Lady Tigers Advance to Quarterfinals
March 3, 2005
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Memphis (13-15) overcame a 38-32 halftime deficit and advanced to the quartefinals of the Conference USA Championships with a 76-67 victory over East Carolina (10-18), Thursday. The Lady Tigers used three-point shooting, the free-throw line, and defense to come back for the win. Memphis shot 20-of-22 (90.9 percent) from the free-throw line in the second half and was 4-for-6 from three-point range (66.7 percent) in the final 20 minutes.
Memphis trailed 38-32 at the half after losing the momentum of a nine-point lead followed by a Lady Tiger scoreless drought the last 7:47 of the half. Victoria Crawford's drive to the basket that resulted in a bucket and one was the final Lady Tiger point of the first half. Crawford's three points put Memphis up 32-23, but East Carolina got buckets from five different players to tie the half and take the lead off a pair of back-to-back Sutton buckets.
Memphis came out of the half and used a 4-0 lead to trim the Lady Pirate lead to four at 40-36, and five offenensive possessions later Jennifer Sullivan fed a ball to Crawford, who laid it in to tie the game at 42 all. East Carolina called a timeout to try to stop the Lady Tiger full-court offense and responded with a layup of their own from Shanita Sutton to go up 44-42. But Butler hit one of her five three-point field goals from in front of the Lady Tiger bench to give Memphis a lead it would not relinquish. Following Butler's three, Victoria Crawford hit four straight free-throws to put Memphis up five, 49-44. Crawford would finish with 21 points, including 12-for-13 from the free-throw line. Butler would finish with a season-high 17 points, including 5-of-6 from three-point range, while Sullivan would round out the double-digit scorers with 15 points.
ECU would cut the lead to one on three occassions with Viola Cooper driving for a lay-up to make it 56-55 with 8:19 remaining, but that would be as close as the Lady Pirates could get as a Crawford three cut ECU's momentum. Memphis would hit Memphis would go 8-for-8 from the line over the final three minutes to keep ECU at bay and wrap up the Lady Pirates season.
Memphis now advances to the quarterfinal round for the 8th time in the 10 years of Conference USA. The Lady Tigers face No. 12 DePaul at 1 p.m. (ET), Friday.