Tigers Squander 19-Point Halftime Lead in 66-60 Loss at UTEP
Jan. 8, 2012
EL PASO, Texas - -
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (11-4, 1-1 C-USA) had a 19 point half time lead, but a 15-0 UTEP run out of the gates in the second half put the Tigers on their heels, as the Miners out-scored Memphis 44-19 in the second half in a UTEP 66-60 win, Sunday. The loss pushes the Miners up as one of Conference USA's four teams with a 2-0 league mark following the first weekend of play.
The Tigers got out to a quick 6-0 start and got their first 10 points from five different players. Nicole Dickson then knocked down back-to-back three-point field goals to force a UTEP timeout before the first media timeout at 15:54 with Memphis up 17-6.
In the locker room before the game, Tiger head coach Melissa McFerrin stressed defensive rebounds, controlling the paint and taking care of the basketball. Memphis had 20 defensive boards in the first half, and held a slight edge 20-10 on points in the paint in the first half, but 12 Tiger turnovers allowed UTEP to get the Miners and the crowd back in to the game, closing the lead to 12 before the Tigers used a 7-0 run to help push the lead back out to its 41-22 break.
The second half was the polar opposite of the first, and this time, it was McFerrin who could not wait for the first media timeout of the second half, as UTEP used a series of points in transition to pick up their energy and the crowd. Memphis' problems were compounded when Jasmine Lee left the game for an eight minute or so period in the early minutes of the second half. Without Lee's presence in the paint, her teammates resorted to ill-advised jumpers outside the paint, shooting just 21.1 percent in the second half. By the time Lee got back in to the line-up after being okayed by the Memphis training staff, the once-19 point lead was just single digits.
Freshman Jenzel Nash scored 17 points off the bench for UTEP, while Kayla Thornton added 17 points to be the lone two Miners in double-digit points. UTEP used scoring from nine different players, and erased a Memphis edge on the boards in the first half by out-rebounding Memphis 32-14 in the second half.
Memphis was led by Lee's 16 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Nicole Dickson added 15 points, all in the first half, and a team-high nine rebounds, while Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir added 10 points, including a triple late in the second half that pulled Memphis to just three down. But the Tigers kept fouling shooters, and UTEP closed out the game at the free-throw line for their 13th win of the season.
The Tigers do not have a mid-week game this week, and are next in action against East Carolina, Sunday, at 1 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. With the loss, Memphis falls to 1-4 in road games on the season.