Miners Snap Tigers' Winning Streak, 60-55
Jan. 13, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - -
By: Colby Wilson
The Memphis Tigers women's basketball team (13-4, 2-1 C-USA) had it 10-game winning streak snapped with a 60-55 loss to visiting UTEP (10-5, 2-1 C-USA) Thursday night, in the first Conference USA contest at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse this season.
Hot shooting from UTEP (10-5, 2-1 C-USA) combined with an ice-cold night from the U of M spelled doom for Memphis (13-4, 2-1 C-USA), who fell to the Miners, 60-55. The loss also ended Memphis' 18-game winning streak inside the friendly confines of the Elma Roane Field House.
Memphis tried to send a message early that it was going to focus on defense in this game, especially with the status of junior guard Brittany Carter questionable as the evening started. Sophomore Mary Jackson made her first career start for the Tigers, replacing a still-banged up Brittany Carter. Carter would make an appearance off the bench, but appeared to have lingering effects from her injury in the win at East Carolina, Sunday.
A 10-0 run early in the first half pushed the Miners out in front. UTEP mixed defenses early, and started to press the Tigers immediate, and it paid dividends, as Memphis committed 10 first-half turnovers.
Memphis' shooting was off early on. The Tigesr shot just 25.8 percent (8-for-31) in the first half, but managed to stay in the game thanks to aggressive defense that forced 11 UTEP turnovers in the half.
Memphis trailed 35-25 at halftime and came out cold in the second, making just three shots in the first eight minutes of the second half.
Meanwhile, UTEP junior Dietra Caldwell converted her first four three-point attempts of the evening, an area that the Miners exploited early in the second half. Extending the Tiger defense to cover the Miner's three-point barrage left the U of M susceptible to the backdoor cuts, which UTEP used to build a lead as much as 17 early in the second half. Caldwell finished with 17 points in the contest for UTEP.
Senior Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins made a significant contribution off the bench for Memphis, with a career-high eight points and five rebounds to her credit. Her rebounds and success in the paint helped get her teammates fired up and helped Memphis cut the double-digit deficit to nine at 59-50 with 23 seconds to play following a pair of free-throws from Nicole Dickson, who finished with seven points on 2-for-9 shooting.
Alex Winchell added a pair of late threes to get Memphis as close as four, but UTEP closed out the game at the free-throw line.
Junior Ramses Lonlack led the Tigers with 16 points and a season-high six steals, including the 200th of her career. She is now ninth all-time on the Tigers career steals list with 203. Junior Jasmine Lee finished with seven points and 12 rebounds, but started the game 0-for-8 from the field.
UTEP was led by Dietra Caldwell and he r17 points, including 4-for-6 from three-point range. Ashley Milian added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Anete Steinberga was a tough matchup for Memphis all night, finishing with 13 points and three rebounds.
The Tigers will have a quick turnaround to try to get back on the winning track, with a trip to rival UAB for a 2 p.m. tilt, Sunday.