Cougars and who will not be intimidated by the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, as they've played there in the recent past.
There are also some PAC10 players on the Jaguars roster (Reshea Bristol from Arizona and Tierre Henderson from UCLA), as well as Shanta Perry (McNeese State), Chelsea Grear (New Mexico), Aimee Michelson (Emporia State), Cindee Wright (Houston Baptist), Don'nisha Tate (Mississippi State) and a pair of Stephen F. Austin grads (Lashinda Winters and Charity Egenti)...a lot of women's basketball talent in the Houston, Texas area apparently. So even though it's an exhibition game, make sure to mark your calendars for Nov. 8th at 2 p.m. The Tigers want to see you in the stands. Season tickets are available for as low as $50, which includes our three announced FedExForum games in the lower bowl.
October 26, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #53
Hey Tiger Fans, I got a little off schedule with blog entries last week, sorry. I was busy finishing up the media guide, which is now being printed. Yeah!
As I was working on the year in review section of the media guide, I remembered some funny/interesting (to me anyways) `behind the scenes' moments and wondered if I could come up with a top 10 list of `Behind the Scenes' moments from my time with women's basketball. Here's what I got.
1. Ramses Lonlack after the Rice game - For the record, AQ was 3-for-15 from the floor, but walking from the locker room to post game radio, she told me she was really upset with herself because she missed 100 layups. Luckily, she was a big enough pain on defense against the Owls, that the Tigers still left the gym with a road win, but hearing her right after the game saying she missed 100 layups and the way she said it, you have to know AQ, but it made me smile.
2. Bahamas Opening Game - The opening game at the Bahamas tournament had not gone well. Typically, I wait in the hall 10 minutes before stepping in to the locker room to try to get coach ready to go to radio. I waited a bit because it was a pretty tough loss, and when I did finally go in to the locker room, coach was having a serious talk with the team (not yelling, just talking) about what we had to do to snap our losing streak. Not to say it took a long time, but when we walked out, the folks working the tournament (scoreboard operator, shot clock operator and tournament manager) had already left the building. We were the last ones out of the building that day...The talk worked though, we won the next game against Winthrop. Needless to say, not only did coach not make it to radio, I think Jeff Brightwell might have had all his equipment packed by the time we got out there.
3. Paris' 1,000th point - In my game notes, one of the things I track are career records. The weekend of the Thanksgiving tournament, I usually just do notes on the first day of the tournament because hosting on a holiday takes a lot of time getting it staffed and ready. Well, Paris snuck closer to the 1,000 point mark than I had realized and it wasn't until our student assistant, Preston McClellan, mentioned to me as the game was going that Paris was single-digit points away from 1,000. I snuck to the bench and told Tony Martin (our former Director of Basketball Operations) and I can't quite describe the look he gave me...kind of a `we have one game left in this tournament and NOW you realize" look. He and I quickly pulled a plan together for her 1,000th point announcement, which we never needed because she was named to the all-tournament team and was named tournament MVP, so we got to just sort of tack that announcement on to the post-game ceremony. Whew! Another Paris experience was Senior Night. I get the families' names for the script and I look down and see 2 names for Paris and 4 people standing there with her. Yet another sprint across the gym and yet another time poor Chuck Roberts had to try to read my handwriting instead of the typed script.
4. At Marshall - Technology might be the bane of my existence. In a televised game at Marshall, I thought we were all good when Jeff Brightwell texted me from across the gym to say no one was answering back at the radio station and we were not getting on the air. To make a long story short, if no one is at the station, it affects not only our radio broadcast in Memphis, but our internet broadcast as well, since they call the station and grab the feed from them. The game started and I was trying to keep the book, take notes for the post-game stuff, trying to call anyone back in Memphis and trying to contact our tech support people to see if we could get online any other way. About the time we got Brightwell on the internet through other means, the Thundering Herd started to come back. I think we'll blame that loss on him :0).
5. At Marshall, Part II - I'm not going to name names, but we had a player get a technical foul at Marshall and Coach McFerrin tried to explain to the officials that the player who was whistled for the foul spoke other languages and that was what the official probably heard. Nice try, but the technical stuck. Funny stuff sitting next to the bench sometimes.
6. At Tulane - Two years ago...We had beaten Tulane in New Orleans and LaToya Bullard went to post game radio. If you haven't been in Fogelman, it's a lot like the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, except the fan seating starts right on floor level behind the press row table. There was a fan there that, despite the loss, felt like heckling a Memphis player I guess, and he tried to give LaToya a hard time. She just nodded and pointed to the scoreboard and did her radio interview. There's just some stuff you can't practice in interviews to get players ready for that moment, and she got the last word in without a word. She said afterwards she was more nervous about the radio interview because she had never done live radio before.
7. Win at Tennessee Tech - OK, I've been on both sides of those last minute wins/losses and I know the losses side sucks (for lack of more eloquent terminology). But at Tennessee Tech, Alex Winchell (who I was pretty sure would not play judging by how sick she was on the bus on the way to the game) hit five threes to bring Memphis back as the game wound down (we had trailed pretty much the entire night). Tehani Goldsmith then drove the lane and the officials called a defensive foul, sending Tehani to the line. Tehani had mentioned to coach before that she wasn't too comfortable in those situations after being in the same spot against Winthrop and not shooting well from the line. But against Tennessee Tech, she hit her free-throws, putting Memphis ahead by two at 63-61. Tech got the ball back and launched a three from half court and I remember watching our teams bodies lean to the left (they were walking toward center court to shake hands) as the ball sailed to the goal. Luckily for us, it missed, but I felt for Tennessee Tech. They had a great look at the basket and had led most of the game and in their eyes, lost on a last second foul and pair of free-throws...I've been there, those are tough nights for everyone, but it was sure nice to be on the other side of one for once. It was almost a repeat of Alex Winchell's first game at Memphis. We had come back and Alex launched a three from about three steps ahead of where TTU's shot got off and it rimmed out.
8. Random SID experiences - I've been in C-USA for 10 seasons now and I've heard some interesting things from fellow `behind-the-sceners'. Here are 3 examples:
a. This was a few years back, but a team had come back and beat us at home and their SID looked right at me and said "Man, I could use some more of that." OK, they weren't winning much either then, but come on.
b. We had beat a team on the road and they obviously considered it an upset because their SID was walking to the floor with me and said "Now what am I supposed to write about that." I had no recommendations.
c. Pregame. Host SID comes over and we are talking about our respective team's seasons. This SID tells me, well, I figure we'll beat you because we're playing at home...I just sat there wondering if there is a sign on my forehead that says Confessional Here....oh, and we won.
9. Any restaurant while we're on the road - There is nothing funnier than walking in to a restaurant or hotel and watching folks there trying to figure out who we are. I bet every player on our team is asked "volleyball or basketball" at least once a season, whether we are in an elevator, waiting at a restaurant or at the airport. For the record 1) No, I'm not a coach, 2) We are a basketball team, 3) Yes, we're NCAA Division I and 4) No, we don't play Memphis State, because that's us!
10. Memphis Airport - Paris Leonard's moment of fame. I'm going through the security line behind Paris and I heard the gentleman checking IDs say Paris Leonard, hey I hear your name all time on the radio commercials. We don't get recognized as much as our men's team probably does when we're traveling, so it was fun to see the tide start to change out there.
Thirteen more days until our exhibition game. Looks like Coach Schneider just emailed me a Houston Jaguars roster, so I guess it's time to develop this season's flip card!
October 22, 2009 -- Freshman forward Nicole Dickson
Player Blog #6
Hey Tiger Fans! I'm Nicole Dickson, a freshman, one of the many newcomers on our team this season. I am from Greeneville, Tennessee, and am very excited to be here.
We each got called out individually and then Coach came out and gave the crowd a few words. We all have high expectations for this year, so she wanted all the fans to know about the expectations. We did a few drills in front of everyone so they could see what is going to be for show this year.
On Saturday we started two-a-days. The two a day practices were intense, mixed in with a bunch of learning! I felt like I was in class with how much learning there was involved. The speed of everything is so much different than high school. I'm still trying to get used to it. Overall, I feel like the team is working hard trying to become better and gel as a team.
We went twice a day Saturday, Sunday, Monday and then on Tuesday we got a day of rest!!! It is crazy to think we are less than three weeks from our first game of the season. I hope everyone is excited about this year as much as we are. We hope that you will be a part of what we think is going to be a great year.
October 19, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #51
Hey Tigers fans!
We are off and running (literally in the team's case, they are at practice right now). We had a great night at Memphis Madness. We filled FedExForum for the first time ever for Memphis Madness festivities and had an addition 950 folks watching our online broadcast. Thanks again to Chris Duty in our video department and Jeff Brightwell and Forrest Goodman for hosting the show. I think we got some folks excited about Tiger Basketball!
I know you are all looking for player blogs. We have another one waiting for you, but we're still getting it proofed and our coaching staff has been swamped the last week or so! But our next blog will be from Christine "Moo Moo" Lesane.
If you weren't able to attend Memphis Madness and missed watching it online, you can watch the archived video here.
October 15, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #50
Hey Tigers fans!
Sorry I've been off the blog for a couple of days. Trying to finish a media guide while prepping for practice to start and Memphis Madness is a mistake I won't make again. Usually we have a C-USA Media Day before now and our guides have to be done well ahead of time in order to be there. Well, without a media day this year, I didn't have a deadline, so it slipped back to now and both Lamar Chance (our men's basketball SID) and myself were talking yesterday that we will never wait this long on wrapping up guides again!
We are just one day away from practice being able to start. I know the coaches are excited and ready to get after it. The women's team will be having an open practice when you enter FedExForum for Memphis Madness tomorrow night. Then they'll leave the floor for the official opening of the night's festivities and will be introduced at around 7:45 p.m. Friday night to the fans.
In preparation for pre-season TV shows, we taped both Coach McFerrin's and Coach Pastner's previews for the C-USA Preview show at the AOB this morning. If you follow my twitter, I loaded a photo from the end of the shoot (@tdegroff). It's not a great photo (my phone doesn't take the best photos), but it'll give you some sense of what was involved in the shoot. It involved 4 guys from Running Pony, a boom mic, a green screen and four-five sets of lights...it was quite a production.
I have to finish writing the Memphis Madness intros, so I will see you all at FedExForum Friday night!
October 12, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #49
Hey Tiger Fans....and down the stretch we come! Just four days until Memphis Madness!
I have to get moving on the media guide, so this will be short. Jeff Brightwell updated his blog after the Inside Scoop luncheon where our basketball coaches spoke. You can check out his blog here.
Those of you who watched the WNBA Finals on TV can see one of the coaches from that series in person this weekend. Indiana Fever head coach Lin Dunn will be one of the instructors at the Melissa McFerrin Hoops School Coaches clinic. Registration for the day-long, Saturday clinic is still open at www.coachmcferrin.com or here.
I have to get back to dropping bios in the media guide. Take care and Go Tigers!
October 9, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #48
Another wet day in Memphis. The rain has canceled the homecoming parade that was supposed to be today, but let's hope it gets out of the area before the football game tomorrow!
Another little piece of insider information for you on a short blog entry today. Looks like we will have three games played at FedExForum this year. Everyone maybe have been aware already that our first regular season game against Indiana will be played downtown, beginning at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13th. That will be the front end of a double-header with the men's team. It looks like the other two games will also be doubleheaders, with the Jan. 23rd game against Rice and the Feb. 27th game against East Carolina possibly also being moved downtown to FEF. Nothing official yet, but there's a little inside tip for you to wrap up this week.
October 8, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #47
One month and counting down!
That's how long before the 2009-2010 team plays its first exhibition game against the Houston Jaguars at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse at 2 p.m.
And since you have your calendars out, mark down October 12th at 11:45 a.m. That's when Coach McFerrin will be speaking at the Tiger Scholarship Fund Inside Scoop Luncheon at the Holiday Inn on the University of Memphis campus. You can buy your tickets online for just $15.00 here.
I'll write a formal release for that tomorrow, but that's your inside tip for today!
