Lady Tigers Fall Despite Double-Double From Gooch
Jan. 8, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Despite a frantic push in the last three minutes of the game and a career-high 12 points and 12 rebounds from junior Megan Gooch (Georgetown, Texas/Georgetown), the University of Memphis women's basketball team fell 81-68 to East Carolina, Sunday.
Memphis opened the game on a 4-0 run and seemed to be well into the flow of the offense when junior guard Devin Necaise (Necaise Crossing, Miss./Hancock HS) was kicked in the face on a scramble for a loose ball. Necaise left the game, and with her out of the Lady Tigers' offensive flow, East Carolina exploited Memphis with a 19-2 run that even Necaise's return at the 11:54 mark in the first half could not slow down.
"We just keep digging ourselves holes and cannot get out," Head Coach Blair Savage said. "It's not the big things that are doing us in, it's the little things like rebounding and jumping to the ball. If we take care of that, we can win some ball games, but you have to be mentally tough to make yourself do that when you're tired and that's where we're struggling with right now."
Trailing 40-29 at halftime after allowing ECU loose on the perimeter for five three-point field goals on 11 attempts (45.5 percent), the Lady Tigers worked the entire second half and trimmed the lead to seven, 52-45, with 14:36 remaining after Gooch, Ashley Howard (Durant, Miss./Holmes CC) and Tamika Butler (Mariana, Ark./Lee HS) kept scoring. Unfortunately, East Carolina also kept scoring and when ECU's Cherie Mills scored six points in less than two minutes, the Pirates had built a lead back up to double-digits, where it would remain for the rest of the game. Mills had spent most of the first half in foul trouble, entering halftime with just two points and two personal fouls in nine mintues of play.
"Mills did a great job for ECU," Savage said. "She really came and put that team on her back in the second half and their coaching staff did a great job of getting her back into the offensive flow of the game."
Memphis had three players in double figures, led by freshman Paris Leonard (Memphis, Tenn./Wooddale), who finished with 19 points in her second career start, her first in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Necaise recovered from her upper-eye cut with 16 points and two steals in 33 minutes, while Gooch added a career-high 12 points and 12 rebounds (her first career double-double), in the loss.
Memphis will next hit the road and will get a sneak peek at the site of the 2006 C-USA tournament when it faces SMU, Friday. The Lady Tigers will then visit Tulsa for the first time on Sunday. ECU returns home to face Houston on Friday.