Three-point barrage propels Tigers over Thundering Herd
Jan. 6, 2011
By: Colby Wilson
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis' women's basketball squad (12-3, 1-0 C-USA) made its second of four visits to the downtown spaciousness of the FedEx Forum, Thursday night, coming away with an impressive 74-54 victory over the visiting Thundering Herd of Marshall.
Marshall (4-9, 0-1 C-USA) came out strong in the first half, using three-pointers from junior Alaya Mitchell and sophomore Tessa Johnson to jump out to an early 15-4 lead.
The Tigers were placed at a significant disadvantage early in the first half, when junior Brittany Carter picked up her second personal foul at the 15:12 mark in the half. Carter, the Tigers' leading scorer, played just five minutes in the first, collecting two points.
Dickson continued her super-sub role in the first half, getting 12 points in 14 first-half minutes off the bench. For Dickson, it was her third contest in a row scoring in double-figures off the bench.
Despite being down by 11 early, Memphis clawed its way back into the game behind stellar defense and trailed by just four points, 30-26, at halftime. It was the first time the Tigers have trailed at halftime since being behind at Kansas, 48-29, after 20 minutes on Nov. 27, 2010.
The Tigers wouldn't trail long, scoring six points in the first 29 seconds of the second half to take their first lead of the contest. Two steals by junior Ramses Lonlack led to four Lonlack points, while senior Savannah Ellis chipped in with two of her own to take the lead.
Lonlack broke out of a prolonged slump, scoring in double-figures for the first time since netting 14 points on Dec. 11, 2010, against Arkansas-Little Rock. Lonlack finished with a season-high 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting.
A Johnson three-pointer with 8:49 remaining in the second half brought Marshall back to within two points, 53-51, but the Tigers ripped off a 16-2 run over the ensuing 5:47 to take a commanding 69-53 advantage.
After struggling from the field in the first half, shooting just 32.3 (10-for-31) from the field, Memphis' second half shooting was exemplary. The Tigers were a white-hot 58.8 percent (20-for-34) from the field in the game's final 20 minutes.
Entering the contest, Memphis was shooting 24.5 percent from three-point range, but nailed 50 percent (8-for-16) against the Thundering Herd, led by Dickson with four and Winchell with three.
The Tigers only true struggles came at the free-throw line, where the U of M finished a season-worst 6-for-17 (35.3 percent).
Dickson was on fire throughout the contest, finishing with a career-high 26 points, including a career-high four three-point baskets. Carter came back strong in the second half to finish with 10 points and a season-high five assists.
Winning the turnover battle has been a big part of the Tiger game-plan this season, and this game was no exception. The Tigers forced Marshall into 27 turnovers, the seventh time in the past eight contests Memphis has forced opponents to turn the ball over at least 20 times.
Ellis got a piece of history against the Thundering Herd; with her second block, in the second half on Marshall's Tynikki Crook, tying former Tiger Tamika Whitmore at No. 2 on the career blocked shots list with 108.
The Thundering Herd were short-handed in their efforts against the Tigers, dressing just eight players in the game.
For the Tigers, it marked the ninth victory in a row, and the second straight season Memphis has opened conference play with a victory. It also reverses the Tigers' fortunes at the FedEx Forum, where Memphis entered tonight's match-up having gone 1-12 in its previous 13 contests.
The Tigers will have a couple of days to rest before taking to the road for their first C-USA road test, Saturday, when they travel to Greeneville, North Carolina to take on East Carolina in a 12:00 p.m. (CT).
After collecting just five assists in the season's first 13 games, Jasmine Lee now has seven in her last two contests, including a career-high four against Marshall. In her last five games, Lee is averaging 12.2 points and 10 rebounds.