Lady Tiger Comeback Falls Short
March 1, 2007
TULSA, Okla. - The University of Memphis women's basketball team (4-27) came back from what was at one point a 21-point deficit, but fell short, 84-75, in the opening round of the Conference USA Championships, Thursday.
"I thought for having the record we have that we came back and showed a lot of character," Head Coach Blair Savage-Lansden said. "When we made our run, our line-up included four freshmen and a junior college player and when we rebounded and played defense, we allowed our offense to catch us up. But then we started over-thinking under the three or four minute mark and that's when our youth and inexperience was shining."
Memphis trailed 47-34 at the half after committing 15 first half turnovers and allowing UTEP to shoot 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes. But Memphis came out in the second half and began chipping away at the lead as Devin Necaise scored seven of Memphis' first nine points to cut the deficit to eight, 51-43, with 15:59 to play. Memphis stayed strong on the boards, allowing UTEP just one and done looks at the bucket and when Hope Adams converted a layup with 12:51 to play, Memphis had knotted the game for the first time in the second half.
But UTEP answered back with a run of its own, and went up by as many as six, 63-57 before Robin Jones stepped to the free-throw line and hit three of four attempts to cut the deficit to three. Aroha Jennings would hit two of her team-high 19 points to cut the deficit to one, but it wasn't until an Ashley Thornton layup would break the fifth tie of the game that the Lady Tigers took their first lead, 71-69. But Jarieca Hughes, who had been saddled with her fourth personal foul and forced to the Miner bench, took over the game late, scoring eight of her 22 points in the last four minutes of the game.
"We just didn't have an answer for Izabela (Piekarska) inside," Savage said. "Once Hughes was out of the game, we tried a number of different ways to stop her and just had no answer."
Hughes would finish with 19 points off the bench, including 7-for-12 shooting from the field. She was one of four Miners to score double-digits. Hughes, the 2006-07 C-USA Freshman and Newcomer of the Year led all players with 22 points.
Jennings led Memphis with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds. Devin Necaise added 15 points in her final Lady Tiger game.
With the loss, the Lady Tigers' season comes to an end with a 4-27 overall record.