Turnovers Cost Tigers on the Road, 68-62
Feb. 7, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas - - For the second straight Conference USA road game, the University of Memphis women's basketball team (13-9, 6-3 C-USA) committed 25 turnovers, and again it cost them, this time in a 68-62 loss at Houston (12-19, 6-3 C-USA), Sunday afternoon.
"We are not a good enough team to walk in to anyone's gym and play with no effort and can still expect to win," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We did not play with effort until the end. When we did, you could see what good things happened, but we have to do that consistently."
This marked the second straight weekend the Tigers were at the top of the C-USA standings and were heading on a road game at a team that stood in second place in the league standings, this time it was at Houston following a 17-point loss at East Carolina the previous weekend.
And the Cougars were the aggressor from the tip, going right at the Memphis defense, which was sluggish getting back in transition, forcing McFerrin to call a timeout at 14:24 in the first with her team trailing 13-7 and with four of the five starters sitting on the bench while she tried to find some energy.
Similar to the ECU game, Memphis gave up back-to-back threes to go down by double-digits, but this time Memphis had an answer, when Nicole Dickson knocked down a triple from the top right elbow, starting a 9-0 Memphis run that pulled the score to 26-20, and forcing Houston coach Joe Curl to call a timeout.
Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins came off the bench and shored up the Tiger rebounding, grabbing three boards after Memphis had just two offensive boards in the first 12 minutes of the game. Luellen-Higgins gave Memphis some much-needed time off the bench as Taylor Mumphrey had picked up two quick fouls, and Savannah Ellis had one foul and was getting pushed under the basket while trying to rebound and off her balance while trying to catch the ball on offense.
Houston came out of the under four minute media timeout and Brittney Scott took over for the Cougars, scoring seven straight points to push the Cougars in front 35-29 at the half. Memphis had used back-to-back buckets from Brittany Carter to narrow that halftime score, but when LaToya Bullard picked up her second personal foul on a loose ball scramble, the senior point guard went to the bench, green-lighting the Cougars' full court defense, which resulted in a late Memphis turnover and meant the Tigers never connected on a shot. Memphis was hurt by 14 first half turnovers, unusual for a team that averaged just 16.0 turnovers a game coming in to Sunday.
Memphis seemed be poised to cut the deficit early in the opening minutes of the second half, cutting the deficit to four two different times before Houston used a 16-6 run to blow the lead open to double-digits at 61-43 with 6:28 to play.
But LaToya Bullard converted three straight drives to start a 15-0 Memphis run that trimmed the score to 64-60 with 57 seconds to play. Following a Winchell triple and back to back layups, the Tigers would get another good look at a three from Winchell, but this one drew iron and bounced to the Cougars.
On the other end, Brittney Mason hit both ends of a one and one and the Cougars held on for the 68-62 victory.
Carter led Memphis with 17 points, while Bullard added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Brittney Scott led Houston with 19 points and five rebounds, and Courtney Taylor become the Cougars' all-time career leader in double-doubles with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Houston win.
With the win, Houston now moves in to a three-way tie with Memphis and Tulane for first in the conference at 6-3. The Cougars now hold the tiebreaker over Memphis and the Tigers will face Tulane on the road in a couple of weeks.
The Tigers will return home for a Conference USA weekend next week, hosting a Southern Miss squad that has won three straight games, Friday, at 7 p.m. and a UCF squad that has a two-game winning streak, on Sunday, at 2:00 p.m. Both games will be played in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.