Turnovers Plague Lady Tigers In Season Ending Loss
March 6, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. - - Twelve first half Memphis turnovers and just 11 second half rebounds haunted the Lady Tigers in a season-ending loss to Tulsa, 85-63, in the first round of the Conference USA tournament, Wednesday.
"You have to give all the credit to Tulsa," Head Coach Blair Savage-Lansden said. "Their energy level right from the beginning was so much higher than ours and they just kept that up for the entire game."
Despite being in a tournament environment with a couple hundred elementary students plus the Memphis band and spirit squads in attendance, the Lady Tigers came out flat, getting out-rebounded 8-5 and falling behind 18-11 at the under 12 minute media timeout. Paris Leonard picked up her second foul with 10:19 to play, sending her to the bench and taking Memphis' second-leading scorer off the floor. With Leonard off the floor, leading scorer Jessica Hall, Memphis' leading scorer, would not score her first points until a pair of free-throws with 9:12 remaining in the opening stanza to compound Memphis' scoring problems. Memphis would cut the deficit to seven three different times in the opening half, but was unable to match a Tulsa offense that knocked down three triples in the first 12 minutes of the half to push the Golden Hurricane lead to double-digits at 33-21 with 4:55 remaining. Using that cushion, Tulsa went to the locker room up 37-27 at the break.
To start the second half, Tulsa went back to work inside, keeping the lead at double-digits for the entire second half. Memphis did make a run at Tulsa, trailing 57-40 with 11:53 to play. LaToya Bullard hit a jumper to start a 6-0 run that pulled the Lady Tigers to just 57-46 down following a pair of Ashley Thornton free-throws, but Kara Vaughan answered with her only three points of the game from a wide-open look on the wing to snap the Memphis run and start a 5-0 Tulsa run that pushed the game open at 65-46 with 8:07 to play. Tulsa scored 22 of their 48 points in the second half in the paint, sticking back 11 second chance points off offensive rebounds.
LaToya Bullard capped her sophomore season with a career-high 27 point game, adding eight assists and two steals in 40 minutes of play. Jessica Hall added 14 points in 33 minutes on 5-of-18 shooting, while Aroha Jennings capped her Lady Tiger career with six points and three rebounds before fouling out while trying to defend the two posts for Tulsa. One of those posts, Chanel Johnson led Tulsa with 19 points and eight rebounds. She was one of five Golden Hurricanes to score double-digit points in the win.
With the win, Tulsa advances to the quarterfinal round, where they will face No. 2 seed SMU, a team they swept 2-0 in the regular season. That game will be played at noon on Friday.