Women's Basketball Run Falls Short of Upending USM, 74-65
Jan. 10, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Turnovers and missed free-throws hurt the University of Memphis (7-9, 0-3 C-USA) women's basketball team in a 74-65 loss to Southern Miss (9-7, 2-1 C-USA) on Saturday afternoon. Southern Miss converted 22 Memphis turnovers in to 28 points on the other end, including a game-sealing steal and lay-up from Tanesha Washington with 15 seconds remaining in the game. Meanwhile, the Tigers converted just 6-of-17 free-throw attempts, leaving 11 points on the floor and possibly more after missing the front end of multiple one-and-ones.
"We had so many things working against us," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We turned the ball over a little bit, we missed a boat load of free throws, and I think we just got our heads rattled a little bit. If I'm not mistaken, we were playing like we were just trying to stay in the game and not let it get out of hand. Obviously, when they go up big it is hard to come back against a team like that. I will give our team a lot of credit. We talked a lot after the game today about our ability to make a come back, unfortunately we did it a little bit too late. Things like this are important because this team is learning not to quit and not to roll over when they're down."
The Tigers, who had led 35-31 at the half, looked like for a second game in three days was trying to push the Tigers in to a 20-point deficit, as USM led 68-50 with 4:14 to play. But Ashley Thornton knocked down one of two free throw attempts, for her only point of the game, to start a 15-0 Tiger run that would pull the score to 68-65 after Paris Leonard knocked down her second straight three with 58 seconds remaining.
Following a Southern Miss timeout, Memphis had played tough nose defense and had run the shot clock down to two seconds when Washington dribbled in to the lane. Her Memphis defender overshot too far to the right side of the left-handed shooters side, allowing Washington to scoop the ball into the net as the shot clock rang for a 70-65 USM lead.
Memphis quickly in-bounded the ball and got in to its offense on the other end, when Washington stepped in front of the first pass from Alex Winchell to Ramses Lonlack and took it the length of the floor to push the score to 72-65 with 12 seconds remaining to seal the USM victory. Washington finished with 12 points, while Pauline Love and Stephanie Helgeson did most of their damage inside, racking up a pair of double-doubles in the process. Helgeson led the team with 18 points and 12 rebounds, adding a game-high six blocked shots, while Love added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Memphis was led by a 25-point effort from Paris Leonard, who was 4-for-10 from three-point range, while Ramses Lonlack added 15 points and six rebounds and a game-high four steals. Senior forward Ashley Thornton was held scoreless from the field for just the third time in her career, going 0-for-7, but finishing with seven rebounds and a team-high seven assists.
The Tigers now take to the road for a four-game road swing, starting at Rice on Friday. That game can be heard on WUMR, 91.7 FM.