Tigers Earn C-USA Road Sweep, 60-57 at Southern Miss
Jan. 17, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - - Memphis battled foul trouble and a Southern Miss team that was playing with no fear, but managed to grab their first C-USA road sweep since 2003-04.
"I'm not quite sure when I've seen two games back-to-back that were that ugly, but I did think the second half we finally found a little bit of defensive intensity," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. " In the second half, Brittany Carter got a couple of layups that helped us, but their personality at the tip was not what we planned or game-planned for, they took it right at us and we had foul trouble early."
The Tigers led early, 4-0, following back-to-back buckets from Savannah Ellis inside. But USM, playing without leading scorer and rebounder Pauline Love, started collapsing in the paint, putting three players in the painted area and daring Memphis to shoot from outside.
Memphis couldn't get anything to fall, and an inspired USM squad got 10 of its first 15 points from Tanesha Washington to take a 15-10 lead. But Memphis got back-to-back buckets to start a 7-0 run that pushed Memphis back in front 20-15, forcing a USM timeout following a Winchell three.
But Memphis committed fouls on the next three trips down the floor, then Savannah Ellis committed her second personal foul trying to track down an offensive rebound, and USM knocked down 3 of 4 free-throws in that stint to pull to just two down at 20-18 with 7:34 to play in the half.
With the fouls against Memphis 9-1, USM scored six straight points from the free-throw line to tie the game at 20-20 with 6:24 to play and took the lead off a bucket and one from Candace Rucker. But Ramses Lonlack responded with a steal and a full court drive to push Memphis back ahead 24-23. But Memphis picked up its 11th and 12th fouls of the half to keep allowing USM to go the line, where they knocked down 10 of 14 tries to lead 27-26 with 3:56 to play.
Memphis opened the second half with more foul trouble, as Taylor Mumphrey picked up her third foul, allowing USM to step to the line and take the lead, then use a 9-3 run to go up 42-37 after Memphis was out-rebounded 3-1 and committed three turnovers in the first four minutes of the half to fall behind.
The Tigers caught a break with Rucker picked up her fourth foul with 13:40 to play in the game, but Memphis still struggled to take advantage, not managing their second field goal of the second half until Carter stuck in a bucket in the paint with 12:02 to play. Memphis managed just two field goals (both from Carter) in the first nine minutes of the second half, but birthday girl Alex Winchell knocked down her third triple of the game to knot the game at 44-44 with 10:35 to play, forcing a USM timeout.
The Tigers took their biggest lead of the game 51-44 using a 14-0 run, forcing a second USM second half timeout. USM brought Rucker off the bench and while Memphis tried to bottle her up, it was Washington who scored four straight field goals, including a three point field goal off a handoff with the shot clock winding down that pulled USM to 51-47 down. But Rucker picked up her fifth personal foul on a scrum for a defensive rebound.
Memphis' foul tendancies started to haunt the Tigers again, as USM converted 3-of-4 from the free-throw line to pull within one at 51-50 with 4:55 to play, before Dickson was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free-throws to keep the Tigers up by a bucket. The Tigers then got three points from Carter to build a little bit of a cushion at 55-50 when the under four minute media timeout came around at 2:26.
USM turned up the full court pressure, and trapped Winchell at the half court line, where Winchell was stripped, then called for a foul that sent USM in to the double bonus. Ashlee Kelly hit one of two tries at the line, pulling USM to 57-54 down.
Bullard drew a foul while the USM defender tried to strip the ball, and hit both free-throws to push Memphis ahead 59-55, but Washington knocked down a ball off an offensive rebound to pull USM to 59-57 down. Memphis went to the other end, and Winchell was whistled for a charge, giving the ball back to the Golden Eagles with the score 59-57. Southern Miss missed the field goal and in a scrum for the loose ball, Mumphrey picked it up and drew the USM foul. But the junior missed both free throws. USM tracked down the loose ball, but lost control of it and couldn't push back Winchell, who was screening her player off the rebound, giving Memphis the ball back with 13.9 seconds to play.
Winchell drew a foul and hit one of two attempts at the line, and USM corralled the ball and tried to get to their end of the floor, but Ramses Lonlack jumped on a diagonal pass and drove the length of the floor as the clock expired, getting pushed into the goal standard as the game ended with Memphis up 60-57.
Carter finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in the win, while Lonlack finished with 14 poits and a game-high four steals. Winchell added 10 points, including a trio of triples.
Memphis will return home for a one-game C-USA week, Saturday, when the Tigers host Rice at FedExForum at 11 a.m. That game will also be broadcast live on CSS.