October 7, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #46
Good evening Tigers! Hope everyone is well and will forgive me for an uber-short message tonight because I'm up to my elbows in media guide work. Just a reminder than exactly one month for tomorrow's date will be our exhibition game against the Houston Jaguars at 2 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Time flies!
October 6, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #45
G'day Tiger fans (because I don't know if you're reading this in the morning, or evening; or at all :0) )
I'm finding a blog entry every day during the week can be a challenge in terms of new content so, I'll just give you a couple of tidbits of information and let you move on with your day.
I got a request from C-USA today for information on former players who have played both in the WNBA and overseas. Obviously, everyone knows our WNBA players (LaTonya Johnson and Tamika Whitmore). But the overseas question has me scrambling for some more information. I know from my first year as a women's basketball SID at Memphis that Victoria Crawford played overseas in Israel and Iceland, but I'm trying to figure out if she's still playing (Vic, where are you?). And I found out too late to write about it that Paris Leonard played over the summer in a pro league in Puerto Rico and is now back in Memphis. So if you know of anyone I'm missing who may have played overseas, give me a shout at email@example.com.
I know I'm still missing a couple of game times on the schedule. We're also waiting for final word on what games will be played at FedExForum this year outside of the Indiana game to kick off the season. Technically, there are no more Tiger men's basketball or NBA Grizzlies conflicts for any of the Tigers' C-USA schedule except the Rice game, but I don't know that we'll be moving the entire remaining conference slate downtown. I know some fans may think playing a bunch of games downtown is a stretch, but the goal is to fill the lower bowl, which is about 5,000 seats....we can do it, this is a basketball city. I'm looking forward to the women's opening game downtown, sneaking out following the game to eat downtown, then coming back for the men's game against Jackson State. In reality, I'll probably get stuck writing post game for the women's game and will probably end up eating in the FEF Media room and watching the men's game on the in-house feed in the back, but it's good to have an alternate plan!
Have a good day/night and Go Tigers!
October 5, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #44
Hope everyone had a good weekend. I got to enjoy one day of nice weather outside on Saturday before the all-day rain on Sunday. I should have worked on my season preview then, but did a bunch of other little projects instead.
But it will be another Tiger team that she pulls for this time, as her young squad will roll in to Columbia for the first collegiate road trip for four of the Memphis players (Christine Lesane, Nicole Dickson, Chatia Kelsey and Ashley Robinson).
Missouri is coming off a 13-17 regular season and a 4-12 mark in Big 12 play. Senior forward Jessra Johnson will test Memphis down low as the 6-1 forward led Missouri in rebounding last season with 6.9 rebounds a game, adding 28 blocks and finishing second in scoring and steals with 13.0 ppg and 1.4 spg. On the other side of the front line is junior Shakara Jones, who ranked third on the squad in scoring last year with 10.3 ppg. She was also third on the squad with 4.3 rebounds per game and added 22 steals and 14 blocks while being one of just two Tigers to start all 30 games for Missouri head coach Cindy Stein. In her 12th season at Missouri, Stein has guided the Tigers to three NCAA tournament spots and its first Sweet Sixteen (2001) since Coach McFerrin wore the Missouri uniform in 1982.
And as it has for the last few years, Jeff Brightwell's play-by-play call from the Missouri game can be heard live online at www.gotigersgo.com through the All-Access package. You do need to pay for the All-Access subscription, but it gives you access to the live audio and video of all games Memphis carries either online or over the radio (men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer and volleyball). A monthly fee is $9.95, but if you choose to pay the annual fee, you can watch Pay-Per-View games carried on CBS College Sports for free as part of your annual subscription. The money from this fee benefits the University of Memphis Athletic Department and with all Conference USA schools on the same website provider, a subscription also means you can watch every C-USA game as live streaming video, home and away.
October 2, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #43
Hey Tiger Fans!!
Just a short entry today because I'm hard at work on the media guide. I had a Q&A session today with Coach McFerrin for our season preview. You can look forward to that further down the road...for some reason, that's always the last thing I write to drop in the guide, procrastinating I guess :0)
The road to recovery has begun for freshman guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir. She had surgery yesterday on her torn ACL and is officially on the road to recovery for 2010-11 (did I really just type that? Seems like it was 2000 yesterday?!?). Injuries are never good news and rehab can be tough, but I have a feeling Bilqis will come out with flying colors on the other end.
Well, I need to get back to tracking down some more opponent information. Guess I'll have to save the Missouri preview for next week! Imagine, in exactly two weeks, we'll be down at FedExForum introducing the team and kicking the season officially off! You'll want to be there when the doors open again, as the women's team will be practicing as fans come into the building.
Until then, Go Tigers!
October 1, 2009 -- Junior guard Alex Winchell
Player Blog #5
Hey Tiger Fans!!
Its Alex Winchell here, #11! This is my junior year as a Memphis Tiger and I am more excited about this year then when I first stepped on campus at the University of Memphis.
My two years here have gone by so fast. This year, we have a whole new team, as there are only three returning players from last year that suited up. These players include myself, AQ, and Savannah. We also have Brittany, Moo Moo, and Toya last year, but they did not suit up. Toya is healthy after surgery and back! Moo Moo and Brittany will both be eligible this year. I am very excited about Brittany being eligible this year because we were also AAU teammates with the Georgia Nike Elite, so it will be great to play with her again.
There are twelve new faces this year. We have two junior college transfers, Star from Southwest Tennessee Community College and Melrose HS in Memphis and Taylor from Connor State Junior College and Cedar Hills HS in Texas. Both are over 6 feet tall, which is great because we needed some bigs!! (For a while there last year, I thought they were gonna throw me down on the block. Oh, wouldn't that have been a sight?) We also have two transfers joining our team this year. Mary (aka SPIRIT aka NAUTICA) is from University of Louisville and Jasmine is from the University of Georgia. Even though they will have to sit out this year, they are great assets to this team. Finishing the roster are freshman Qisi, Nicole, Chatia, and Ashley. I believe our team this year is way more athletic, much bigger inside and more diverse overall. I believe this team has great potential to achieve big things this season.
We have been working very hard over the summer and this preseason to get in shape to be prepared for practice. Preseason 6 AM conditioning workouts are coming to a close very shortly and we have improved greatly since day one. There is a lot going on with our preseason as far as classes, study hall, weight lifting, pickup, individual skill workouts with the coaches, etc., but for a college student, the hardest part is waking up three times a week at 5:00 AM! Hahaha.
Anyways, I just can not explain how excited I am for our team this season. We are going to be stronger, faster, bigger, and just all around much better. We have been weightlifting four days a week with Coach Mike (Mike Jenkins, our strength and conditioning coach), who I believe is one of the best strength and conditioning coaches around. He has really been pushing us to get stronger in the weight room and quicker on the court. I have done more work this off season than ever before, which can only mean good things. Also, we began group workouts recently. This mean guards workout for an hour and then the posts workout for an hour. The workouts have been intense and included a lot of skill work. It has kind of been a review for the returners (to make sure we haven't forgot everything over the summer) and a preview for the newcomers as to what practice will be like with Coach Melissa once we hit the floor full speed on October 16! But, the other day, we went together as a group for an hour and it got me very excited because it has been so long since all of us have been on the same court together -- especially with all the new faces and new talent, it just felt like the season was really about to begin.
This past Sunday we had our annual Fastbreak Club picnic with all our most loyal fans. Every year, we have the picnic as our kickoff event for the season. It was so much fun!! I personally want to thank everyone who was involved in the picnic. It was really enjoyable to see everyone and to meet new fans coming on board as well as catch up with old ones. Our picnic was in Germantown at the Pickering Center. Together we had dinner (which was really good food). Then after all our bellies were full and we had caught up on old times, the fun really began!! We played a game where a Fastbreak Club Member was paired up with a player. The member had to introduce the player and answer three questions about them. These questions were pretty funny and brought up some interesting stories about new and old players. Some of the things we found out were that Jasmine has been a star all her life (According to her--hahaha). We also found out that when Moo Moo was in high school she forgot her socks for a basketball game and had to play in her NYLONS!!! Another thing we learned is that Mary Jackson has three different names with three different personalities. Mary the normal Mary, as well as SPIRIT and NAUTICA. The last two are the personalities you cannot explain in words hahaha!!!! Those are just a couple fun things that happened at the picnic this Sunday. Again, thanks again to all the Fastbreak Club members that put together the picnic and attended. We really appreciate your support, now let's go get some wins and show the conference what the NEW tigers are all about!!! This 2009-10 team will be exciting to watch. So come out and show us some support!!! Go TIGERS!!!!
September 29, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #41
Hey Tiger fans,
Here's a little insider information for you on a sunny Tuesday morning, okay, afternoon. I got a call from the SID at Jacksonville State asking me for photos and a bio of former Tiger Ashley Thornton. As you know, Ashley just graduated in May and it sounds like she will be the graduate assistant coach at Jacksonville State this season. I checked their site to see if she was listed yet, and it doesn't appear they have their roster for this season up there yet, but keep an eye on another Tiger starting a college coaching career. Thornton will join fellow Tigers Jordie Soso (Marshall) and Jennifer Sullivan (Arkansas State) in the college coaching ranks. There are also a bunch of Tigers coaching high school ball, including here in Memphis.
As you may have seen, our Conference USA women's basketball tournament will be held in Tulsa at the same time as the men's tournament this year. This is a new format for us in C-USA and we spent a lot of time at the last conference championships in New Orleans in our SID's meeting trying to figure out the logistics. With 12 total SIDs, we all have previous experience from other conferences and other leagues with double-header tournaments, but none where there were 12 teams involved. So this year will be a first go-round for a lot of folks in this format.
The opening day of the tournament will be Monday, March 8th. The first session will have games at noon and 2:30 and the second session at 6:00 and 8:30. The second day will have the same game times on Tuesday, March 9th. The first day where there will be overlap will be on Wednesday, March 10th. The men will open their tournament that day with four games, while the women will play their semifinal games at 5:00 and 7:30. The men will continue with their quarterfinals on Thursday, March 11th, a day the women will have off to prepare for the championship game. The women's final will then be played Friday, March 12th and will air at 12:30 p.m. on CBS College Sports. The men will have their semifinals that day after the women's final is played on campus at the Reynolds Center. The entire women's tournament will be in the Reynolds Center on campus, and the entire men's tournament will be played in downtown Tulsa at the BOK Center.
So with the off-day in the middle, no team will have to win four games in four days if they do not receive a top four seeding in order to win the league like UCF did last year.
Just a little insider information for you. Until tomorrow, Go Tigers!
September 28, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #40
Morning Tiger Fans...beautiful fall day with no rain this morning, yeah! For those of you not in Memphis, we had about six straight days of rain over the past week, but didn't get hit as hard as the folks in Atlanta.
. Those of you who have not yet joined the Fast Break Club, you missed the club picnic yesterday at Germantown Park on Sunday. So, don't miss any more chances to interact with the team and join the Fast Break Club now. Registration for the entire year is $50 and is good for admittance to the club room at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, invitations to the picnic (well, ok, you missed the picnic), the tip-off scrimmage & dinner (coming up soon!), the holiday party and the postseason awards banquet. You also get a 10 percent discount from the Tiger Bookstore with your membership. You can join through Coach McFerrin's website (CoachMcFerrin.com), or by clicking here.
I should have a new player blog to add here soon. Junior guard Alex Winchell is writing the next blog and once I get it, I'll post it. I'll also preview Missouri and UT Martin this week, our third and fourth opponents of the regular season.
Not a women's basketball note, but a women's athletics note...congrats to women's soccer coach Brooks Monaghan on his 100th career win and the win at No. 20 UCF in the next outing. Women's soccer is now 2-0 in league play...always great to see our women's sports teams do well and Monaghan is a former Tiger player himself. If you've never seen our women's team play, you have a chance to watch the UCF win on a tape delay basis, Thursday, at 6 p.m. on CBS College Sports. The team will be back home this weekend to host UTEP Friday night at 7 at Mike Rose and Colorado College (yes, that's a C-USA women's soccer opponent), Sunday at 1:00. And that ends my women's sports promotion bit!
