Women's Basketball Freezes C-USA Opener Losing Streak With 77-72 Win Over Tulsa
Jan. 7, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - With a 77-72 win over Tulsa (6-6, 0-1 C-USA), the University of Memphis women's basketball team (8-6, 1-0 C-USA) froze its Conference USA opener losing streak at seven.
The Tigers treated their fans, who were admitted to the game for free due to winter weather conditions, to a show as they overcame a 10-point second-half deficit, and had five players score in double figures during the victory. That marked the first time since Jan. 23, 2004 that Memphis had five different players score double-digit points.
"That's what we've talked about," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "Brittany Carter certainly is a great offensive player, but we're getting contributions from so many people. Nicole Dickson comes off the bench with 10, Alex (Winchell) gets back in to a good offensive grove with 15, Savannah (Ellis) gets 12, Ramses, if she plays her game, she gets 10 or 12, and it's great to put 77 points on the board. That doesn't happen a lot in conference play and wow, five players in double figures, I like that."
Tulsa, jump-started by freshman Taleya Mayberry's four early points, began the game on a 6-0 run, before back-to-back buckets by Brittany Carter put the Tigers on the board.
Alex Winchell gave Memphis its first lead at 7-6 with a 3-pointer from the wing. Carter pushed that lead out further with a three-point play, and two free throws on Memphis' two ensuing possession. Carter would finish the first half with 15 points and seven boards for the Tigers.
Mayberry finally ended a string of six straight Tulsa possessions that ended in turnovers with a two, cutting the Memphis lead to 12-8. After a Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins free throw, Mayberry would net a 3-pointer to pull Tulsa to within 13-11 before back-to-back buckets by Jermaine Kermis tied the game, and gave Tulsa a 15-13 lead.
Memphis would take the lead back, 19-18, when Winchell found LaToya Bullard for a bucket during a three-on-two break.
A short 5-0 run found Tulsa up 28-23 before Winchell's two free-throws and Dickson's drive-and-score pulled Memphis to within one (28-27).
The Tigers stayed within two for the next few minutes, but Tulsa would end the half on a 12-6 run that made the score 46-38. The run included two 3-pointers from Vaughan, the second at the halftime buzzer. Tulsa would finish the first half shooting 18-35 (51.4 percent).
"It wasn't pretty, it was a slugfest," McFerrin said. "It might have been one of the worst halves of basketball we've played in a long time in the first half, but I was proud of our players. We challenged them at halftime in the locker room and we held Tulsa to 26 points in the second half and that's the only way we came up with the win. I thought our players did a really nice job playing our two defense, which I think honestly was the difference in the game, it simply broke Tulsa's momentum offensively."
Tulsa pushed their lead to 10 (48-38) to begin the second half before Memphis went on an 11-0 run to take the lead back with three buckets from Ellis, two buckets from Ramses Lonlack, and a free throw from Taylor Mumphrey.
The two teams would trade buckets and remain tied at 57-57 until the 10:42 mark when Winchell, who'd finish with 15 points and five rebounds, connected from three-point land. Fifty-seven seconds later Winchell would net another trey to put Memphis up six , 63-57.
After a Tulsa bucket, Winchell would record an assist to Nicole Dickson to extend the lead back to 65-59. Teka Brooks would score for Tulsa, but Lonlack swished two free throws to again push the lead to six.
Memphis then took control of the game. Lonlack would give Memphis its biggest lead yet with a jumper two possessions later to make things 69-61. That lasted until Bullard's tip to Dickson for two in transition that gave the Tigers a nine-point lead at 71-62.
A 6-0 run pulled Tulsa back within three before Carter followed her own shot with a deuce to halt the run. Another Carter basket gave Memphis some breathing room, but Mayberry and Vaughan would both score for the Golden Hurricane to come back within three (75-72) with 41.1 seconds to play after Carter had fouled out of the game for the Tigers.
With 20.9 seconds on the clock, Bullard was 1-2 from the line for Memphis. Tatum Beer would miss on a long three-point attempt for Tulsa, and Bullard rebounded and drew another foul. Bullard would again go 1-2 from the line, and Beer would again miss from three as the clock ran out.
The Tiger defense improved in the second half holding Tulsa to only 10-29 shooting (34.5 percent).
Carter led Memphis in scoring with 19 points, 15 in the first half, adding nine rebounds. Savannah Ellis added her second double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Alex Winchell knocked down 15 points and had a team-high five assists. Ramses Lonlack overcame a slow first half start to finish with 12 points and two steals, adding seven rebounds, while Nicole Dickson shot 5-for-7 from the field, scoring 10 points and adding two assists.
Senior Larrissa Williams had a double-double to lead Tulsa, scoring 18 points with 12 rebounds and adding a block. Taleya Mayberry was 7-for-10 from the floor, scoring 17 points and leading Tulsa with four assists. Kara Vaughan and Jermaine Kermis each added nine points in the loss.
Memphis will be back in Conference USA action in less than 48 hours Saturday afternoon, when they host SMU at 2 p.m. Central Standard Time. The game has been moved downtown to FedExForum. The Tigers will be trying to avenge a 71-57 loss to SMU a season ago. The game will be broadcast via radio on WUMR 91.7 FM.