Lady Tigers Still Winless in League Play
Jan. 27, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Despite leading at various times throughout the game, including a 43-42 lead with 6:34 remaining in the game, the Lady Tiger basketball team (2-16, 0-7 C-USA) remains winless in league play following a 65-54 loss to UCF (5-14, 3-5 C-USA), Friday night. The loss is Memphis' 10th straight loss heading into a televised home game, Sunday, against Southern Miss at 1 p.m.
"We had them on the ropes," Head Coach Blair Savage said. "Then they fought back and during the last five minutes of the game, they got eight offensive rebounds and with all those second chances, we just dropped our heads and quit. We keep telling this team that we can win games, but not until we play some defense and start rebounding."
Memphis opened the game struggling under the boards, but with some timely three-point shooting, kept exchanging leads with the Golden Knights until UCF pulled ahead by six, 15-9, as Memphis missed a barrage of shots. Gresh Gorman would answer back with a bucket and two free-throws to cut the lead to 15-13 with 6:14 remaining in the half, but UCF would again stretch the lead, this time to 22-17 at the 3:16 mark. But Memphis would again mount a charge, with Tamika Butler hitting a pair of free-throws and Ashley Howard getting lose for a lay-up setting up a Devin Necaise three that would tie the game at 22 all with 1:18 remaining in the half. UCF would answer back with a buck, and Butler would answer back with a three to put Memphis up 25-24, but the Golden Knights got the last laugh of the half with a jumper from Jackie Akers with :02 seconds remaining in the half to head into the locker room up 26-25.
As they had for most of the first half, the Golden Knights came out in the early minutes of the second half and pounded the ball inside, exploiting Memphis for seven straight points and forcing Savage to call a timeout less than two minutes into the half. Down by as many as eight two trips later and a Devin Necaise steal fed ahead to Gorman started a 7-0 Memphis run that pulled the Lady Tigers within one at 35-34 with 14:23 remaining. Memphis would take the lead 36-35 off a Jamie Bradley jumper at 13:42, then the two teams would trade the lead four more times, with UCF erasing a three-point Lady Tiger lead off three jumpers from Jackie Akers. When Akers hit her third jumper at the 6:12 mark, Memphis would lose the lead for good. Memphis made one last push and got to 54-50 with 1:41 remaining in the game off a three from Butler, but UCF would convert 11 of 16 attempts from the line in the final minute of the game for the deciding 65-54 final score.
UCF held Memphis' top two scorers out of double-digits as Paris Leonard finished with nine points on 4-of-16 shooting, while Devin Necaise finished with seven points on 3-for-17 shooting. Gorman and Butler led the team with 11 points apiece, while Ashley Howard added 10 points. Necaise finished with a career-high eight rebounds, with five of them coming in the first half.
"Devin has to know that having back-to-back 20-point scoring nights like she did means she moves up on other teams' scouting reports," Savage said. "And it's almost February, Paris is not a freshman anymore. It's time to step up and get it done."
Memphis will round out this home stand with a Sunday game against Southern Miss, which lost 73-70 to UAB, Friday. That game will be televised live on CSTV beginning at 1 p.m.