Have a good afternoon....enjoy this weather!
September 25, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #39
One more quick afternoon note before the weekend. The Rice game on Jan. 24th has been moved to Saturday, Jan. 23rd. Our men's basketball team hosts Houston that night at 7 p.m., so I'm not sure if we'll be downtown or at the Elma Roane Fieldlhouse, but make that change on your calendars that we're moving the game from Sunday to Saturday.
September 25, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #38
Morning Tiger fans!
I just posted a release on the 2010 NCAA Memphis Women's Basketball Regional tickets that are now on sale through the University of Memphis Ticket Office. The tickets are good for all three games of the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games that are being hosted by the University of Memphis at FedExForum, Mar. 27 & 29th. Similar to the men's regional we hosted last year, the team that wins this regional will advance to the NCAA Final Four. The upcoming Final Four is in San Antonio, Texas. Tickets are $53.00 apiece, plus a $2.50 shipping and handling charge. We would love to see the lower bowl at FedExForum fill up with fans for the games we are hosting. We got some really good feedback from the NCAA for our men's regional last year, and would love to make sure the women's show does well too, so please consider purchasing tickets to support the Tiger Athletic Department. You can even purchase your tickets online here.
Like the Tigers, Murray State has a bunch of new faces, adding eight freshmen for the upcoming season following the graduation of their top four leading scorers last season. Two seniors will lead the young Racer team, including guard Mallory Luckett, who was the fifth ranked scorer on the team last year, averaging 4.8 points per game and finishing second on the team with 40 steals.
The Racer program has had some coaching turnover in the past three years, but only because coaches have moved on to other jobs. Three years ago, the Racers were coached by Joi Williams, who Memphis fans now know as the head coach at UCF. She guided UCF to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance after winning four games in four days at the C-USA Championships last year. Williams was followed in the 2007-08 season by Jody Adams, who Tiger fans saw last year at the helm of the Wichita State program. But the constant in all of that change was Rob Cross, who served as an assistant under both Williams (then Joi Scott) and Adams, and who Racer fans are likely hoping puts a stop to the spinning coaches' chair at Murray State.
Murray State is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference and is located in Murray, Kentucky.
September 24, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #37
Hmm, somehow I missed posting a blog yesterday....it's getting to that point where I don't know which way I'm going with the fall and winter sports getting dangerously close to overlapping, the least favorite time of any Athletic Department Support Staffer. Not that we don't get excited for the season, but once the fall/winter sports overlap, that means all of our varsity sports are going on at once then. Even spring sports have fall seasons with tournaments and exhibition games/matches, so trying to cover every sport here and make sure everyone's happy means lots of late nights and consecutive days in the office for us!
Since I'm doing this little 'clean out my messy desk' giveaway, I'm going to push the preview of Murray State back to Friday.
September 22, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #36
Morning! Just a quick blog entry today.
The Melissa McFerrin Hoops School has added two more coaches to the day's events for the Melissa McFerrin Hoops School Coaches Clinic, Saturday, Oct. 24th. Registration for the all-day clinic, which includes lunch, is just $25. WNBA coaches Lin Dunn and Nancy Darsch will join Union University head coach Mark Campbell, an NAIA National Championship coach in three of the past five seasons. Coach McFerrin and the women's basketball team will also be part of the clinic. Registration is available at: http://www.camppros.com/register/detail.aspx?ListingId=851&OrgId=18.
Tomorrow I'll preview our second regular season opponent, Murray State. Until then, Go Tigers! -Tammy
September 21, 2009 -- Freshman point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir
Player Blog # 4
For those who don't know me, I am Bilqis Saliyah Abdul-Qaadir, and I am a freshman here at Memphis. Yea I know, you all have no clue how to pronounce my name. So maybe Qisi (Key-See) is easier. I was born and raised as a Muslim in Springfield Mass., along with 7 other siblings. I am the baby of the family. When I play, according my religious obligations, I have to cover my hair, arms and legs. The most common question I get when people see me play is, "Are you hot in that?" My response is,"Are you hot? Because, if you are then, I am too." Haha. Well, enough about my history. Let's get to the Tiger talk.
June 6th, 2009, was the day my life changed drastically! It changed mentally, physically and emotionally. It was the day of my high school graduation and the day I took the first flight to Memphis. It was a bitter-sweet feeling because I was leaving all of my family and friends, but then I was starting a new chapter of my life that I was looking forward to. After making a fairly quick transition from high school to college, not only did I realize the huge difference between the two lifestyles, I also realized and felt the difference between conditioning workouts. Coach Jenkins is literally no joke. I was hit with a hard punch my first day of workouts. Regardless of how tired we are, we never quit. I can tell you this, the word "quit" is not in any of our coaches vocabulary. As AQ mentioned, we do have high expectations for these upcoming years. If we are not the best team talent-wise, we will be the most athletic, in shape, and strongest team in C-USA.
There is no doubt about that due to our work ethic. We know we have the ability to perform well. But, mentally we have to mature a little more to be able to take on the hindrances that came our way. It was funny, just the other day I said to Coach Melissa, "Coach, I seriously think I have asthma". She looked at me and said, "Qisi, no, you don't. You're just out of shape". Everyone laughed in the room. I swear I've never been so out of breath doing a workout in my life until I came here. I know all of that lost breath will pay off during the last 4 minutes of an intense game. So I'm not stressing it.
As a freshman, coming early in the summer was definitely a huge benefit academically and athletically. I got the experience of taking some college courses and learned a little about how Coach Melissa's program works. So far Memphis is the place to be. Being a Tiger is the best! We are like a family and we stand by each other through thick and thin.
So everyone come out and watch us go to work this year. Unfortunately, I won't be making my freshman debut due to a torn ACL. Don't worry, I'll be back next year, hopefully better than ever (God willing)!! I hope you enjoy our blogs.
Your # 10 Tiger Bilqis
September 21, 2009 -- Asst. SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #34
Good morning Tiger fans,
Just a quick entry about our doubleheader with the University of Memphis men's basketball team. The women's game against Indiana will tip at 5:00 p.m. and the men's game will follow at 8 p.m. We're still working out the specifics of parking, seating, etc., so stay tuned for that, but definitely make plans to get off work early on Friday, Nov. 13th (tell your boss it's bad luck to be at work!) to be there for the tip.
Just a bit of a preview about Indiana. The Hoosiers are members of the Big 10 and advanced to the WNIT Quarterfinals last season, finishing with a 21-11 record after losing at Illinois State in the WNIT quarters. Senior guard Jamie Braun was a second team, all Big 10 honoree last year, averaging 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per gama.e The 5-8 guard is the only senior on a young Hoosier squad that features three freshmen, four sophomores, and four juniors.
Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack is in her fourth season as the head coach at Indiana, and had taken the Hoosiers to back-to-back 18 win seasons before last year's 21 win season.
This will be the second-ever meeting between the Tiger and the Hoosiers. The first was a 71-69 Hoosier victory in the 1983-84 season. That game was at a neutral site, so this will be Indiana's first-ever trip to Memphis.
That game will also be big for the Tiger Athletic Department, as that is tentatively the weekend the NCAA women's basketball tournament staff will be in town for a hotel and building walk-thru and the various meetings that come with the Tigers hosting the NCAA Women's South Regional, Mar. 27th and 29th of the upcoming year. So come and show what great women's basketball fans we have in Memphis and let's make a mark on the women's basketball folks' minds while they are here.
September 18, 2009 -- Asst. SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #33
Hey Tiger fans, I had an interviewer from the Daily Helmsman in the gym Thursday, so I stuck around and watched a bit of practice. I think there needs to be a Memphis Women's Basketball Thesaurus in order to follow the drills sometimes. Here's a couple of entries for you:
Head Snap in Small Spaces -- Okay, this is not just a one word entry in our Tiger Thesaurus. The guards were working on post-up defense and open court defense and worked on when to head snap (small spaces) and when to open (open court)....any clearer?
Goalposts -- Strangely, not the things in the endzones of Tiger football games. This term came from the post practice session in describing the proper arm position when posting up. That one was probably easier to understand (and visualize).
I'll work on more of our Thesaurus later! Tammy
September 16, 2009 -- Asst. SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog Entry #33
Hey Tiger fans, Tammy here.....I snuck over to practice on Tuesday (because my desk is too big a mess to deal with!) and took some photos. Tuesday was the first day the coaches could work the team by positions. The posts went first, followed by the guards. Here is a photo gallery from that practice session.
I have also posted a photo gallery from the Fast Break Club golf outing on Friday. Congratulations to Mark for his hole-in-one and the two airline tickets he won. It was a great afternoon and Donease tried to dump me off the side of the golf cart, but I managed to stay in, so a successful afternoon in all! Here is the photo gallery from the golf outing: Fastbreak Club Outing
September 9, 2009 -- Sophomore guard Ramses Lonlack (Bertoua, Cameroon)
Player Blog #3 for 2009-2010
Hello!!!!!!!!!! Everybody, this is African Queen known as AQ. It is with my pleasure today that I am sitting down and writing this blog for you Tiger Fans.
Summer was pretty exciting, even though I did not have a chance to go home and play for my home country Cameroon, Africa in the World Games. I was invited to play for my home country but unfortunately the dates of the tournament changed and I wasn't able to participate.
But, it was a great experience for me stay in Memphis because I was able to take several classes that needed to be completed before the fall semester. Once again I am very proud to be a V.I.T. (Very Important Tiger), because this year is going to be a year that you fans will not forget. What I mean is that we will bring the City and the University of Memphis something they have been missing over the past couple years......a much improved team!
First day of workouts for returners was great and the same expectations that Coach Melissa set for us last season continue to be applied this season. These include giving your all, performing your best and bringing maximum effort. It was interesting, because I have not been working out for the past three months. All I have been doing is icing my knees and riding the stationary bike. So I was anxious to get back out there in workouts with my teammates.
Our strength coach (Coach Mike Jenkins) has some goals for us as a team and for me individually. For me, the goal is to shape my body to look like a basketball player and a model! Since I already look like a model and pretty close to a basketball player that is pretty easy!! :) But Coach Mike is doing a great job. He is helping us look more and more like elite athletes every day. We all love how our bodies look and are changing. The work we are doing with him is not easy, but he is building up our bodies to help us win championships!
After a hard first week of workouts we had our training table meal at Coach Melissa's house last Friday for team togetherness and good food! In one room, several of the players were playing "Rock Band" and in the other room, myself and several teammates pulled out the wooden spoons as fake microphones and turned up the gospel music and did some karaoke and dancing . It was a lot of fun, with lots of memories, and even better pictures!!
Week # 2 started off with a 6 am ladder test. If you are wondering what the ladder test is, it is a sprint test that challenges you both mentally and physically. Our coaches put the test in place to determine our fitness level after the summer months. It also gives us an idea of where we stand from a conditioning standpoint. The test is challenging physically because we have to bring determination to run hard every sprint. Fatigue is not an excuse to fail the test because everyone gets tired. Mentally the test is challenging because we have to be fit through fatigue and convince ourselves to continue running.
I want to congratulate Mary Jackson and Jasmine Lee for passing the test on their first try and Brittany, Savvy, and myself as the five players that passed the test! For my other teammates that didn't pass, don't be discouraged and don't give up because I know each of you has the potential to be the best. You can and will pass the test next time. Once again congrats to Mary, Jasmine, Brittany, Savvy, and myself!!! Our reward is no more early Friday conditioning at 6 am. That is big for me because I reaaaaaalllly like my sleep. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Individual court workouts began on Tuesday afternoon. The returners knew the coaches had big expectations for us because of all the skill work we have been doing on our own since April. So this was the first day to show them how hard we have been working on our game. There were 4 people per group going through footwork, dribbling, and shooting. The coaches were impressed how much we have improved! That was good (especially for me) because I have been working hard on my ballhandling and shooting. So it was fun to show them how nice my handle is now and how sweet my jumper is looking. Haha.
