Women's Basketball Advances to C-USA Semifinal with 77-67 Win Over SMU
March 8, 2012
Tickets for Saturday morning's semifinal are available at FedExForum for $10.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Brittany Carter came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points and was one of four Tigers' players to finish in double digits as host and second-seeded Memphis defeated No. 10 seed SMU, 77-67, in the 2012 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Quarterfinals on Thursday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
SMU led for most of the first half, but a Carter layup with 1:04 to play in the opening stanza gave Memphis a 28-27 lead it would not relinquish. The Tigers forced 19 turnovers which directly led to 24 points and Memphis used nine steals to spark 18 fast-break points.
With the win, Memphis advances to the C-USA Championship Semifinals where the Tigers will take on third-seeded Tulane (21-9) on Friday at the FedExForum. Tipoff for that game is slated for 10 a.m. and will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. SMU, meanwhile, concludes the 2011-12 season with a 14-17 record.
Nicole Dickson finished second to Carter with 17 points while Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Jasmine Lee added 16 and 10, respectively. Lee paced the Tigers with eight rebounds while Abdul-Qaadir and Ramses Lonlack shared team-high assist honors with three each. Abdul-Qaadir also paced the home team with a trio of steals and her 16 points was a career-high.
As a team, the Tigers hit 29.4 percent of their first-half field goals (10-of-34) before bouncing back to connect on 13-of-25 opportunities (.520) following halftime. Memphis took advantage of 24 SMU personal fouls and hit 27-of-41 free throws to come away with the win.
Memphis trailed by as many as five at 18-13 with 10:41 to play in the first have and the Tigers found themselves on the wrong side of a 26-23 score with 4:17 to go before intermission. After Memphis twice cut the deficit to one, Carter laid one off the glass 3:13 later and Abdul-Qaadir followed with another Tiger basket to make it 30-27 at the break.
The Memphis lead continued to expand as the second half ticked along and it appeared as if the Tigers put the Mustangs away when Lauren McGraw drained a pair of free throws to make it a 15-point game at 58-43 with 10:32 left in regulation. SMU refused to go away quietly and used a 9-1 run over the next 1:54 to cut the deficit down to seven. That would be as close as the Mustangs would get the rest of the way, however, and Memphis hit six-of-eight free throws over the final three minutes to account for the final score.
SMU's Akil Simpson posted the game's lone double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Samantha Mahnesmith led the Mustangs with 15 points - including a trio of 3-pointers - and Krystal Johnson added 11. Sabrina McKinney paced the Ponies with three assists while Mahnesmith and Alisha Filmore shared team-high steals honors with two each.