Tigers Get First C-USA Home Win, 74-68
Feb. 20, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Getting career nights from sophomores Alex Winchell and Shekeira Copeland, the University of Memphis women's basketball (11-15, 4-9 C-USA) team battled back from a deficit that had been as many as 14 points in a 74-68 win over East Carolina (15-11, 6-7 C-USA), Friday night.
The Tigers got down in a hole early as ECU came out the aggressor, building a quick 23-9 lead as the Lady Pirates quickly got down the court, beating the Tiger defense and going straight to the rim. But senior forward Ashley Thornton scored eight points in 2:49 to spark the Tiger offense on a 26-10 run that would help Memphis knot the game at 34-34 with 47 seconds left in the half.
ECU would try to seize the momentum back, with a jumper from Allison Spivey giving the Lady Pirates a two-point lead, but Memphis would again tie the game as the first half clock expired off a jumper from Ramses Lonlack following a Laquawanda Sippio defensive rebound and assist to send the game in to the locker room tied at 36.
ECU came out in the second half and quickly went inside to freshman post Jean Best for a lead, but Alex Winchell answered back as her player over-committed on defense to tie the game for a third time. But Allison Spivey would break loose on the wing for her first three of the night to push East Carolina back in front, 41-38, a lead that would eventually move to 47-42 with 15:06 remaining.
But Memphis answered back as Shae Seagraves came off the bench and knocked down a three with a defender in her face, and when sophomore teammate Alex Winchell added a three of her own less than a minute later, the Tigers had taken the lead, 48-47, with 13:24 remaining, forcing an ECU timeout.
The Lady Pirates would regroup, getting a three from Jasmine Young from the wing to retake the lead. The game would tie up two more times before Paris Leonard found Shekeira Copeland for two consecutive buckets, giving Memphis a 62-58 lead with 5:11 to play, again forcing an ECU timeout. ECU tried to regroup, but could only watch as balls rolled off the rim and out. Memphis got a pair of free-throws from Ramses Lonlack and another bucket from Copeland to push the lead to eight at 66-58 with 3:14 to play. But ECU battled all the way through, cutting the Memphis lead to as little as three two different times, including at 71-68 following a pair of free-throws from LaCoya Terry. But Ramses Lonlack sprinted out behind a Lady Pirate press, hitting the lay-up to make it a two-possession game.
ECU missed a three on the return trip and grabbed three offensive rebounds in the series, but could not find the bottom of the net, allowing Memphis to close out the 74-68 win at the free-throw line with 13 seconds to play.
Memphis had two players with double-doubles in the win, led by a 15-point, 11-rebound night from Ashley Thornton. Shekeira Copeland added her first career double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds in the win, setting a new career high in rebounds. Alex Winchell finished with a career-best 17 points, adding fivew rebounds and four assists. Lonlack also scored double-digits, finishing with 13 points and five rebounds.
ECU was led by a 24 point night from Terry. Jasmine Young added 13 points, but was out of the game during valuable minutes in the second half after getting run over by Copeland following a defensive rebound. She returned at the under eight minute media timeout, but was scoreless after her return from a tough hit. Allison Spivey scored 11 points, nine of them in the second half, hitting 3-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc. ECU was forced in to 22 turnovers, compared to 17 for the Tigers, and shot 36.1 percent in the second half, compared to a 51.9 percent second half for Memphis, in the loss.
Memphis will wrap up its 2008-09 home season with a Sunday game against Marshall. That game will be the final home game for seniors Jessica Jackson, Paris Leonard and Ashley Thornton and will tip at 2 p.m. with senior day ceremonies taking place before the game. The Tigers have now won three of their last four games and are looking for their first-ever win against Marshall.