With two weeks under our belts, I think we all showed the determination and heart of a winning team. We just need to continue to bring the same energy, determination, heart, and intensity each week to keep getting better.The Tigers are ready for this season! We believe in what ourselves and especially in OUR COACHES! So make sure you come out to our games and support the Tigers! Well it is time for your African Queen to start doing her homework. ;) Stay tuned next week for Freshman Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir. Au Revoir (that's French for bye).
-# 32 Ramses Lonlack (aka AQ)
September 9, 2009 -- Sophomore guard Brittany Carter (Covington, Ga./Newton County)
Player Blog #2 for 2009-2010
I can't believe this season is finally approaching! I haven't played in a basketball game in about a year in a half, and I am more than happy to be playing for Memphis. I am very excited about the things our coaching staff and athletic department have planned for our future.
The first week of school went very well for me. I'm finally a junior! Before I began college many people told me that my four years would fly by and boy were they right. Time really does fly by while in college. Workouts went well the first week also, and I am very confident in our team's ability to become "the Class of Conference USA." As long as we continue to improve and work as hard as we possibly can as a team, even the sky won't be the limit for us. With so many new faces on the team it is important that we bond together on and off the court to be successful. We have been working on getting to know each other since the summer when every player on our team attended the second session of summer school.
Sunday we had a great time together at Tiger Town. We had good food and some great guests that came to hang with us. Shout out to all the V.I.T.s (very important Tigers, this is a Coach Danny creation, lol) that came to hang out with us. We were very glad to see our wonderful fans. I am glad to be a part of a program with such loyal supporters. Our very own mascot, Tom III made an appearance as well. He is such a beautiful Tiger! After signing some autographs and mingling with the tiger fans, my teammates and I went to the football game vs. Ole Miss. We didn't get the win this time, but I was happy to be there to support out football tigers and had a great time.
Well Tiger fans, I hope you are as excited about this school year as I am. Thank you for all of your support, it means a lot. I would like to welcome all my new teammates on board. Freshmen Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Nicole Dickson, Chatia Kelsey, and Ashley Robinson; Junior College transfers Starkitsha Higgins and Taylor Mumphrey; and fellow transfers Mary Jackson and my old roomie at Georgia, Jasmine Lee. I would also like to welcome our new assistant coach on board, Brett Schneider (or Coach B as we call him) and our new director of operations Donease Smith (aka Mama D). Next week, the African Queen, Ramses Lonlack will be coming at you next week with her blog.
Go Tigers!! Let's make history!
# 25 Brittany Carter
September 3, 2009 -- Junior Center Savannah Ellis (Wichita, Kan./Wichita Heights HS)
Player Blog #1 for 2009-2010
Hey all! I just finished my second day of the fall semester. It's exciting because being in all these upper-division business courses has REALLY made it sink in that I'm a junior. The team is doing well, a lot of new faces this season. We are all pretty anxious to get to work and get back on the court, especially after such a productive summer. As a team, we made the commitment last spring to all attend summer school and work-outs together. Most of the team attended the first summer session and all 14 of us were here for second summer session working on our grades, staying in shape (or getting in shape - depending on who you are :)), and playing ball. I know one thing is for sure, I'm in great shape!!
Today after workouts, our team had the first training table of the season. After a summer with the coaches all over the country recruiting and us balancing classes, jobs, internships, and workouts, it was nice to sit down and all eat together like a family. Oh, and of course, finally having a good meal is always nice (because I am not the greatest cook). For all you young ones out there, your team is basically your family away from home in college. I'm definitely a loooooong ways from Kansas, so it's nice to have such great teammates and coaches that I get along with.
Well, I have to get some sleep now. It's currently 10 o clock p.m, and I have workouts at 6 am tomorrow morning!! But thanks for checking in to our team blog and stay tuned for more as you will hear from a different Tiger every week!!! I think Brittany Carter (aka Grasshoppa) is up next.
August 10, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Well the summer flew by! The team meets tonight to have their physicals and then we are going to take everyone's head shot for the website and the media guides, so hopefully you'll be able to click on some bios and see their photos shortly!
Graduation is this coming Sunday (Aug. 16th), which means I have to get to work writing the graduating senior bios. I believe Jessica Jackson will be the one women's basketball grad this summer, following fellow seniors Ashley Thornton and Paris Leonard, who each graduated in May.
The coaches returned from the road recruiting most of July and we are now trying to finalize a schedule since the Grizzlies and the men's team have announced their schedules. We have a couple of conflicts to get worked out, including our season-opener against Indiana, so while I'm hopeful we'll have something to release soon, Coach McFerrin is out of the office for a much-deserved break for part of this week, so we'll have to get after it when she gets back.
For those of you on Twitter, our entire women's coaching staff is on there. Coach McFerrin (MelissaMcFerrin), Coach O'Banion (DJOBanion), Coach Wholey (michaelwholey) and Coach Schneider (CoachBrettS). The athletic department also has a Twitter account to follow (TigersAthletics) as does Conference USA (ConferenceUSA1). More great ways to get to know more about your Tigers and their coaches and to see what is up on a day-to-day basis with them all.
See you all soon!
July 14, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Good morning! Just a couple of quick notes...former Tiger Tamika Whitmore is sitting out some of her first WNBA games due to injury (you can read the story here). Her 204 consecutive games played streak came to an end on Saturday and she's having arthroscopic surgery today. We're thinking of her and hoping rehab goes well...sounds like she expects to be out for about three weeks.
I'm also getting ready to start a Meet the Tigers story on the website. I'll start with the seniors and work my way down to the freshmen. I wanted to do it earlier, but thought I would give them all time to just make the adjustment to college life before we started burdening them with media obligations.
Sounds like things will begin in earnest in less than a month. I think physicals are scheduled for Aug. 10th, I know we plan on shooting some football and soccer head shots that night after physicals, so when the coaches get back from being on the road, I'll see about women's basketball as well.
June 25, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Well, it's definately summer in Memphis...wow it's hot...and sadly the air conditioning is STILL out in my car.
But, I've seen a handful of players over the last couple of days since it was check day for the players in summer school. Tomorrow I'll spend a bit more time with incoming junior college transfer Taylor Mumphrey. She's going to put the shoe on my other foot and interview me for a project for her communications class. We'll see how tough her questions are, I might need to go home and study up!
I'm hoping to get a few of the newcomers this year to write on this blog (I'm sick of hearing from me too!). I might try to sneak in a quick 10 questions with Taylor tomorrow when she's done interviewing me though, it'll depend on her schedule.
We have a "Reserve the Date" request for our women's basketball fans. The Fast Break Club will have its Sixth Annual Golf Scramble on September 11th at Quail Ridge. Entry forms and hole and door prize sponsorship forms are on our women's basketball page on our gotigersgo.com website in the right hand column. Until later, stay cool!
June 17, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
The summer is officially moving by too fast...I just got an email request from our conference office for our 2009-2010 wbkb roster and quick facts and I still haven't filed the senior class from last year's stuff in our archives yet!
Just a couple of quick notes for you....if you plan on visiting us in the AOB any time soon, please be aware that construction of the Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame began in earnest this morning as the parking lot adjacent to the AOB on Normal is now closed. You are welcome to park in the designated visitor parking spots in front of the Ticket Office side, but we will be crunched for parking from now on since the parking lot (all the way down to the second tree) will be under construction as the new Hall of Fame.
A couple of the players for the upcoming season are on campus now and are taking classes. I don't know that everyone knows what these student-athletes schedules look like during the fall and spring, so to be able to knock out 3-6 credits in the summer is a huge help in keeping everyone on track with their respective degree programs.
You may have seen the release about the ranking of our women's basketball signing class for the upcoming season. It will be a big change in faces on the court compared to last season, with three (maybe four) players who played last year able to suit up this season. We counted up a week or so ago, and since Coach McFerrin has arrived in Memphis in April of 2008, we have signed 12 different players to the wbkb roster!
The Sixth Annual Fast Break Club Golf Scramble has been scheduled for Sept. 11th. Registration forms are available on the women's basketball page in the right hand column, or by contacting Gaylon Hall. Even if you don't golf, you can still support the outing by donating a door prize or sponsoring a hole. That form is available as well on our website. The goal is to raise money for locker room and Elma Roane Fieldhouse renovations and to start fundraising for an international basketball tour, so any and all help is much-appreciated.
May 26, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
The summer rolls on. Some of the players will be on campus for the summer session that begins on June 6th and the newest assistant coach, Brett Schneider, is trying to get the 2009-2010 non-conference schedule wrapped up. Coach McFerrin has already spilled the beans about adding Indiana and Missouri, coach McFerrin's alma mater, to the schedule for next year. We will also be returning a road game to Ohio University and have former C-USA member Saint Louis back on the schedule beginning next season. On Monday, June 1st, we'll also have the formal announcement of the new coaching staff. Coach wanted to announce both newcomers at once, so Monday we'll have the formal release up for Coach Schneider and our new Director of Basketball Operations.
May 11, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
The student athletes have all moved back home for the summer after finishing exams last week. We had graduation on Saturday, with Paris Leonard and Ashley Thornton both walking in the Saturday ceremonies. Coach McFerrin is in Destin, Fla., this week for the Conference USA meetings. We should hear final word on most of the Conference USA Championships for next season, but we already know that next year's women's tournament will be in Tulsa. What we are still waiting for is word on when the tournament will be. There was some talk of running the women's tournament at the same time or maybe a day or so ahead of the men's tournament in the same city in order to offer fans a chance to attend both tournaments. That is probably a good thing for fans, but is really tough from a staffing standpoint in that so many schools use the same individuals to work both men's and women's games (Memphis uses the same scorebook, public address and stats folks).
We also started receiving emails from the NCAA today regarding the women's NCAA Regional finals that will be hosted by Memphis next year in FedExForum. That's similar to the men's tournament we just hosted where four teams come and play three games with one team leaving here heading for the Final Four. The women's Final Four will be in San Antonio next year. When we hosted the men's South Regional last year, I served as the assistant media coordinator under Jennifer Rodrigues and let me tell you how much work is involved in the regional. From the time we knew the four teams coming to Memphis until the time North Carolina had cut down the nets and vacated the building, Jennifer worked 103 hours on the tournament and I came in at 97 hours for the tournament in less than a week's time...I also missed the women's basketball banquet because we were working on the media seating chart for 6 hours after the office closed that night -- it was absolutely exhausting and to host something at that high a level is pretty stressful too, but apparently we did ok because the NCAA has told us we are welcome to bid on it again for the next round. I think Jen and I might take vacation that week :0)
We should have word sometime this week on the new assistant coach to fill the spot left by Tempie Brown's departure. Coach McFerrin finished interviews last week and I believe has offered her candidate the job, but has to await the hiring procedure wrapping up before we can make an announcement.
April 29, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
If you drive by campus today, do it quietly as today is Study Day (otherwise known as "I have to get this project/studying/test/paper done today day"). Exams start tomorrow and next Saturday the Athletic Department will graduate 51 undergrads, our largest graduating class ever. Included in that group are two of the three seniors from this year's women's basketball team -- Paris Leonard and Ashley Thornton. The third senior, Jessica Jackson, will graduate in August.
I'm feeling my age with Paris' graduation, as she was the first women's basketball signee I wrote about when I became the women's basketball SID. The fun part of this job is watching as students come in as 18 year olds and then watching them through to graduation. We had a good senior class this year to lead the team through the transition of a new coaching staff and I'll miss seeing them in the gym, on the court and on the bus/plane..best of luck to you guys!
We also are saying goodbye to two staff members from this year's roster. Assistant Coach Tempie Brown is heading back up north to be closer to family and Tony Martin left last Thursday to join the Memphis Grizzlies operations staff. Both were great to be around and were extremely good at what they did for the team. We'll likely still see Tony for our FedExForum games and while we'll miss him, I'm sure his family is glad to see him off the road -- the travel in this business is really tough, in addition to all the long hours, and with a young daughter, I know that had to be tough to be away from her on some of those long road weekends.
