Cold Shooting Night Haunts Lady Tigers
Jan. 10, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team dropped its second straight Conference USA contest, shooting just 26.2 percent from the floor in a 61-47 loss to Marshall (10-5, 2-0 C-USA), Thursday night. With five different players averaging double-digit points coming in to the game, only Latoya Bullard and Jessica Hall managed double-digit points, while leading scorer Paris Leonard was held to two points and second-leading scorer Ashley Thornton was held to four points.
"I thought we played really good defense at times, but we just got stagnant on offense," Head Coach Blair Savage-Lansden said. "We just stood around at times and the thing is, we worked on shooting more this past week in practice and then we just let our offense frustrate us during the game."
Memphis looked rattled early, as an aggressive Marshall team shot over 55 percent in the opening eight minutes of the game, driving the basket and converting behind a lagging Memphis defense down the court. But Memphis turned up the defensive pressure and forced Marshall, a team that ranked second in Conference USA in turnover margin, to 16 first half turnovers. While the defense was rattling the Thundering Herd's offense, Bullard hit a three and then a jumper to cut what had been a 24-13 Marshall lead to 24-17 with 7:38 remaining in the half. The defensive pressure kept Marshall scoreless for another three minutes, but Memphis could only muster two free-throws from Aroha Jennings before Marshall used a pair of layups from Chantelle Handy and Casey Baker to stretch the lead back out to nine. But a pair of Lady Tiger lay-ups again cut in to the lead and when Bullard worked the clock down and hit a jumper with 11 seconds remaining in the opening half, Memphis went to the locker room down 29-25.
But the second half opened slow for Memphis, as the Lady Tigers, who had only sent Marshall to the free-throw line seven times in the first half, sent the Herd to the line seven times in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half. Marshall hit 6-of-7 free-throws, again creating a double-digit lead at 37-27 with 17:32 to play.
That lead stretched to as many as 16 as Memphis managed just seven points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. But Memphis stayed with the defense and switched to a zone defense, throwing off the Marshall offense again and allowing Memphis to claw back to an 11-point deficit two different times in the next four minutes. Both offenses then scored in spurts before a 6-2 Memphis run that was capped by a Jessica Hall three-point field goal cut the deficit to 52-42 with 6:02 to play.
Memphis forced quick and contested shots on the next three trips down the floor, but then committed three turnovers in two minutes. And when Handy broke loose behind the Memphis defense for another layup, the momentum shifted enough toward Marshall's end of the floor to allow the Herd to close out a 61-47 victory.
Four different Marshall players scored double-digits, led by 14 points from guard Kizzy Hart. Handy added a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Tynikki Crook added 13 points and two blocked shots. Casey Baker added 12 points, six rebounds and a game-high six assists while battling foul trouble throughout the night.
Bullard led Memphis with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting, while Jessica Hall added 14 points and a team-high four steals. But the remainder of the team shot 6-for-42 from the field and Memphis was out-rebounded 55-40. Memphis remains at home and will face East Carolina, Saturday, at 1 p.m. That game was moved back to 1 p.m. from its original 7 p.m. start time to accommodate travel plans.