Women's Basketball Snaps Five-Game Skid
Feb. 13, 2005
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - With Jennifer Sullivan scoring eight of Memphis' first 10 points of the game, the Lady Tigers jumped out to a quick 15-5 lead against Saint Louis (3-21, 2-9 C-USA) and spent the rest of the game fighting to hang on to a double-digit lead in a 70-52 victory, Sunday. The win improves Memphis' record to 11-13 overall and 4-7 in Conference USA and snaps a season-high five-game losing streak.
The Lady Tigers would start the game with a new line-up, moving senior Victoria Crawford, the 2004 Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year, back to her sixth-man slot, and starting freshman Jessica Hall, who was the lone Lady Tiger in double digits in a loss at Houston. The move put additional scoring pressure on Sullivan, and the senior responded with six straight points, then feeding Raven Rogers for a bucket before adding her eighth point of the game less than three minutes in.
"It's great when you get someone who is hot like that right away," Rogers said. "She got us going and really created chances for the rest of the team that way."
The Lady Tiger lead would hit 14 points twice in the first half before Saint Louis used a three from sophomore Rachel Diener and a jumper from Marquita McFarland to cut the lead to nine for the second time in the half. Mia Johnson would grab her own offensive miss and stick it back to cut the lead to 31-24 with 55 seconds remaining in the half, before Raven Rogers hit the Lady Tigers' only three of the game to stop the run and spread the lead back to 10. Sullivan then drove the floor as the clock was winding down and laid up the ball as the first half ended to send Memphis into the locker room up 36-24 at the half.
SLU would come out and open the second half with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to single digits again, and when McFarland hit a jumper, she cut the Memphis lead to seven again. The Lady Tiger lead would hoover in the single digits until Crawford scored five straight points to push the Memphis lead to 44-32 with 14:53 remaining in the game after hitting the and-one. Johnson would answer with a pair of free-throws and a bucket of her own to make it 44-36 with 12:20 remaining, but that would be the final time Saint Louis would get the lead to single digits as Memphis used a 6-0 run, spurred by baskets from Crawford, Latrice Booker and Marie Reid to sprint out to a 14-point gap. Reid would finish with 10 points, all of them in the second half, adding six rebounds in eight minutes of play.
"I told Marie you're going in there for defense and rebounding," Head Coach Blair Savage said. "She took care of things on the rebounding end and that led to offensive stick-backs."
The win marked the first time all year all 12 Lady Tigers have gotten a shot off, as Jamie Bradley and Gresh Gorman both had shots fall short in the final minutes. Crawford led Memphis with 17 points, while Sullivan added 14. Junior guard Tamika Butler finished with eight assists against four turnovers, adding three points and a steal in 24 minutes. Sullivan would also finish with eight rebounds, while Crawford and Booker each finished with five boards apiece. In all, Memphis out-rebounded Saint Louis 50-27, grabbing 16 offensive boards.
Johnson finished with 21 points for Saint Louis, using a spin move in the lane that Memphis could not seem to stop, while McFarland added 10 points and seven rebounds.
"I thought we still let them drive to the lane too often," Savage said. "But this was a much-needed win to get us some confidence in our half-court offense. Last weekend, teams kept forcing us into our half-court offense, and we just weren't comfortable, so we worked on that this week, just having confidence in our half-court offensive set."
The Lady Tigers will wrap their 2004-05 home stand with games against Marquette, Friday night, and No. 15 DePaul, Sunday. The DePaul game will also be senior night for Sullivan, Crawford, Rogers and Kaneshi Hart. All Lady Tiger alumni will receive free admission to both games as part of alumni weekend festivities.