Coach McFerrin said she had her top three in mind for interviews to fill the assistant spot left by Coach Brown, so maybe we'll have an announcement on that soon. But, that's it for now. Good luck on exams!
April 23, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Well another academic year is rolling toward an end. There are a little over one week of classes remaining, then final exams, then we will have commencement and put the 2008-09 year in the books. The team continues to participate in individual workouts a couple of times a week, getting some good workout habits in place (hopefully!) before the girls all head back home for a bit of a break before coming back for various sessions of summer school.
I don't know if you've seen it, but we taped a new video coach's show on Monday with Coach McFerrin, which is available off our main page (www.gotigersgo.com) under All-Access, and will remain available from our women's basketball page in that All-Access player throughout the summer. This was the first year for the video coaches' shows, so we'd love to hear your thoughts on the shows and what you'd like to see us do with them...you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share your responses with Jeff Brightwell and the coaches. You may want to watch this week's show to hear about the three latest signees and to get a sneek peek at the Tigers' non-conference schedule next year from Coach McFerrin.
We added three more Tigers with the spring signing period. That will give us six brand new faces to the program next season and eight players suiting up in a Tiger uniform for the first time next season under McFerrin (Georgia transfer Jasmine Lee will have to sit in street clothes on the sidelines next season per NCAA transfer rules). We added a lot of depth up front to replace Jessica Jackson and Ashley Thornton, who both graduate soon. We also added another guard in the late signing period so we hopefully won't have to lean on such a small core next year again in the backcourt. I've been updating the records section for next year's media guide and freshman Ramses Lonlack played more minutes this year than any freshman in the program's history...and Ashley Thornton and Paris Leonard's minutes were in the top 10 among the all-time senior classes...we were fortunate to escape without injuries since we were already without LaToya Bullard.
Thanks for all the emails I've received about our media guide ranking. Most of that credit goes to Brandon Kolditz, our publications/softball SID in the office. We came up with a concept and had the chance to work it all the way through the book this year, from the photo shoot to the inside pages, and while I'm just usually happy to have a 200+ page book done, I was really happy with the end result this year...I think I might shoot all the players in a posed action shot on a solid background next year, opens up the possibilities for the pages, but we'll see. Until then....Go Tigers!
April 6, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
The women's national championship game is set for tomorrow night and undefeated UConn will face former C-USA member Louisville Tuesday night. Memphis hasn't faced UConn, but faced off against Louisville three years ago at the U of L tournament, facing the host team on the third consecutive night of competition. That tournament was the first competition for Angel McCoughtry with the Cardinals, and after that opening weekend, I can honestly say I'm not surprised UL has gone on to big things with her in the line-up (she had 26 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Memphis). It'll be something to watch the Cards in the championship game with a roster that features six freshmen, three sophomores no juniors and three seniors. The coach of the Cardinals when we played them was Tom Cullen (currently the head coach at Arkansas), so it's definately a credit to the current staff to continue where coach Cullen left off and to even improve that quickly after he left for Arkansas.
On the Memphis front, we're just waiting until National Signing Day rolls around. Memphis can next sign players to NLIs on April 15th through May 20th for basketball. No word yet on how many we are expecting to sign, but check back at www.gotigersgo.com on the 15th (after you get your taxes done!) to see who are newest Tigers will be.
March 17, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
The team returned home as spring break started, so while the folks who work in athletics headed downtown for the men's conference tournament, the girls got a chance to go home or to take a break while the coaching staff worked on securing some more recruits for the next signing period, which begins April 15th.
With the announcement of the NCAA and WNIT brackets on Monday night, the Tigers had eight opponents from this season advance to post-season play, including Winthrop and Louisiana Tech. UCF, the Conference USA tournament champ, will face No. 3 seed North Carolina, Saturday at noon on ESPN2, while regular season champion, SMU, will face UT Arlington, another Memphis non-conference opponent, in the WNIT first round.
March 10, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Well, the Tigers came close and cut the game to three late in the second half, but ran out of luck against the Thundering Herd. We stayed in New Orleans that night since it was well after 10 by the time we were done with post game interviews, and ate breakfast at the hotel the following morning before loading the bus at 9 a.m. We stopped around Jackson, Miss. for lunch about noon, then rolled in to the fieldhouse about 3:30.
The coaching staff is back on the recruiting trail and I'm back down at FedExForum getting ready for the men's tournament. We have a practice day today for all the teams that are playing tomorrow, and have already seen Southern Miss and East Carolina in here for practice. Congrats to UCF on winning the women's tournament. The really scary thing about that team for the rest of the league is those are a bunch of sophomores!
March 5, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Just over six minutes to game time. The team is back in the locker room getting some last minute instructions. So far all the tournament seeds have held up, although Tulsa almost upended host Tulane in the last game before falling by five.
Thanks to the band and spirit squad. They were waiting outside the hotel for us as we loaded the bus and I wish you all could've seen the girls faces, including Coach McFerrin's. It means a lot to us that our administration still supports us in our conference tournament...now let's see if we can give them something to cheer about.
March 4, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Hi Tiger fans...It's 11:55 on Wednesday afternoon and the Tigers have already practiced for 55 minutes in the Tulane gymnasium and are now having an extended practice session at Newman High School. The team got up this morning and had breakfast, watched some film and then left for the gym. We'll finish practice here, go back for lunch and then have some study time and let the girls get some rest before the coaching staff and myself have some mandatory meetings to attend before dinner.
People ask about our road routine, so I'll give you a littel bit of a background. We left the fieldhouse yesterday at about 1:30 and got to New Orleans last night a little after 8:00. We got checked in to our rooms (Tony Martin makes sure our keys are waiting when we roll in) and dropped our bags and went to dinner. Dinner last night was Chicken, pasta, mashed potatoes, green beans and red beans and rice. The first four of those are things that we pretty much have at every pre-game meal, with the exception of steak sometimes being substituted in for chicken. The red beans and rice were obviously a New Orleans-only addition to the meal....with all the carbs and starches we eat, you can see why I get done with basketball season each year and have to eat salads for about a month straight to try to lose weight!
On nights when we get to the city we're playing in the night before a game, we usually just eat in the hotel. Since our game is still one day away, we'll go out tonight. We get to a restaurant and the food is already done and occassionally on the table. It makes for less sitting around time, but I joke it's kind of like a hit-and-run. We come in a bunch of 15-20 people, sit down, eat and up and leave. If you take your time eating (like I do), you are usually leaving some food on your plate, whether you wanted to or not! But, that's travelling life with a bunch of Division I athletes...they are hungry when they get there. And for folks who think female student-athletes don't eat, I have some news for you, every team I've travelled with eats. With all the calories they burn, I hope they enjoy it while they're young!
March 2, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Sorry I didn't update right after the USM game, but since they had their senior night festivities right after the game and since we knew we were driving back in snow and ice, I thought we needed to just pack up and get going, so I'm just now getting to a post.
What an awesome game it was to watch on Saturday. Sometimes I wish I could just go sit up in the stands and watch as a fan, because I was sitting on my hands trying not to be unprofessional and cheer from press row. Alex Winchell bounced back from a really tough game at UCF with a career-best 26 points. She was shooting so well, it didn't make a difference if her toe was near the three-point line or if she was behind the men's three-point line, the ball just tickled the twines and left the rim alone. I was happy for our seniors as well. I don't imagine losing on senior night to Marshall was any fun, especially because we didn't play particularly well in the first half. Ashley Thornton hit a three from the top of the key to send the Tigers to the locker room up by one instead of trailing by two, also hitting her 1,000th career point in the process, then Paris Leonard bounced back with a second straight 21-point night. And Ramses Lonlack might have made the game-saving scramble for the Tigers. Memphis was down two, 65-63, and a play that I think was set up for Paris Leonard got broke up as USM doubled Paris and caused a turnover. But in a scramble that involved about three players on the floor, AQ sprinted to and grabbed the ball and looked ahead to where Savannah Ellis was just in the paint. AQ pushed the ball ahead and Savvy laid it in to tie the game and take a lot of air out of the building for about the 10th time of the half.
Memphis really had an answer for every big shot USM seemed to make. USM got a couple of back-to-back buckets from Stephanie Helgeson and looked like maybe they'd try to pull away, and the crowd was loud and on their feet thinking the same thing before Paris knocked down a three that kept us within one. It was an amazing game and made the slow bus ride home a little easier to deal with.
Now it's down to the tournament. The team leaves on Tuesday afternoon after practice, and should get to New Orleans around 8 p.m. We'll have dinner, then turn in for the night. Every team gets a 55 minute practice in Tulane's rec center on Wednesday, and since we are the No. 7 seed, we practice from 10:30-11:25 slot. We won't actually shoot on the tournament floor until shootaround on Thursday morning.
Tomorrow the All-Conference team will be announced, so hopefully we'll have someone on there. We haven't had an all-conference player since 2005 when Victoria Crawford was a third team honoree. I know how much trouble I had figuring out my ballot though, so we'll see if a Tiger or two can't sneak in there somewhere.
February 28, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Hang on Tiger fans, with SMU defeating UTEP today, Southern Miss comes in to this game (just 6:25 away), needing a win to stay in the tie for first. Since USM beat SMU, that means in addition to playing their final home game on Senior Day, the Golden Eagles are playing for the No. 1 seed in the Conference USA Tournament.
February 27, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Sitting in the Southern Miss recreation center while the women's basketball team is practicing on one of the four courts. There are a bunch of people shooting in open gym on the other three courts and we have court three, so we have some rec games going on both sides of our practice, kind of an intesting experience.
The team is happily back on the ground after a rough travel morning. We had a 4:30 a.m (ET) wake-up call, loaded the bus and got to the airport and found that our flight had been moved up to 6:15 from 6:30, so it was quick get checked in, get through security and walk right to the plane. We actually flew back to Memphis, landing at about 7:30 this morning in some bumpy air that came with the rain that has been in Memphis. We then grabbed breakfast in the airport, and flew to Hattiesburg since we have to practice from 2-4:00 today, unfortunately, we were on a proppeller plane that really made for a rough ride in the turbulence for about the last quarter of the Hattiesburg trip. We had a couple of folks who were green in the gills when we got off...I think we'll all be happy for the five-hour bus ride home after the game tomorrow night.
It took a bit to get our luggage off the plane, only to find we were missing 10 bags. So while we are here at practice, Tony Martin is on his way back to Memphis to pick up a second set of uniforms since we don't anticipate getting any bags until saturday morning if we're lucky. We got to our hotel, had a quick lunch and then if the girls all did what I did, we took a nap. Jeff Brightwell and Coach McFerrin taped her radio coach's show, which Jeff emailed to WREC, and he's not at practice now, so I'm gonna guess he's finally finding time for some shut-eye as well. The team is working on a few problems from last night and getting ready for USM for tomorrow, and with no tables, Kristin Henke (our academic advisor) and myself are sitting on the floor in the end zone, so I'm gonna wrap this up and make sure a loose ball doesn't end up taking out my laptop after I already dropped my Blackberry in a sink to start the trip.
February 26, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Just 21 minutes to game time for our contests at UCF in Orlando. Had a chance to talk with former Tiger Jessica Hall, who is sitting out this year as a transfer for the Knights. She'll be the veteran player on a team of youngsters next year, as this year's UCF squad has nine sophomores...Jeff Brightwell joked with her that she must be the team mom.
Tonight's game is televised live on Bright House networks for those of you living in Florida, Indiana, Alabama, Michigan and California.
It will air on a tape delay basis on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS), beginning at 9 p.m. (ET) and on CBS-College Sports, also on a tape-delay basis, beginning at 10 p.m. (ET).
Should have starters in soon, 19:13 to introductions. Game officially tips at 7:05 p.m.
February 23, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Still no real hint as to who we will be playing in the conference tournament and what our seeding will be. A lot will depend on the games on Thursday night. Memphis cannot be the No. 12 seed, because we beat Rice, and even if Rice wins out and we lose two games, we'd own the tiebreak with them, so we could be no lower seeded than No. 11. We are No. 10 right now, but Tulsa won over Houston yesterday, so if the Golden Hurricane wins both of its remaining home games and if the Tigers don't get at least one win on the road this weekend, we would fall to the NO. 11 seed.
