Lady Tigers Fall in Front of Record UTEP Crowd, 80-58
Feb. 10, 2007
EL PASO, Texas - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team's first-ever trip to UTEP was full of bumps, beginning with the Lady Tiger travel plans and ending with an 80-58 loss to the host Miners in front of a UTEP home-record crowd of 7,212, Saturday night. The Lady Tigers were also short-handed as freshman guard Hope Adams, a starter in the last nine games, remained in Memphis for a family emergency.
"That run that they made late in the first half hurt us, it put us away," Head Coach Blair Savage-Lansden said. "We opened up the game not being very smart as a team because we knew they were suspect on their weak-side defense and rather than being patient and reversing the ball, we took bad shots and had bad shot selection."
Memphis had a better start than the last four games through the first four minutes, trailing just 9-6 at the first media timeout in front of a sizeable Miner crowd that was the result of a `Pack the House' promotion. But following the first media timeout at 15:54, UTEP sped up the offense and started dictating the pace while hitting 56.3 percent from the floor and out-rebounding Memphis 13-5 by the second media timeout at 11:41. That was all part of a 22-1 Miner run that opened the lead up to 44-18 before Memphis hit back-to-back threes to cut the deficit to 20, trailing 44-24 at the half. Miner freshman Jareica Hughes led all players with 13 first half points, handing out just one assist as the league's third-leading assist-per-game player instead took the ball to the hole herself, hitting 5-for-6 from the field.
It looked like UTEP was going to blow the game open, going up by as many as 26 early in the second half, but Memphis battled back as Savage called two quick timeouts. The Lady Tigers would pull back to the halftime 20-point deficit, but UTEP's Timika Williams scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half in the paint on either short jumpers or second or third offensive putbacks. In all, UTEP scored 40 of their 80 points in the paint and 21 points off offensive-rebounds.
Aroha Jennings led Memphis with 18 points, while Paris Leonard added 15 points. Leonard scored eight of those in the last two minutes of the game with the game out of reach. Leonard led Memphis with nine rebounds, but three UTEP starters scored double-digit points to keep the Lady Tigers at bay.
Memphis will return for its final home weekend beginning Thursday night against Southern Miss. That game tips at 7:05 p.m. Fans who wear pink will receive free admission as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Day. For fans who don't own pink, they can bring a dog bone and receive $1.00 admission. The bone will then be donated to the Memphis Humane Society. The Lady Tigers will close out the 2006-07 home schedule with a 2:05 p.m. match, Saturday, against UCF. All fans will receive free admission as part of Lady Tiger Fan Appreciation Night for the UCF game. That will also be Senior Night for Devin Necaise and Megan Gooch, who will be honored post-game.