Tigers Hang On For 59-57 Win at UTEP
Feb. 20, 2010
EL PASO, Texas - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team (16-10, 9-4 C-USA) was already playing in a tough place to win, and when senior guard LaToya Bullard went down after her feet got tangled with a defender and she fell to the floor, the challenge got tougher, as the senior guard was taken off the floor and transported by ambulance for follow-up care. Memphis hung on for the 59-57 win over UTEP (15-12, 6-7 C-USA).
"The last thing (LaToya) said when we asked if there was anything we could do for her while she was sitting there, she said `win,' Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We lost a little momentum at that point in time (after Bullard was wheeled off) and got away from what we were doing, but I couldn't be prouder of our kids. This time of the season everybody is tired and is in a long season, and this is truly a time of year when you have to grind things out. We talk about mental toughness, and we saw that tonight."
Memphis jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after Brittany Carter hit a three to open the game and LaToya Bullard followed with a jumper. Memphis pushed that lead to 17-7 utilizing a full-court press, but the Tigers could not put the game any further out of reach as Tiger turnovers kept Memphis from putting any more points on the board, committing 17 first half turnovers, while forcing just eight turnovers from the Miners.
"Our 17 turnovers in the first half really hurt us because we had a chance to take control of the game," McFerrin said. "We kind of got away from our defense, but at the end, Brittany Carter, every time we called her number, she responded."
Memphis managed to hang on to a 27-24 lead at the half, as UTEP made a 6-2 run over the final 2:30 of the first half to cut in to the Memphis lead.
The Tigers seemed to have the ship righted coming out of the locker room, getting two quick layups before Lonlack stole a ball and pushed it ahead to Bullard. Bullard had crossed half court and dived toward the three point line when her trailing defenders caught up and got their feet tangled, sending Bullard sprawling into the paint.
The game stopped for about 10-15 minutes while athletic trainers and an ambulance crew tended Bullard, and the Tigers got the ball back on the endline in front of their bench after Bullard had left the arena. Junior center Savannah Ellis converted a left hand hook shot to push Memphis ahead 33-24. The Tigers had a little lull in the offensive end while adjusting to Bullard's absence, and that lull got even more pronounced when Brittany Carter had her pocket picked and picked up her third personal foul, having to go to the bench. With Bullard and Carter both out of the line-up, UTEP cut the lead to 35-31, before Alex Winchell answered back with a three of her own to push the lead back to 38-31 with 15:22 to play.
UTEP answered back with a 5-0 run to again cut the deficit to 40-36 with 11:46 to play off a Tamika Williams layup. Memphis responded to that run with an 8-2 run, powered by buckets from Taylor Mumphrey and Brittany Carter to go back up 10 and 48-38.
But the Miners had one more big run in them, using a 20-5 run to tie the game at 55-55 with 1:48 to play, the first tie of the game.
Carter had the Tiger response with a jumper in the paint for a 57-55 Memphis lead, but Williams picked up a ball that the Tiger defense had knocked loose and stuck it in for a second tie at 57-57.
But Carter answered with a double clutch jumper in the paint with 26 seconds remaining for a 59-57 lead that Memphis would hang on to despite a good look from three for Briana Green. Green's three-point attempt bounced out of bounds off Memphis hands, and UTEP got the ball back for another shot attempt from Williams. Green grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up, but had drawn a lot of contact from a Tiger defender as the clock expired on the game.
Briana Green led UTEP with 19 points, including 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and 3-4 shooting from three-point range. Williams added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds in the UTEP loss.
Memphis returns home for its final two regular season home games, hosting Marshall Thursday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse and East Carolina Saturday at 1 p.m. at FedExForum. The Marshall game will tip at 7 p.m.
- The 11 rebounds for Ramses Lonlack tied a career high.
-Memphis out-rebounded UTEP 50-29 and shot 41.8 percent from the field in the win.
- The Tigers remain in second place in the C-USA standings with the victory.