Charlotte Comes Back to Win Foul-Fest, 72-65
Jan. 9, 2005
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers (14-2, 2-0 C-USA) came back from a 18-point deficit to win a foul-fest against Memphis (7-8, 0-2 C-USA) in Charlotte, Sunday. Memphis was whistled for 31 fouls in the game, while Charlotte was called for 16 fouls. A stretch in the second half where Memphis committed 11 turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the second allowed Charlotte to come back and eventually grabbed the win.
"We were changing defenses, and it worked in the first half, " Head Coach Blair Savage said. "Then we got away from contesting their shot in the zone and we didn't continue to rebound weakside, and that enabled them to get their run going. They would rebound and throw it back inside and we didn't get to it, you have to give all the credit to Charlotte for that."
Memphis led at the half 36-25 after breaking a 9-9 tie at the first media timeout with six straight points from Victoria Crawford, stretching the Lady Tiger lead to 15-9 at the 12 minute media timeout just four minutes later. Charlotte finally broke the scoreless streak, but Memphis answered with points from five different players to break the lead open to double-digits 26-14.
But the hometown 49ers came back. With Memphis being whistled for 15 fouls compared to 6 for the 49ers, Memphis spotted Charlotte 15 attempts from the free-throw line while only going to the line for four attempts. Charlotte called their second time out of the half at 5:42 and switched up the full-court press, resulting in a quick 49er bucket from Tameka Smith with 4:11 remaining, then Charlotte forced another turnover and converted a bucket and a foul at the 4:08 mark when Sakellie Daniels picked up her only steal of the half and converted the bucket and one.
Memphis managed to weather the remainder of the first half and to hold on to a double-digit lead, but not before the Lady Tiger post players got in to some serious foul trouble. Kaneshi Hart finished the first half with three fouls, while Victoria Crawford, Tamika Butler, Jennifer Sullivan, Latrice Booker and Megan Gooch all picked up two first half fouls.
That first half foul trouble would raise its head in the second half as three Lady Tigers fouled out and forced the Lady Tiger bench to juggle the line-up.
Charlotte cut the lead to single digits at 38-47 off a layup from Sakellie Daniels before Jennifer Sullivan scored six straight points to put the lead back to 51-41, Memphis at the 10:32 mark. But turnovers and fouls would plague the Lady Tigers the remainder of the half before Daniels hit back to back threes to tie the game at 53 all with 7:46 in the game. Tamika Butler answered with a three of her own to retake the lead, 56-53 on the next possession, but the stop was a temporary fix as Courtney Williams backed Jamie Bradley under the basket and converted the basket and the free-throw to give Charlotte the lead for good at 62-60 with 3:21 remaining.
"If you look at the stats, the only difference was the free-throws," Savage said. "We shoot the same percentage and we outrebounded them. A lot of turnovers didn't help us, but those fouls hurt us. We work all the time on dribble-pentration and when to go and when to stay and pop. And their press was great, they do a good job of getting right into it. We tried to hurry and go, but Charlotte did a very good job. They got in their press immediately and we tried to beat it one-on-one. We didn't run the ball immediately in bounds and then let us get ourselves set up and then go the other way."
The Lady Tigers will return to the friendly confines of the Elma Roane Fieldhouse for their Conference USA home opener against Tulane, Friday. That game is set to begin at 7 p.m. with the first 200 fans receiving a free fleece blanket. Memphis will wrap that home stand with a 2 p.m. game against Southern Miss, Sunday. The Lady Tigers will honor all players with retired jerseys at that home game.