Tigers Hang On For First Conference Victory
Jan. 13, 2013
MEMPHIS - - The University of Memphis (10-6, 1-1 C-USA) built a 16 point first half lead and held on to it for a 63-57 win over Southern Miss (9-6, 1-1 C-USA) at FedExForum, Sunday.
It was a slow offensive start for the Tigers, as the Golden Eagles forced early Tiger turnovers and the Tigers responded by missing some layups inside early. The Tigers also kept sending USM to the free-throw line, where USM scored four of their first eight points. But freshman Asianna Fuqua-Bey stepped up when leading scorer Nicole Dickson picked up her second foul by getting three rebounds and four points from the free-throw line to help Memphis build a 13-8 lead.
With Dickson on the bench, Fuqua-Bey took over, scoring 12 points to help the Tigers stretch the lead to 22-11 with 5:51 left in the first half. But Southern Miss had foul troubles of its own, with leading scorer Jamierra Faulkner on the bench with two personal fouls. But even without Faulkner, Memphis kept giving Southern Miss chances from the free-throw line, which helped negate a 5:39 stretch without a field goal for USM.
Southern Miss got after it on the glass in the second half, coming out with a 13-2 run that cut the halftime lead of 16 to just three at 39-36. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir responded with a jumper, but USM kept coming, using a steal and a coast to coast layup from Jerontay Clemons to trim the Tiger lead to one at 41-40 with 13:35 in the second half remaining.
But Memphis, which had worked the ball inside in the first half to Fuqua-Bey, went inside to Pa'Sonna Hope, who knocked down back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to five, at 45-40. Southern Miss answered with a deep three at the shot clock buzzer from Tanecka Carey, but the Tigers responded with buckets from Abdul-Qaadir, Ariel Hearn and Nicole Dickson to stretch the lead back to seven at 50-43. Southern Miss kept trying to trim the lead down, getting it to four points three different times, and to three twice, including a 58-55 Tiger lead with 4:50 left in the game. Ariel Hearn had the answer to that run from USM, draining a deep three from the left side to push Memphis back up 61-55. The Tigers missed the front end of one-and-one free-throws down the stretch, but defensive rebounding allowed them to hand on for the first C-USA win of the season.
Hearn led Memphis with 17 points, while Fuqua-Bey posted her first career double-double, finishing with 14 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
Tanecka Carey led all players with 21 points, including 3-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc, while Jerontay Clemons finished with 15 points and a game-high five steals.
Memphis remains at home and will host East Carolina, Thursday, at 7 p.m. back in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. ECU led at the half at league-leading UTEP, but fell, 81-66, to fall to 11-3 overall and 1-1 in C-USA.