Tigers Need Overtime to Pick Up Third Straight C-USA Victory
Jan. 23, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - A fast start and ferocious finish gave the Memphis Tigers (11-7, 4-1 C-USA) their eighth win in 11 games, and third straight Conference USA win, 59-58, in overtime versus Rice (8-10, 2-3 C-USA) at FedExForum.
The U of M built a 13-0 lead to start the game, had to fight back to get into overtime, and then pulled off some final-minute defensive heroics to record the win.
"We've really been concentrating on getting stops and rebounds in the last minutes of the game," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "That's how we're going to come out on the positive end of games, and I think the players have really taken that to heart. Down by five with 44 seconds to go and to come away with a win, these are the kind of games that really put you over the top in terms of how you're sitting in the conference standings."
The Tigers built that 13-0 lead with a mix of seven points from Brittany Carter, a jumper from LaToya Bullard, and putbacks from Taylor Mumphrey and Savannah Ellis. It didn't hurt that Memphis grabbed 14 of the game's first 18 rebounds (eight of the first nine).
Memphis' man-to-man defense frustrated the Owls into missing their first nine shots from the field and going scoreless through the game's first eight minutes plus. The Owls would make just three of their first 28 shots, and shoot just 15.2 percent (5-33) from the field in the first half.
Rice finally got on the board when sophomore D'Frantz Smart stole a ball from Tiger Alex Winchell and laid the ball in with more than eight minutes of action gone.
Smart would add three more points over the next four minutes, and Owl Tara Watts connected on a 3-pointer that cut Memphis' lead to 16-8. Memphis pushed the lead back to 20-8 after a left-handed layup by Bullard and another putback by Ellis with 5:45 left in the first half.
An 8-1 Rice run pulled them to 21-16 after Amenemope McKinney's two a 1:17. A Carter drive resulted in two for Memphis 30 seconds later, but Smart would net a three on the ensuing Rice possession to make the score 23-19 at halftime.
The second half began as Rice's Jackie Stanley and Ellis traded jump hooks. After a Smart free throw, Rice's Morgan Mayse netted four points, including a put-back with 16:36 to play that gave Rice their first lead. That lead lasted all of 13 seconds before Nicole Dickson's 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Tigers a 28-26 lead right back.
With 14:55 to play Stanley would put the Owls back in from 29-28, however, with 12:37 to play Ramses Lonlack's two free throws would return the favor for Memphis.
A 6-1 Rice run would give the Owls their biggest lead of 35-31, but Lonlack willed herself to four straight points, second two of which tied the game 35-35 with 8:19 to play.
A Jessica Goswitz put Rice up 38-35. Memphis twice cut the lead to one before Mayse put Rice up 44-40 with a deuce as the clock neared two minutes to play. Chatia Kelsey pulled Memphis back within two, but a free throw by Mayse and two by Smart sandwiched a Carter turnover, and put Rice up 47-42.
Carter hit a runner and was fouled putting her at the line with 30.1 seconds to play. Carter would miss the free throw leaving the Tigers down 47-44, but Winchell rebounded keeping Memphis in possession. Carter would net a two from the baseline with 13.1 to play pulling Memphis to within 47-46.
Smart was fouled quickly, but missed both free throws for Rice. Bullard beat everyone in transition following the second miss, and was fouled sending her to the line with 7.1 seconds left. The first attempt hit three sides of the rim before bouncing out, but the second was true tying the game at 47-47. Rice was unable to get a shot off, and the game went to overtime.
The Tigers would make their first eight free throws in overtime, four by Carter and two apiece from Bullard and Ellis. Those eight points were part of a 10-4 run that gave the Tigers a 57-51 lead.
Four quick Stanley points pulled Rice to within 57-55 before Dickson scored from the block off of a Memphis inbounds play. Tara Watts chopped the lead to a single point with a trey for Rice.
After a missed Carter jumper, Mayse would miss a trey for Rice that Ellis would rebound while drawing a foul. Ellis missed both free throws with 11.1 seconds to play, but Kelsey would steal the ball on Rice's final possession giving the Tigers the one-point 59-58 win.
The Tigers are now 4-1 in C-USA action, and 4-3 all-time against Rice with two straight victories.
Memphis will go back on the road for a Conference USA game Thursday when they visit Marshall at 6 p.m. Central Standard Time. Then Memphis will head to East Carolina, where they'll take on the Pirates at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be broadcast via radio at WUMR 91.7 FM.