Lady Tigers Win Wrong Half in Tale of Two Halves
Feb. 21, 2008
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. - - Memphis led 48-35 at the half, but managed just five points in the first 11:23 of the second half in an 81-73 loss, Thursday night. A 22.2 shooting percentage in the second half, including a 1-for-12 stretch to come back from the break after shooting 51.5 percent in the first half forced Memphis to spend most of the second half trying to get back from a double-digit deficit, and while Memphis managed to get what had been a 15-point lead at one point down to single digits, the Lady Tiger were out of gas and fell out of a tie for seventh in the league standings.
"We just had a drought there in the second half," Head Coach Blair Savage-Lansden said. "We ran everything that we could, but when Jessica Hall went out, I think we had a couple of players that were mentally beat then before we even stepped on the floor in the second half."
Memphis led 48-35 at the break after knocking down eight three-point field goals in the first half, including three apiece for Paris Leonard and Jessica Hall. Leonard would have her best shooting half of her career, shooting 7-for-11 in the opening 20 minutes and scoring 21 points with three steals and three blocks by the break.
Memphis opened the game with a three-point field goal from Aroha Jennings, but Marshall quickly answered back with a 9-0 run to pull ahead 9-2. Memphis would knot the game at 16-16, and again at 23-23 but could not take the lead until a 10-0 run with Memphis trailing 29-23. Leonard and Hall each knocked down a triple in that run, and Memphis used a 25-6 run to close out the half with the 48-35 lead.
But Marshall came out running to open the second half, scoring 16 unanswered points to not only negate the half time deficit, but to take a 54-48 lead following five straight points from Kizzy Hart. While Marshall was scoring at will on the Memphis defense, the Lady Tigers were 0-6 from the field with six turnovers by the time the under 16 minute media timeout rolled around.
"We knew transition was the key to winning this game and Marshall did a good job of getting out and running on us and we just did a bad job defending full-court," Savage said.
Memphis kept trying to scramble, but committed nine turnovers in the first 9:16 of the game and managed just two points on 1-for-11 shooting from the field as Paris Leonard, who shot 7-for-11 in the opening half, opened the second half shooting 0-for-5. With Memphis unable to score from the field, Marshall started pounding the ball inside as Tynikki Crook came off the bench to score six straight points over Aroha Jennings. But freshman Savannah Ellis had her best career night, scoring six points in the second half to cut a double-digit deficit to 68-59 after fellow freshman Alex Winchell hit the first three of the second half. Winchell knocked down a second triple of the half to cut the deficit to 72-65 with 4:02 to play. But Winchell missed both free-throws and then fouled to send the Herd to the free-throw line with the clock stopped.
"I think Savannah had a great game, " Savage said. "She did a good job of catching the ball and going straight up with it and not fading away and our guards did a good job of getting her the ball when she was in position so she could take advantage of it."
Ellis would finish with a career-best 14 points, her first career double-digit scoring night. Paris Leonard scored 27 points, 21 in the first half, but struggled in the second half as the absence of Hall allowed the Herd defense to concentrate on shutting down Leonard. Jessica Hall finished with 11 points, as did Alex Winchell in the loss.
Kizzy Hart led Marshall with 23 points, while Tynikki Crook added 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Casey Baker and Chantelle Handy each added 15 and 14 points, respectively, as both got out in transition behind the Memphis defense. Baker would add 11 assists against just three turnovers in 38 minutes of play.
Memphis will wrap up its final regular season road swing with a C-USA game at East Carolina, Saturday, at 2 p.m. (ET). That game can be heard on WUMR, 91.7 FM with Jeff Brightwell on the play-by-play. For listeners outside the WUMR listening area, the same live feed is available at www.gotigersgo.com under the All-Access portion of the site for a subscription fee. That same All-Access subscription is also good to view the live, streaming video of the final regular season road game of the season for the Lady Tigers.