No one apparently wants to lead the conference alone this season. Southern Miss and UCF were battling it out two weeks ago, and both lost road games. USM is now tied with UTEP, who beat USM 105-87 to take the tiebreak advantage in that series on Saturday, and SMU. USM did beat SMU in its one meeting with the Mustangs, so if those three remain tied, it then goes to their respective records....well, let's just say I'm glad I don't have to figure out that tiebreak situation!
I get asked about once a month or so what my job entails on game days, so yesterday (Senior Day), I tried to keep a running list. Here is a 'typical' game day in sports information:
10:00 a.m. -- Arrive at office. Run updated Conference USA releases for radios, review the senior script, make sure the digital camera is charged, create game file on stats computer and pack everything up to head to the gym (I'm really envious of people whose office is in the same building as their gyms on days like this).
11:30 a.m. -- Realize I lost my parking pass for the garage, but the gates are open (yeah)...Unload all the stuff I just loaded in the car 10 minutes ago and wheel in to the fieldhouse.
11:45 a.m. -- I'm a little behind already and I just got here. Tony Martin (our DBO) needs to use our printer to run the passlist, so I have to quick try to get everything loaded out of our storage room and out to courtside. The technical aspect gets a little more complicated when Jeff Brightwell tells me none of the outlets on his end of press row are working, so we have to string a bunch of extension cords again for this game. (We thought the problem was fixed because the outlets actually worked for the Friday night game! Never know what you have til you get there!).
12 something-ish -- Set up stat monitors and stat laptops...Loaded game file I created in the office and tried to get my laptop to read Tony's USB drive...it doesn't read it for some reason, so Tony has to go back to the office to run his list....technology!
12 something-ish -- Realize I forgot to write down the times I've been doing stuff for this blog, so just humor me!
12 something-ish -- Take game programs (which I stuffed Saturday when I came in the office), over to entrance, set up stuff for my stat crew....Stamp vouchers for stat crew (I think that might be the most important part of my job, is making sure my stat crew is in place and fed).
12 something-ish -- Go over senior day script with Larrick and then again with Brian Crawford, our media relations intern who is going to be taking photos. I also make sure the Marshall SID and radio guy get settled and what they need and review the senior day timing sheet with them so we're not catching them off guard.
1 something-ish -- It's after 1:00, I know this because Jimmy Ogle got here at 1:15. Jimmy is doing our official scorebook today in place of Jimmy Hayslip, who is having a much-deserved day off from doing the book. Walk Jimmy through who our scratches are for the game and go up to get live stats set up. The little laptop that runs the live stats for our website didn't work Friday night, so I fiddled with it on Saturday and am crossing my fingers and hoping it works.
1 something-ish -- The little laptop isn't working....realize I forgot to connect the network cable to the internet hub -- um, user error?
1 something-ish -- Hey, we just realized I messed up the timing sheet and we are five minutes behind, so we steal three minutes off the pre-game clock...luckily, no one notices (until I out this on the blog!). Larrick Johnson is super-assistant, he's got the seniors' families all lined up on the end zone and the table is set up at center court (thanks to Charlotte Peterson for setting that up pre-game).
1 something-ish -- Um, that's not Paris' grandma on the end zone. I asked each of the seniors who was walking out with them today and obviously Paris' family had a change of plans. I grab Paris quick as the pre-game countdown winds down and we review the script realllllyyyyy quick with Chuck Roberts (super PA!). Chuck is not a fan of my scripts (I'm thinking) because he ad-libs the beginning of the ceremony, which leaves Larrick and I looking at one another trying to figure out when to send the first senior out. I gave Larrick the exact script so he knew where we were in the ceremony, but we wing it!
1 something-ish -- Whew, senior festivities done...the camera didn't run out of memory or power, nothing fell and shattered and we got done in 3 minutes (there is a conference rule saying you cannot go over 5 minutes). National anthem time, then starters.
2:04 -- Can you believe we tipped early?
2 something-ish -- Tigers hanging with Marshall early...then take a lead. Once I sit down, I'm trying to take notes on the game for the post-game story I have to write. The Commercial Appeal is not here today, so my post-game story will possibly get used in some format for their story if I don't get it to them too late....Thank goodness for journalism school, writing on deadline with no background would be brutal.
2 something-ish -- Down at the half. We run box scores quick for the coaching staffs to look at in their respective locker rooms. We have to fix the minutes on the box and reprint it and have some weird little stat crew issues, nothing life-changing, we're ok.
2 something-ish -- Back at play...I joke that during the game is the easiest part of my job...as long as the scoreboard is functioning, or the stat computers don't lock up, or the live stats or monitors crash....well, ok, easy is relative. The stat monitors crashed Friday night and the live stats never worked, so I'm pretty optimistic that for our final home game, we're gonna be ok.
3 something-ish -- Well, the scoreboard shows we are still winless against Marshall. We check the stats against the official book, then run books for the coaching staffs and radio guys. I make sure the Marshall SID has gotten everything he needs from my super stat crew, then go get Coach McFerrin out of the back to go to radio...this is a process that is quicker some days than others, but not too bad tonight.
3 something-ish -- I quickly get to see former Tigers Tamika Butler and Raven Rogers and saw Gresh Gorman in the stands earlier. Unfortunately, just a quick hello and hug with both of them, then I have to help our interns break down all the stuff I set up about, um, 3 hours ago.
3 something-ish -- Post game is done and players and fans are trickling in to a post-game reception for the Fast Break club. I shoot one quick photo of the seniors' cake and then go back to work.
4:45 -- I'm back in the office in the AOB. I have a box and a laptop bag to unload and then a post-game story to write.
5:15 -- I have the first draft of the story wrote and started updating the website, emailed the game file to C-USA and updated the NCAA xml site...I load the story to the website and realize I forgot to mail it to my media list, so I get that done.
5:57 -- I'm eating a salad I bought on Friday knowing I had to work all weekend. I had about 6 nachos and a drink at the game, so it occurred to me, I'm kinda hungry.
6:18 -- I'm trying to figure out who to nominate for Player of the Week to C-USA...I'll text coach to get her thoughts and to see if anyone is doing a women's basketball video coaches' show this week.
7:10 -- Hmm, still no word back for Player of the Week, but I did get our all-conference stuff typed up (it's due tomorrow) and sent our stats and media requests to UCF and USM for our next games. I type up two different players of the week forms and will save it in my email draft box. It's 7:35 when I shutdown my desktop...another nine hour day (this is why we don't track hours worked in athletic media relations!).
7:35 -- Coach texts me player of the week info and says she's out tomorrow and giving her assistants a day off, so she'll see if anyone wants to do the video show...Coach Wholey ends up emailing me that he'll do it at 6:29 Monday morning (have to remember to turn off email alerts on my phone).
So, there you go...a day, plus some, in the life of a sports information person on game day. There is no typical day, but it's all pretty chaotic, that's about the only thing each day has in common :0)
February 19, 2009 -- Senior Forward Ashley Thornton
It is hard to believe that my last home game at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse is Sunday. Also, that my college basketball career at the University of Memphis will soon come to an end. It still hasn't hit me yet, it probably won't until the game is over on Sunday. I never thought that this day would come, and it makes me sad to even think about it, because I don't want it to end just yet, I feel like the fun has just begun. I've enjoyed my time here as a Tiger. The fans are wonderful and have always been there for support no matter what. I want to thank all the fans so much for everything.
My teammates are great. They are all like my little sisters that I care so much about. We have had each others backs, laughed, and cried together. As a team we have grown so much as individuals and learned so much from each other. On the court we have played hard for each other and when others doubted our abilities, we stuck together and made it happen. So I want to thank my teammates for making this the best senior year for me possible, I will never forget you guys. But, we didn't do all of this alone. Our coaches have helped us along the way and taught us so many things also. I want to thank them as well for just being there for each and every one of us, we are better individuals because of them. We are one big happy family and this year I will truly miss them. I can never have it back, all I will have is memories. I must say this is one of the best seasons of my career that will never be forgotten.
Basketball is all I've known for the past 10 years of my life. I am going to miss actually playing and being a part of a team. I used basketball to get an education and never thought I would be without it. There have been many life lessons learned and some that I will always use throughout my life.
I want to thank my mom, dad, sister, and nephew for always being supportive in all of my decisions they have watched me grow into a woman. I also want to thank my high school coach she helped my make it to the next level.
Thank You Again Everyone for Everything,
Ashley (A.T.) #42
February 16, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Good afternoon Tiger fans....We are back in town following a 65-60 road win at Tulsa yesterday. That game was really a team effort as everyone played double-digit minutes yesterday with just eight players dressed for the game. We got to the game and all 14 Tulsa players were out on the court shooting and I looked to the other end and saw just eight folks for us and wondered what we were in for! But our pressure defense that we played against SMU really gave Tulsa some problems, as their posts would catch the ball in the full court press and then would have some trouble passing out of the trap because our guards did a great job of denying their guards the ball.
We are now 3-3 on the road in league play with wins at Rice, UAB and Tulsa and losses at Marshall, East Carolina and Houston...and if you sandwich the second half of the ECU game with the first half of the Marshall game, we might have left another road win out there somewhere. Now we need to get our first league win at home.
This weekend will be our last shot for a home win or two. We host East Carolina Friday night in a Pink Zone night. That's also a Take a Kid to the Game night where all kids receive free admission with a paying adult. So we give you the OK for this game to wear Pink instead of your Memphis Blue in support of breast cancer awareness and research.
Then Sunday, we will celebrate Black History Month and will say a Fieldhouse good-bye to seniors Jessica Jackson, Paris Leonard and Ashley Thornton. I am officially feeling my age as I write that sentence as Paris Leonard was the first women's basketball signee I wrote about as the women's basketball SID five years ago! We have already seen this team accomplish some great things, start off 5-2, win our home tournament, go in to league play with a winning record and now tie the win total from last season with four regular season games still to go...There's still some goals out there, so even though we haven't pulled together a complete home game win in league play yet, don't give up on us and come out this weekend to say thanks to the girls and support them as they try to continue to build momentum for the league tournament.
Speaking of the tournament, just a reminder that this year's tournament is in New Orleans, Mar. 5-8th. We'd love to see you there and always have a great advantage when our spirit squad and band make the trip..we'd love to see our fans there too! But if you are unable to make it to New Orleans, the games can be heard on WUMR, 91.7 FM and if you have an All-Access subscription, you can watch the live streaming video from our website.
February 6, 2009 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Wow, almost 2 months since my last post...sorry Tiger fans, this season has been a blur! We are getting ready to load the bus in about 40 minutes and will drive down to UAB for a Saturday contest against the Blazers. This should be an interesting game because both teams have a trio of players who rank in the top 10 in the league in minutes played and this is also the first team that we will be seeing for a second time this season, so I'm curious to see how the players respond to having a chance to make changes against a team they had a good chance to beat in the season opener. I expect we'll see a few threes in this game if the first one is any sign of what's to come, let's just hope UAB doesn't hit 12 like they did in the first meeting! I'm going to guess the Tigers worked this week on closing out their respective shooters.
We had a light week this week....well, light for college basketball anyways. The girls still had class all week, but got both Sunday and Tuesday as days off, which is probably the first time since the holiday break they've had more than one day off. I'm sure their legs still feel pretty heavy, but when you are used to going six days a week, having multiple days off feels like a vacation!
Believe it or not, we have just three home games remaining. We host SMU on Thursday (Feb. 12th). I watched the first half of SMU's game at Southern Miss last night on CBS-C...USM prevailed in the battle for first in the league standings, so let's hope SMU burns some of the anger from that loss off at UCF this weekend before they roll in to Memphis on Thursday. The Mustangs will be repeating the four-game conference road swing that we went through two weeks ago, and it's a tough one...especially that UCF/USM travel. The game will be at 7 p.m. Thursday...hope to see you there!
