Tigers Come Back From Nine Down to Win 65-60 at Rice
March 1, 2012
HOUSTON - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team (23-6, 13-3 C-USA) came back from a nine-point deficit with 12:47 to play to put on a 10-0 run that erased a halftime deficit on the road in a 65-60 win at Rice (15-14, 9-7 C-USA), Thursday night.
Memphis took a lead early thanks to senior guard Ramses Lonlack's hustle and the Tigers ability to get out in transition. But once Lonlack subbed out, the offense hit a snag when Danay Collier picked up her second foul and the Tigers lost her offensive driving ability. The Tigers guard quickly racked up fouls as the Owls quickly got down in transition. At the half, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Danay Collier and Lauren McGraw all had two fouls, and freshman post Ann Jones had three fouls, two of them on illegal screens.
Rice surged to the front off a three in transition from D'Frantz Smart and part of a 14-0 run that erased a 22-17 Memphis lead and pushed Rice in front 31-22. The Rice senior kept beating the Tigers up the floor and getting her teammates good looks in transition. Fellow Rice senior Brianna Hypolite took advantage, drilling 12 first half points, including two triples, while Jessica Kuster finished the half with 13 points, including a three from the top of the key, also in transition.
Lonlack got back on the floor for Memphis, but started taking shots out of her range and the Tigers couldn't get on the offensive glass, getting out-rebounded 19-18 in the first half, being held to a season-low three first half offensive boards.
Memphis came out and got Lonlack and Lee quickly back in rhythm, but kept losing three point shooters, as Rice drilled three triples in the first eight minutes of the second half to stretch the six-point halftime lead to eight at 50-42 with 11:53 to go.
The Tiger defense stiffened up and after getting Rice to single digits on the shot clock on back to back trips, Memphis went inside for Lee's seventh field goal of the half to pull to 59-57 down. A Smart three with one on the clock bounced off the rim, and Memphis found Lee on the other end, but the senior went up too hard with the layup and the ball went back the other way with 2:44 to go. Rice came out of the under four minute media time with just four seconds on the shot clock, and Lonlack and Lee doubled up on Kuster in the corner to force the violation. Lee then scored a lefty layup to tie the game and Lonlack hit one of two free throws to push the Tigers in front 60-59. From there, sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir tracked down two defensive rebounds that allowed Memphis to close out the game at the free-throw line, 65-60.
Lee finished with 25 points, 21 in the second half, while Lonlack finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Abdul-Qaadir finished with seven points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal and her drive with a minute on the clock pushed the Tiger lead to three, forcing Rice to look for a shot from the perimeter on the other end.
Memphis has now wrapped up the regular season and will return home to be hosts to the Conference USA Championships that begin on Wednesday. A No. 2 seed, Memphis will receive a first round bye and awaits the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 10 match-up at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.