Tigers Secure Overtime Win Over Southern Miss at Free-Throw Line, 89-85
Feb. 12, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - February is the year's shortest month, but it just got a little bit sweeter for the University of Memphis women's basketball team (14-9, 7-3 C-USA) after an 89-85 overtime victory against visiting Southern Miss (7-16, 3-7 C-USA).
The win completed Memphis' first sweep of Southern Miss in a season since Conference USA aligned in to divisions five years ago and moved them in to a tie for first place in C-USA with Tulane.
"We have such a great trust in our man-to-man defense, but again, switching to the zone late kind of messed up what kind of rhythm they were in and we got some rebounds late in regulation and in the overtime," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "I thought we got just the best shots. Brittany Carter got some great shots, some she hit, some she didn't and we just made plays, that made the difference in the game."
Memphis was led by 25 points and eight rebounds from Brittany Carter, none of the points bigger than her three-point play in the game's final minute to send the contest to overtime. Ramses Lonlack added 16 points and six rebounds, while Savannah Ellis had 12 points and nine rebounds. LaToya Bullard added 11 assists.
The first swipe of the broom came via a 5-0 Memphis lead after a jumper from senior Bullard and a three-point play from leading scorer Brittany Carter. Memphis pushed the lead to 10-4 before a 9-3 run by USM tied the game at 13-13.
Ellis gave Memphis a brief lead with a shot on the block before Pauline Love's 3-pointer gave the Eagles their first lead. Love missed the first game this season against Memphis due to a concussion, and made her presence known from the tip this time. Two possessions later, Taylor Mumphrey scored to pull the Tigers even at 19-19, but Tanesha Washington hit another trey for USM to make the score 22-19.
A 6-2 run with points from Lonlack, Carter, and Mumphrey put Memphis back on top briefly (25-24), before back-to-back 15-footers from Love put the Eagles back in front 28-25.
Southern Miss would push the lead to 32-28 despite three more Mumphrey points, but a Winchell 3-pointer and Winchell's transition assist to Chatia Kelsey gave Memphis a 33-32 lead with six minutes left in the first half. USM used baskets by Washington and Danielle Washington to take the lead back before Winchell's second trey evened the game again at 36-36.
Love, who led all scorers in the first half with 17 points, would knock down a three-pointer for Southern Miss, but Memphis ended the half with a 10-2 run to make the halftime score 48-41. Five of those Tiger points came courtesy of Carter after offensive rebounds.
Both teams shot better than 60 percent from the field in the first half with USM shooting 18-29 (62.1 percent) and Memphis firing 20-33 (60.6 percent). It was the most points Memphis had scored in a first half this season, as well as the most points they've given up in a first half this season.
Southern Miss would begin the second half on a 4-0 run before Lonlack connected from five feet. Carter would steal the ensuing inbound pass and find Lonlack for another score before Carter herself netted a 3-pointer two possessions later putting Memphis ahead 55-47.
Ellis scored in the paint to give Memphis it's biggest lead at 57-47. Despite more paint points from Ellis and Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins Memphis would go cold from outside for a stretch in the second half, and USM would fight all the way back to take a 63-62 lead with nine minutes to play on free throws by Rucker after a big 3-pointer from Erin Gatling the possession before.
USM would extend the lead to 67-62 before Dickson scored five straight points for Memphis to tie the game at 67-67 with 6:46 remaining. The tie wouldn't last long as USM scored a 6-0 run of their own to force a Tiger timeout with less than six minutes to play.
Memphis finally chopped the lead to two (77-75) with just more than a minute left on Winchell's transition feed to Lonlack, who also had four key free throws late. After a Washington free throw made the score 78-75, Carter would tie the game for Memphis via a three-point play with 30.8 seconds to play, a play that would send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Southern Miss took an 82-78 lead after two free throws from Love, but Carter would score on back-to-back possessions, the second of which was a transition feed from Bullard, to tie the game with 2:55 to play.
Mumphrey gave Memphis a brief lead with a free throw, but USM's Danielle Johnson returned the favor with two free throws for the Eagles, after Mumphrey fouled her on a scrum for a rebounds off Mumphrey's missed second free-throw attempt.
Ashlee Kelly pushed the lead to two before Winchell hit a three from the wing to put the Tigers back in front 86-85. After a Tiger defensive stop, Winchell would go 1-2 from the charity stripe with 15.4 seconds remaining to make the score 87-85. Rucker would miss a shot in the paint for USM, and the ensuing jump ball gave the Tigers possession after Memphis had lost the jump ball at the tip of overtime.
But USM would quickly foul before the clock started, sending Mumphrey to the line, where the junior made both free throws sandwiched around a USM timeout to give the Tigers the 89-85 win.
"We've been missing that," McFerrin said. "The last few games we have been riding our guards and tonight was the first time in about eight games that Savannah Ellis wanted the ball in the middle of the floor and I thought those players were absolutely outstanding, particularly in the first half. Then Taylor hits two huge free throws to secure the win right at the end of the game. I couldn't be more proud of our team."
Memphis returns to C-USA play on Sunday for a 2 p.m. Central Standard Time tipoff against UCF at Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast via radio on FM 91.7 WUMR.