December 18, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Hey Tiger fans.....just a quick note to say hello from the Bahamas. My laptop battery is about to die (I'm in the lobby of our hotel), but I did load a photo gallery of our first two days here. We arrived Tuesday night a bit behind schedule, then got up early Wednesday for an 8 a.m. practice and then a catamaran trip where the team got to snorkel. The photo gallery is here: Photo Gallery From Catamaran trip
November 3, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Well Tiger fans, if you can believe, this is game week. The women's basketball team will play an exhibition game against DT-3 (also known as Team Essence on the earlier schedules) at 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Yes, a.m. We are bringing 22 buses worth of elementary school kids to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse for the exhibition game to kick off the Classroom on the Court program that Conference USA put together for this season in women's basketball. There is a website where teachers go to get information about each C-USA women's basketball team that they can use to teach math and geography for elementary school kids throughout the Mid-South. And the kids who come to the game go pick up a worksheet for that game. When they complete the worksheet and turn it in, they earn points for their school. The school with the most points at the end of the season wins a prize.
Two C-USA women's teams already have an exhibition game under their respective belts. Marshall won its exhibition opener 78-41 with sophomore Tynikki Crook picking up where she left off from her freshman season with a double-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds.
UTEP defeated St. Mary's 59-40. The Miners went 16-0 in conference play last season, but graduated or lost eight players off the roster, so the 59 points scored was a bit under their 71.4 ppg average last season. Pre-season Player of the Year Jareica Hughes was the lone Miner in double-digits, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting.
Tuesday night, in addition to being Voting Day for those of you who have not yet voted in early voting (don't worry, I'll be standing in line tomorrow as well!), will be our Memphis men's basketball exhibition game against Christian Brothers, and will be another exhibition night for a fellow C-USA women's program as SMU hosts the Houston Jaguars, a team that featured former women's player Melissa Abraham for a couple of exhibition games last season.
Admission to the Memphis women's exhibition game on Friday morning will be free. Parking will still be charged and be warned that the flat lot across the street is a permit-only parking lot during the school day, so you could feasibly be ticketed (you've been warned!). Maybe this is a good time to mention you can purchase a season-long parking permit in the garage for all women's basketball games for just $45 at the ticket office. I believe Lynn Parkes worked with the FedExForum folks last year to have them honor the parking passes as well, but don't bank on that just yet since we are a ways out from the FEF games (Dec. 3, Dec. 11, Jan. 29th).
October 21, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
I guess it's appropriate that Blog number 17 is coming 17 days before our first game. The team is now in full-fledged practice (although today is their day off) after a busy opening to the season. Seniors Paris Leonard and Ashley Thornton joined Coach McFerrin downtown at Conference USA Media Day. A photo gallery from the day's activities is below:
If you didn't get a chance to catch the live broadcast of the press conferences or the TV show, you can still view it at www.gotigersgo.com by clicking on our All-Access player. The video for both parts of the day are free to view.
The following day, the team took part in the Memphis Madness festivities, also down at FedExForum. Here is a link to the Photo Gallery from the Memphis Madness Festivities:
The team is back to work tomorrow and for fans who are members of the Fast Break Club, the team will scrimmage, then participate in the Fast Break Tip Off Dinner on Oct. 28th...so be sure to have your Fast Break Club membership taken care of before then! Membership forms are available here.
October 15, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Basketball season is about to step up to full throttle in a couple of days. We've kept the coaching staff busy as of late, getting in the media guides for the season on Monday morning and then having Coach McFerrin tape an episode of a Coaches' Show with Jeff Brightwell (which you can view under the All-Access player on our website at www.gotigersgo.com for FREE). Today (Wednesday), Coach McFerrin is speaking to Tiger Scholarship Fund supporters at a luncheon at the Holiday Inn on campus and tomorrow Coach McFerrin and seniors Paris Leonard and Ashley Thornton will join me downtown for Conference USA Media Day at FedExForum, then Friday night, the team will begin the season officially with practice.
Yesterday I went and sat through individual workout times and at the end of the session, Coach McFerrin mentioned that the date was the 14th and our first game was exactly one month away!
Fans can watch the activities from C-USA Media Day on our website at www.gotigersgo.com under the All-Access player. They will stream the women's basketball coaches press conferences beginning at 12:45 p.m. (assuming the men don't run long). Coach McFerrin will speak with the first group at 12:45, and Ashley and Paris will speak in the fourth group at 1:30 p.m.
From there, the Tigers will go around and do some local TV and print interviews, then at 3:46 p.m. (approximately), all three Memphis representatives will go on the CBS College Sports Women's Media Slam Live Show, which airs from the Grand Lobby of FedExForum. That can be viewed on CBS College Sports, which is channel 222 on digital cable; channel 152 on DishTV and Channel 613 on DirecTV.
October 3, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Good afternoon from the AOB! The women's basketball team has been in individual workouts all fall and is counting down the days until practice can officially start on Oct. 17th.
We finally have all the game times posted for the upcoming season. Still no word from Conference USA on any TV games, so hopefully we'll have that for you shortly.
Saturday is an off-day for Tiger football, so look for the Tiger women's basketball team out at the Juvenile Diabetes Walk out at Shelby Farms. The team will be out there from 8 a.m. until noon supporting the individuals and teams that are walking out around Patriot Lake to raise money for juvenile diabetes research.
Other than that, don't forget football next Friday night (Oct. 10th) against former C-USA foe Louisville will be an ESPN game. So wear blue and come out to the Liberty Bowl!
August 28, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Welcome to 2008-09!!! Women's basketball really got things rolling today with our annual Photo Day. We did head shots, set shots for the media guide cover, newcomer action photos, coaching group and action photos and a team photo...which is officially the most we have ever knocked out in one photo session in the time I've been at Memphis (which I'm surprised to say is nine years now, time flies!).
The team is up doing conditioning in the early mornings and will be able to start individual workouts some time next month. I know everyone is excited for the year to get rolling, as am I (I'd be more excited if the media guide was closer to being done!).
A couple of important dates to mark....next Friday (September 5th) is the Women's Basketball Golf Scramble. I know the Fastbreak Club folks work hard to get this outing pulled together and would love to see you there. The entry form is posted on our website at www.gotigersgo.com under women's basketball and Gaylon Hall's contact information is on there. Even if you can't golf, we'd love to see you there!
October 16th will be the day that Conference USA gets to meet Coach McFerrin officially as C-USA Basketball Media Day will be held in Memphis again at FedExForum. That will be a long day of interviews and will include a live TV interview with Coach and a selection of players on CBS College Sports...more on that to come. And I know everyone is waiting for a schedule....I promise that as soon as I see one, we'll post it and get started on helping you purchase your season basketball tickets. Keep checking our website!
August 18, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Well I guess I can stop calling these summer blogs now...The girls who were here for summer school finished exams last week and are likely back home enjoying a week or so off before returning to start the fall. Move-in day into the dorms on campus is Thursday, Aug. 21st for the entire U of M community, but since most of the team was here for summer school, they are already moved in and are probably enjoying some last days at home with their families while the rest of their classmates are just getting settled.
If you see Jeff Brightwell today, make sure to say Happy Birthday...I'm not going to reveal his age, but he emailed me and said he's now closer to 40 than he is to 30.
The tournament in the Bahamas has changed a bit. Mercer and Florida Atlantic are no longer our possible opponents in the draw. We'll open against Texas-Arlington on the first day of the tournament, and then face either Winthrop or Georgia Tech in the second round. We played Winthrop two years ago at the Louisville tournament and they were almost entirely a roster of sophomores then, so we could be facing a team with a lot of seniors on it. Georgia Tech sports a familiar face to long-time Tiger fans, as former assistant coach Sytia Messer is the associate head coach at Tech. She was promoted in May to the associate head coach spot after spending the past five years on the Tech staff.
Speaking of former Tigers in coaching, congrats to Jennifer Sullivan. Sullivan was named the assistant coach at McNeese State University back in July and will be coaching under another former Memphis assistant, Brooks Donald-Williams. Sullivan played at Memphis from 2001-2004 and finished with 800 career points, 310 rebounds and 99 steals. She then spent two years on the coaching staff at Rhodes before spending last season at Memphis.
July 31, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #12 -- Summer Update #6
Wow, over a month between posts...sorry about that, but July has pretty much found the women's basketball staff out and on the road. They had a few days to take a break from the road, but are just starting to trickle back in to the office.
The traffic is really starting to pick up in the AOB. I've seen a lot of the girls walking through on their way to the business office to turn in their book receipts for the summer session that is currently under way. And believe it or not, football reports to camp on Sunday night. It'll be a busy couple of days of meetings for the fall athletes, but that means summer has officially come to an end for a lot of AOB staffers.
Rumor throughthe grapevine regarding the women's basketball schedule is that one exhibition game and one non-conference game have been added to the draft of the schedule that's put together right now. Hopefully we'll have a schedule to share with everyone soon, but I will tell you to mark down Nov. 28-29th for the Women's Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament and it looks like right now, our home opener could be Nov. 14th. With Memphis hosting the Conference USA volleyball championships, the Elma Roane Fieldhouse will have a busy November and will hosts quite a few games/matches in a really short time span. It's a real balancing act to keep the facility set up for both volleyball and women's basketball and the student managers for both teams do a great job of getting stuff broke down from one practice and set up for the next one.
And while not women's basketball-related (yet), please check out our volleyball, and men's and women's soccer pages. On Tuesday we taped the first of what will be weekly "Virtual Coaches TV Shows" through the All-Access part of the website. Jeff Brightwell, voice of our women's basketball team, was the host with all three of the head coaches (M&W Soccer, volleyball), and all three pre-season shows are being offered for free. We will stream as many home games this season as our one-camera and short-staffed video department can swing, and Brightwell will also voice the play-by-play for both soccers and volleyball for select games.
June 30, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #11 -- Summer Update #5
Sorry for the delay in between posts, but things are kind of slowing down here in the AOB for a little bit from the media relations front (except for the football media guide!). On the other side of our wall, the women's basketball staff is getting ready for the upcoming Evaluation Period which runs July 6-15th. In that short period of time, the women's basketball staff plans on hitting 15 different tournaments around the country, including stops in Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Florida. Following that evaluation period, there is a quiet period from July 16th-July 21st before the next evaluation period begins on July 22nd. That evaluation period runs until July 31st and will find the four members of the staff out on the road at 15 different tournaments, covering stops in Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, New Yok and Mississippi. The first signing day for the kids of the 2008-09 signing class will be November 14th until November 21st for the early signing period. The regular signing period will be April 16th to May 21st. That's 30 stops in about 16 total days.
And speaking of newcomers, the staff still is not done adding newcomers for the upcoming season. Check back sometime next week and we should have information regarding another newcomer for the upcoming season!
June 17, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #10 -- Summer Update #4
Monday night was the Fast Break Club's Meet and Greet with the entire coaching staff, a bunch of folks that it's hard to get all in one room! The reception was well-attended and thanks to everyone for coming out. I loaded a photo gallery from the evening's festivities to our website at www.gotigersgo.com. In the left hand column of our home page, go to Photo Galleries, and the gallery is loaded there. It is also located in the link below:
A majority of the team is on campus and taking summer classes. The team will have a new strength and conditioning coach in the next week or so. As you may know, Carrie Yerty left Memphis to become the volleyball head coach at Wyoming, meaning her husband, Lee, also left the staff at Memphis, where he was the strength and conditioning coach for volleyball and women's basketball, as well as tennis. So there has been a bit of upheaval for the team since the season ended with an entirely new coaching staff and some new support folks as well.
Next up on the women's basketball calendar is recruiting, which begins on July 6th. The coaches will hit the road to begin the evaluation period for the next recruiting class, looking for likely four more players with the senior class of Paris Leonard, Jessica Jackson, Jessica Hall (assuming she is back for this season) and Ashley Thornton heading in to their final collegiate basketball seasons.
