Cold Shooting First Half Haunts Lady Tigers
Jan. 20, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team (3-18, 0-7 C-USA) outscored East Carolina 38-33 in the second half, but a 17.6 shooting stroke in the first 20 minutes of the game gave Memphis a 69-57 loss to East Carolina, Saturday. With the win, ECU improves to 9-11 and 4-3.
Memphis had its hands full early as East Carolina used all three players over 6-3 throughout the opening half to pound the ball inside, scoring 28 of their 36 first half points in the paint despite Memphis managing to get four Lady Pirates (including Cherie Mills) a pair of first half fouls. Mills played just six minutes for ECU off the bench in the first half, but still managed to score 10 points with eight rebounds.
"We did a good job of getting stops and getting hands on a lot of balls, then they put Cherie Mills in, and she's a big load," head coach Blair Savage-Lansden said. "We did a good job of defending her on the two and three passes, but when they got that ball reversed, she just pinned us down and scored. "
Mills' 10 first half points, combined with junior forward Nicole Days hitting the glass for eight boards, forced Memphis to settle for shots from the outside, and Memphis was not able to convert, hitting just six shots on 34 tries from the field, including just 2-for-12 shooting from three-point range. Memphis trailed 36-19 at the half, the second straight game that ECU had held its opponent to just 19 first half points.
But Memphis came out in the second half and used a 10-2 run, which included three-point field goals from Devin Necaise and Paris Leonard and a 30-second shot clock violation on the defensive end to cut the deficit to single digits, 38-29, with 15:48 to play. ECU answered with a layup from Mills, but the Lady Tigers again cut the lead to single digits on Aroha Jennings' first three-point field goal of the game. The deficit would be six, with Memphis down 40-34, off a Paris Leonard offensive put-back, but ECU then turned up its transition game, pulling back out to a double-digit lead with an 8-0 run that was fueled by four points from Jasmine Young.
Memphis would claw back to single digits two more times before ECU would slow down the game in the last four minutes, taking their time to set up an offense for Mills, who would draw a Lady Tiger foul and knock down a jumper to push the lead to as many as 17 with 2:20 to play. Memphis would scramble to again cut the deficit following a pair of free-throws from Se'erra Fantroy, but a pair of threes from Hope Adams and Fantroy were all Memphis could manage from the field, allowing ECU to escape with the 69-57 victory.
"We did a good job of making that run later in the second half," Savage said. "But we've got to do that earlier, we have to stay focused and we've got to be consistent. That's what we're fighting to find, is that consistency. When we make those runs, we can't play those five players the whole half. We're deep enough to make that, we just have to have consistency."
Aroha Jennings would lead Memphis with 14 points, while Hope Adams added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. Ashley Thornton posted her sixth double-digit rebounding effort of the year with 13 boards.
For ECU, Mills would lead all player with 26 points, adding 10 rebounds while playing just 19 minutes. Jasmine Young would add 12 points and five assists, while Nicole Days crashed the weak side boards and finished with 13 rebounds, including 10 defensive.
Memphis will now embark on its longest road trip of the conference schedule, playing the next three games as the visiting team, starting Saturday at UAB, at 6 p.m. That game will be a homecoming for Memphis sophomore Ashley Thornton would hails from nearby Pinson, Ala.