Tigers Season Comes to End at C-USA Opening Round,
March 5, 2009
NEW ORLEANS, La. - - Memphis gave up 18 offensive rebounds and committed 22 turnovers in a 76-57 loss in opening round play of Conference USA action, Thursday night. Marshall hit eight three-point field goals and shot 51.7 percent in the opening half to secure their 16th victory of the season.
"You have to give credit to Marshall," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "They've not shot the three particularly well to this point and I feel like tonight they hit every big three and got every offensive rebound down the stretch."
Memphis trailed 39-32 at the break after committing 13 turnovers in the first half, including five turnovers and two off shots from three-point range on their first seven offensive possessions. The Tigers' slow start was compounded by Marshall going inside for 18 points. Both teams then struggled taking care of the ball, combining for 26 turnovers and 16 free-throw attempts in the first half. Memphis struggled to get in to any offensive set, with sophomore Savannah Ellis scoring the Tigers' only field goals in the first 12 minutes of the game before Paris Leonard stole a ball and pushed it ahead to Lonlack, who hit the layup, forcing a Marshall timeout after the Tigers narrowed the gap to 20-17 down. But as the Tigers had started adjusting to the Herd's paint presence, Marshall knocked down its first three of the game from Tania Walters, followed by a Chantelle Handy offensive rebound. Handy then pushed the lead to 27-19 with an over the top pass that she stuck in to help Marshall to the locker room up at the break.
Memphis tried selectively to go zone on Marshall, but the three-point shooters were still hot coming out of the locker room, hitting three triples to build a 48-43 lead to start the second half. Marshall finally got a bucket from inside the arc to take a 50-45 lead, but the Tigers pounded the ball inside with a bucket from Ashley Thornton, starting a 5-2 Memphis run that pulled the Tigers to 50-47 down following a Lonlack steal and layup. The three point deficit was the smallest of the half for the Tigers, but Memphis missed opportunities to pull any closer, going 2-for-6 from the line.
Tynikki Crook took over from there, scoring eight straight points to help blow the game open to double-digits. While Crook was taking over inside, Memphis was going 2-for-6 from the free-throw line and getting out-rebounded 41-31. In one possession, Memphis gave up four offensive rebounds, including two deadball rebounds that went out of bounds off a Memphis player before Chantelle Hardy stuck back an offensive rebound to extend a 22-10 Marshall run that pushed the deficit to 15 for the Tigers at 72-57 with 2:03 to play.
Crook finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Handy added 18 points. Casey Baker had 10 points with four steals and four assists.
The Tigers were led by senior Ashley Thornton, who closes out her Tiger career with a 14 points, six-rebound effort. Alex Winchell also had 14 points, adding six rebounds and a steal, while Savannah Ellis had 12 points and six rebounds, including five offensive boards, in the loss.
The loss ends the Tiger season at 12-18, the most Tiger season victories since the 2004-05 season. Marshall advances to face No. 2 seed UTEP, Friday, at 8 p.m.