Gaylon Hall, the Fast Break Club president, would also like to get a couple of dates out there for women's basketball fans. July 23-25th marks the River City Classic, an event that the Fast Break Club works the concession areas for, and is in need of volunteers. Also, on September 5th, the Fourth Annual Women's Basketball Golf Scramble will be held in Bartlett at Quail Ridge. Entry forms are located at www.gotigersgo.com in the right hand column of the women's basketball page. Hole sponsorships are also available and prizes are being collected to be used as door prizes. So if you can help out, contact Gaylon at 901-372-4677 or by email at email@example.com.
June 9, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #9 -- Summer Update #3
Well as summer heats up, the women's basketball staff is now all in the office and is preparing for a pair of summer camps, beginning with a team camp this coming weekend (June 14-15th) and then the individual camp (June 16-19th).
While that is going on, former Lady Tiger Tamika Whitmore has helped her new WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun to first place in the WNBA Eastern Division with a 7-1 record. Whitmore, who was traded from Indiana in the pre-season while she was playing over in Europe, is averaging 15.2 ppg and 5.0 rebounds per game and has helped the Sun to four straight wins. That streak will be on the line Tuesday, June 10th when the Sun plays at the Lynx at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.
For fans who cannot catch the ESPN2 game, the WNBA is also offering 90 games on their live webcasts for free. I saw the link on the Sun's website under their schedule page: http://www.wnba.com/schedules/ in the right hand column.
June 5, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #8 -- C-USA Plans for 2008-09
Mark your calendars, the Lady Tigers will participate in the 2009 C-USA Championships Mar. 5-8 in New Orleans, La., as Tulane will host the next C-USA Championships....Cafe du Monde Beignets here we come!
May 28, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #7 -- Summer Update #2
May is almost over and Coach McFerrin has been on staff for just over a month now. Speaking of staff, she rounded out her staff with the addition of Tempie Brown (Northwestern) and Danielle O'Banion (Minnesota) in the past week and now has just one spot remaining to fill -- the team's Director of Basketball Operations spot.
Since a lot of folks ask me this question, the Director of Basketball Operations (DBO) for the women's basketball team is kind of our team's traveling secretary. He/she makes sure that Lou Strasberg with Travelennium gets our schedule prior to each season. From there, Lou books hotels and flights and it becomes the DBO's job to make sure the team gets to the airport/gym on time and to get the team checked in and out of hotels once we arrive. On the road, the DBO also coordinates all the meals, whether it's finding a restaurant to eat out at or arranging for pre-game meals in the hotels we stay at...it's a busy, busy job. He/she also has to make sure that we pack everything that the coaching staff may need during the game (wipeboards, markers, water bottles, cough drops, gum, it's an endless list sometimes).
The DBO also oversees our student managers, of which we currently have three great managers -- John Nunnery, Ashley Snyder and Cornelius Sullivan. In pre-season, that foursome handles everything from uniforms and shoes getting ordered and logged in to the inventory to doing the team's laundry (both at home and on the road...we have some student managers who can probably tell you the location of laundrymats in a variety of cities across the country!). Once the team is in town and practicing, the DBO and the student managers arrive early to set the gym up for practice, run the clock during practice and keep any stats/video required, then break down practice in order for the Tiger volleyball team to get ready for their respective practices. The Elma Roane Fieldhouse is a pretty busy place from about noon to 6 p.m. on non-game days.
So, that's the short list on what the final piece of the coaching staff puzzle will possibly be doing. With each coaching staff, the duties vary a little, but in general, that's how that position has worked in the past. So the next time you meet the team's Director of Basketball Operations, be sure to thank them for keeping our travel party in line. We are a group of about 25 folks when we are on the road and keeping us all moving in one direction is quite the challenge!
P.S. -- Speaking of student managers...congratulations to former student manager Toby Bush. Toby was a student manager with women's basketball during his undergraduate and graduate career before joining former assistant coach Brenda Welch-Nichols staff at Mercer. Last year, he was the head coach at Neosho Community College in Kansas, but will be back closer to home after getting the women's head coaching job at Pearl River Community College a couple of weeks ago. Congrats!
May 19, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #6 -- Summer Update
Well the Lady Tigers are all back in their respective homes for a couple of weeks for the summer now that exams are done and books are turned back in, but the women's basketball office is still hoppin' over in the Athletic Office Building. Memphis will be adding one more assistant coach in the coming days as Northwestern's Tempie Brown starting logging some hours in the office last week. Coach Brown will serve as one of Coach McFerrin's assistants for the upcoming year, meaning there will be one more assistant coaching hire and a Director of Basketball Operations hire still coming up. Coach Wholey is working on putting together a session for women's basketball camp, so watch for that on www.gotigersgo.com as well in the upcoming weeks.
Memphis added two more signees in the late signing period (see their release on www.gotigersgo.com on the women's basketball main page), bringing a northeastern flavor to the roster. One signee from Brooklyn will be just the fifth Lady Tiger ever from the state of New York if my research so far is correct. The last New Yorker on the roster was Annquinnette Burkes from Buffalo from 1996-1998. Prior to that, the 1979-80 team had three New York residents: Nancy Lemp (Islip Terrace), Marcia Monk (Warwick) and Mary Ann Scheirmeyer (Averill Park).
The Tigers are also getting their first-ever player from the country of Cameroon and the second from the continent of Africa if research so far holds up. If anyone knows of any other athletes who have played for the Lady Tigers that hail from outside the United States, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org...Here's what I have so far:
Aroha Jennings, New Zealand, 2006-08
Charity Egenti, Lagos, Nigeria, 2002-2004
Jordie Soso, Australia, 2002-2004
Kalara McFadyen, New Zealand, 2000-2002
Some of the team will roll back in to town for summer classes next month. The full summer session begins on June 9th and will give incoming student-athletes a chance to earn some credits before the regular academic session gets going, allowing them to carry a more manageable course load during the academic year when the team is traveling and missing class time. The full summer session ends August 15th. For those who drive by the university daily, you'll still notice some traffic. That is the pre-summer session, which runs May 12th-May 30th. In total, the university has four summer sessions (pre-summer, full summer, 1st half and 2nd half).
April 24, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #4 -- Good Luck Tigers!
Yesterday marked the last day of classes for the 2007-08 Memphis women's basketball roster and today (Thursday) is Study Day across campus, meaning I envision lots of U of M students doing some last minute cramming for exams that begin tomorrow. This afternoon is the M Club Senior Luncheon, where all seniors who have finished their eligibility and are getting ready to graduate will be honored by their respective head coaches and will get introduced to the M Club staff. M Club Director Tim Duncan has made some big changes in the M Club this year, and is trying to connect our current student-athletes with former student-athletes to help everyone get off to a good start in their post-U of M lives.
Good luck to the Lady Tigers with exams....study hard and have a good summer!
April 22, 2008 -- Assistant SID Tammy DeGroff
Blog #3 -- Season-Ending Banquet
First off, let me apologize for the lack of posts on the women's basketball blog. In deciding to launch a blog for women's basketball, none of us knew that a coaching change was going to be so close around the corner, and without a staff, I opted to not ask the girls to post in order to give them some time to process everything that was going on.
Sunday night, April 20th, was the season-ending Fastbreak Club banquet. The Fastbreak Club did a great job of making sure the girls were recognized for their work this season and handled what could have been an uncomfortable situation very well. Freshman Savannah Ellis received the Most Improved Player award, much-deserved for a player with a bright future ahead of her. Junior Paris Leonard was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player, quite an honor for a player who will likely be our next Lady Tiger to 1,000 career points in her senior season. I don't know what Lady Tiger fans thought, but I thought the biggest growth in Paris' game from her sophomore to her junior seasons was definitely her defense. Jessica Hall received the Most Valuable Offensive Player Award. Imagine all those points having to sit on the sidelines over the past two seasons due to injuries for J-Hall...she's made a really remarkable comeback and was also one of 14 players from across all NCAA divisions (I, II and III) across the country to be selected a finalist for the V Foundation's Comeback Award, quite an honor. Ashley Thornton received the Lady Tiger award and the Les Phillips award. Both are awarded to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a Lady Tiger. The Les Phillips award is a perpetual award, meaning anyone who walks in the women's basketball office back by the door to Coach McFerrin's office can see the plaque in honor of the former Lady Tiger booster hanging on the wall.
A little later that evening, new head coach Melissa McFerrin landed in Memphis and in arriving at the hotel, crossed paths with some of us leaving the banquet. I think it's fair to say everyone was impressed and excited to meet Coach McFerrin, although we did kind of ambush her in the lobby of the hotel -- sorry coach! So far, Coach McFerrin has had a busy few hours. She had not even been in Memphis for a full 24 hours when she had already knocked out some local school visits and made an appearance at the Tiger Scholarship Fund spring tour event at the DeSoto Civic Center. Today (Tuesday) is the last day women's basketball can be out on the road recruiting, so today will likely be more of the same for Coach McFerrin. Women's basketball enters a Quiet Period beginning on April 23rd, which lasts until July 5th. The NCAA's website defines a Quiet Period as the time when coaching staff can only make in-person recruiting contacts at the member institution, which means Coach McFerrin, in addition to having to hire a staff, will also only have the opportunity to host potential recruits here at the U of M for the remainder of this recruiting cycle. She can begin the evaluation period for her class of 2010 on July 6th when the next Evaluation Period begins.
For this year, the late signing period for basketball ends on May 21st. As of now, Memphis did ink two signees earlier this season (NCAA rules prohibit me from mentioning them again in a second release, but you can find the first releases I did on both signees under women's basketball, news headlines, on our website). For fans who may not know, women's basketball has 15 scholarships. We had 14 players this season, including one walk-on, and lost two to transfers during the season and one to graduation next month (Aroha Jennings).
March 1, 2008 -- Senior Forward Aroha Jennings
My Last Game in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse
Looking back on my freshman year, I definitely thought that it would take forever to get to my senior year, but it came with a blink of an eye! It took a while for me to really grasp the fact that my last home game is this weekend. It hit me, and I thought wow, I will never play in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse ever again after this game and it is sad. I have come to feel so comfortable in the fieldhouse. The small environment of the fieldhouse makes it feel like home and I wouldn't have it any other way. The crowd and fans are so close and it's a good feeling knowing we have support right there. It makes me enjoy playing in the fieldhouse so much more. All the people that have continually come to support us thru thick and I want to say a big thank you, as you have such a big impact on our success. Thank you.
The team this season has grown and developed so much and we have really proven a lot of people wrong. We have an amazing fight and have really come to learn how to play well with each other. We have fought thru a lot of adversity, but we have overcome it all together!. It's going to be difficult to leave the team, coaches and managers because we are like a little family and many of the relationships I have developed can never be replaced. It's a very overwhelming experience for me to know that I will never play with this team ever again, because no one team can ever be the same. In my case, this could possibly be one of my last games and I definitely have a lot of mixed emotions and am sad to know that my college career here in America is coming to an end.
My time here at Memphis has literally been some of the toughest years of my life, both physically and mentally, but it has made me stronger and the things that I have been through will carry me through life and the real world. I truly treasure my time here in Memphis and in the United States, even though it has been very tough at times. I have seen the world, played basketball at an intense and amazing level that I would not have be able to experience many other places, and I would never change my decision to come here.
I have had the time of my life, met some amazing people and have had the opportunity of a lifetime to be in America, receiving an education and competing as a basketball athlete. It will be a very emotional time for me entering my last game here in for The University of Memphis as a Lady Tiger for the last time, but I will be strong and take it all in and I will never forget my experiences here and will always be grateful.
I want to thank my family, my boyfriend Efrem, and my friends for always being there for me through the thick and thin. I would not have been able to do it without you all.
Your New Zealand Lady Tiger
February 28, 2008
Women's Basketball Blog Entry #1
Hey Lady Tiger fans...just a quick note to let everyone know that Saturday's game time against UCF has been changed since we did all the print pieces (posters, media guides, game-day programs). We will now play at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. That game will also be Senior Night for Aroha Jennings, who will do our first player blog in the next day or so. Thanks and Go Tigers! Tammy DeGroff, Athletic Media Relations (td)