Tigers Tripped Up in Overtime by ECU, 77-76
Feb. 27, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - -
By Joshua Wilkins
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (17-11, 10-5 C-USA) hadn't lost at home since Jan. 9. It took everything East Carolina (19-9, 8-7 C-USA) had, including 51 points off the ECU bench, to end that streak 77-76 in overtime at FedExForum.
Despite four players scoring in double-figures and 24 forced turnovers for the Tigers, they only had a two-point lead when ECU's Kim Gay hit a 3-pointer from the win with 3.4 seconds on the clock for the win. Gay led all scorers with 26 points, adding 12 rebounds and shooting 10-for-15 from the field and 4-for-6 from three-point range.
"We have had two major players down heading in to this weekend, and had one major player down in LaToya Bullard heading in to this game, and if you would have said going in to this weekend that we would have an opportunity to win both games, and very likely win both games, I think we'd be happy. I'm disappointed for our team that they didn't come out of here with a win, but I am in no way disappointed with their effort and energy and how they carried themselves this weekend," Tiger head coach Melissa McFerrin said.
Brittany Carter led Memphis with 22 points and eight rebounds, and had a head of steam up with the ball while driving the sideline as the game clock expired while she stumbled to recover balance with the ball. Nicole Dickson scored 17 points and eight rebounds, Ramses Lonlack had 15 points and six boards, and Alex Winchell added 11 points.
After East Carolina started the game with a 6-0 run, Winchell found Lonlack underneath for the first two Memphis points of the game. ECU's Kim Gay got hot scoring the next eight Pirate points, but twos by Tigers Nicole Dickson, Savannah Ellis, Brittany Carter, and Chatia Kelsey kept Memphis within striking distance at 14-10.
Carter's two gave her 500 career points in just her 28th career game for Memphis. It's the 23rd time a Tiger has scored 500 points in one season, but Carter is the first to do so since Victoria Crawford (2003-2004).
A brief 4-2 Pirate rally was cancelled out by consecutive three-pointers by Memphis' Alex Winchell. The second, coming with 9:57 to play in the first half, tied the game 18-18. Shaunda Ashford gave ECU the lead back briefly before Winchell pulled up for another 3-pointer to give the Tigers their first lead 21-20.
The Tigers extended the run to 13-2 to push the lead to 25-20 following an offensive rebound and putback from Mumphrey and a Lonlack steal and layup, but a 9-2 Pirate run again gave ECU the lead before Dickson connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key, putting Memphis ahead 30-29. Buckets by Shala Hodges and Chareya Smith, however, helped ECU regain a 33-32 halftime lead.
Dickson gave Memphis the lead early in the first half with an offensive rebound and stickback, and after ECU's Allison Spivey hit a 3-pointer, Dickson was quick to tie the game at 36-36 with a layup. Carter then scored the next six Tiger points, allowing the team to hold a 42-41 lead five minutes in to the second half.
Gay's first basket of the second half swapped the lead again, before Lonlack's converted a five-footer did swapping the lead back to Memphis. Freshman guard Chatia Kelsey's steal and transition assist to Dickson extended the Memphis lead to three before another Spivey three tied the game at 46-46. A hanging layup by Carter and putback by Best kept the game tied until Lonlack converted 3-4 from the free throw line to give Memphis a 51-48 lead.
A driving score from Winchell pushed the Memphis lead to five, but a Best-led 7-3 run cut the lead to 56-55. A three from Gay and two from Stewart gave ECU the lead 60-56 and forced a McFerrin timeout with six minutes left.
Out of the timeout, Carter sank two jumpers and Lonlack stole the ball from Clarke and scored in transition to give Memphis back the lead 62-60. Five straight ECU points put Memphis in a 65-62 hole before Carter's three-point play tied the game at 65-65.
