Lady Tigers Drop Second Home Game of the Year
Jan. 28, 2005
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Despite leading a majority of the game, the University of Memphis women's basketball team (10-10, 3-4 C-USA) suffered its second home loss of the season to Louisville (14-5, 5-1), 75-68, Friday night.
Memphis came out of the gates aggressive on defense and capitalizing on the offensive end as seven different players scored in the opening 20 minutes to help Memphis shoot out to a nine point lead at 24-15 with 9:13 in the half.
But two turnovers and a pair of fouls stopped any Memphis momentum as the Lady Tigers got passive and stopped rebounding. The Louisville momentum that helped the Cardinals close to 36-33 at the half carried over into the second half, as Memphis seemed to be waiting for the momentum to break.
"I took a time-out early in the second half and challenged our team's intensity and integrity," Blair Savage said. "We had that glassy-eyed look like `here we go, here's the run' and we bailed them out by fouling with under five seconds left on the shot clock. Then Louisville would go to the line and either make a free-throw or get the offensive rebound and use that rebound by either picking up another foul or scoring it."
The first of four ties came at the 15:29 mark as Louisville' Jessica Huggins hit a jumper. Memphis answered with a pair of missed threes from Raven Rogers and Devin Necaise before freshman Marie Reid grabbed an offensive board and put Memphis back on top 47-45 at the 14:43 mark. Reid was then whistled for a foul on the other end and Tatjana Kiseljova stepped to the free-throw line and hit a pair of free-throws to force the second tie of the night.
Again, Memphis would answer back, as Victoria Crawford hit one of two free-throws to Memphis back up one, and a Necaise jumper made it 50-47, Memphis with 13:30 to play. That lead would stretch to as many as seven twice, before Connie Neal hit a three and Yuliya Tokova hit a jumper to cut the lead to 56-54 at the 9:10 mark. A pair of Jazz Covington free-throws then tied the game and gave Louisville its first lead of the night at 57-56 with 7:45 to play.
It was the worst possible time for a Lady Tiger scoring drought, but Memphis went from the 11:34 mark to the 6:46 mark without a point put on the board, and that was all Louisville would need to keep the remainder of the game out of reach.
"They went more to Covington in the second half," Savage said. "And she really responded and that wasn't just the fault of our posts, it was a total team letdown on defense. When our guards didn't pressure the ball and defend one-pass away, it made it so they could drive the ball and get the fouls and that's why they went to the free-throw line so many more times (Louisville had 35 attempts from the line, while Memphis had 12). It wasn't the officiating, it was they drove the ball and we didn't."
Covington, the C-USA player of the week for the past week, led all players with 19 points, while Angel Bradley and Huggins each added 13. Connie Neal came off the bench to add 10 points, including 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range.
"In the first half, we were ready to play," Victoria Crawford said. "But it's almost like in the second half we got comfortable with the lead, even though it was three or so points. They had the momentum at the end of the first half and it carried over into the second half."
Memphis will face Cincinnati, Sunday, at 2 p.m. in a game that will be televised live locally on UPN-30, and nationally on CSTV. The re-air of the Louisville game will be carried in Memphis on Time Warner Channel 6 beginning at 6:30 p.m., Saturday night.