With 1:37 to play, Best's turnaround in the paint gave the lead back to ECU. ECU scored 30 points in the paint in the second half alone. With 1:19 to play, Ellis, who came off the bench after being ill before the Marshall game, followed a Carter miss to tie the game with her fourth rebound of the game. But then the Tigers fouled junior forward Kim Gay, who had secured an offensive board, but who was falling out of bounds, and Gay converted both free-throws to put the Pirates back up, 69-67 with :55 seconds. Gay powered a 51 point effort from the Pirate bench with her 26 points and 12 rebounds for the game.
On the other end, Lonlack had a shot rim out with 34 seconds to go, but Dickson tracked it down, drawing a foul from Jean Best, sending the freshman to the line with the Tigers down two, 69-67. The freshman hit the first, then sat through an ECU timeout. The timeout had no effect, as she drained the second, tying the game at 69-69 with 29 seconds left, setting up the Tiger defense for a final stop.
ECU got the ball in the hands of Clarke, who waited at the endline to charge up the floor, but Ramses Lonlack defended Clarke so tightly, the Pirate point guard ended up dribbling out regulation.
"That's why I think Ramses Lonlack might be the best defensive player in this conference," McFerrin said. "And if you disagree with me even slightly, then you haven't been watching our league, and that's what she does. She guarded the ball for 29 seconds. I don't think (Clarke) was able to pass it and couldn't even get a shot off, and obviously, critical for us to get in to overtime."
With Memphis making its third appearance in overtime this season, the team had a 2-0 record in extra time to fall back on, but ECU won the tip in overtime and drew first blood when Best hit two free throws more than a minute into overtime.
With 2:24 to play, Lonlack stole a ball and laid it up to tie the game at 71, the 12th tie of the afternoon for the two teams. Gay missed a jumper for ECU on the other end, which was rebounded by Ellis. On the Tigers' end of the floor, Ellis was then fouled, and hit one of two free-throws to push Memphis up one, 72-71. But the Tigers were out-rebounded 6-5 in the extra session, and Ellis' second attempt was corralled by Gay. ECU quickly went the other way, and Gay drained a three to push ECU back in front, 74-72.
But the Tigers found an answer when Lonlack drove the lane from the left wing, banking in a layup to force the 13th tie of the game at 74 with 1:04 to go. The Tigers then picked up a tough foul on the other end, but Allison Spivey missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Ellis grabbed the rebound. The Tigers got the ball in the hands of their go-to player, Brittany Carter, and the sophomore knocked down a tough jump shot over 6-3 Jean Best and another defender to seemingly push Memphis on top again, 76-74.
But Gay was feeling it in FedExForum, and when the Tiger defender sagged off her as Gay was beyond the NBA three-point line, the Pirate took the deep three, converting and putting ECU back up at 76-74 with five seconds left in the game.
Memphis in-bounded the ball, and tapped Carter again for an attempt at late-game heroics, but as the sophomore drove up the sideline, two ECU defenders helped push her off balance with the ball, and by the time she could recover the ball and her feet, the game clock had expired.
"Any time in a late game situation where there's three seconds on the clock, we typically time that as three dribbles," McFerrin said. "Brittany Carter can get from endline to endline in four dribbles, we saw her get a steal against Ole Miss at the free-throw line and lay it up at the glass in four dribbles, so we knew if she had a head of steam that she had a very good chance of getting near the three-point line. We had Alex Winchell ahead of her in the event that they would run at Brittany, and they did, but without seeing the tape, I don't know if even Alex was open up the floor. It's either that or you take a chance the long pass doesn't get caught and we just felt better with the ball in Brittany's hands."
Despite the loss, Memphis is still in second place in C-USA with a 10-5 conference record, and can still clinch the second seed in the C-USA Tournament with a win in its next outing.
Memphis closes out C-USA and regular season play, Thursday, at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time against UAB in Birmingham, Ala. Memphis will be trying compete a season-sweep of the Blazers, who they defeated 67-56 on Feb. 4 at Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcast via radio on FM 91.7 WUMR.