Tigers Comeback Falls Short at Arkansas, 67-57
March 21, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - -
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (17-15) trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half, but rallied back to just six down with 6:37 to go in the WNIT First Round loss at Arkansas, 67-57, Thursday.
The Tigers had a cold first half, getting blogged down on the offensive end and having to take tough shots late in the shot clock. Memphis connected on just 29.6 percent of their shots from the field in the opening half, and trailed 39-21 at the break.
The Tigers got on the board first, as the two Memphis seniors paired up for the game's first field goal, with Nicole Dickson feeding Jamila Ajanaku. Dickson then added a three to push the Tigers up 5-1. But the Tigers gave up a three immediately on the other end, then lost a cutter in transition and fouled the shooter on the make to help Arkansas to their first lead of the game at 6-5 with 15:27 to go in the first half.
That bucket started a 7-0 Arkansas run that was quickly followed by a 13-1 Arkansas run that pushed the Tigers' deficit to 23-11 with 7:10 to go. Memphis tried to change up its defenses, going zone and pulling out a 1-2-2 trap, but Arkansas had an answer for everything, drilling five first half triples and slashing to the rim for a 39-21 halftime lead.
Ariel Hearn opened the second half with her first field goal of the night, starting a 6-0 Memphis run that cut the deficit to 39-26, but Arkansas answered back with 5-0 run of its own to push the lead back to 44-27 at the first media timeout with 15:25 to play. Memphis then got into the Arkansas bench due to foul trouble, and started attacking the rim, trimming what was an 18-point deficit with 12:52 to play all the way down to six at 53-47 off back-to-back threes from Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir with 6:37 to play.
But Arkansas embarked on a 9-2 run to fend off that Tigers' drive. After Nicole Dickson again cut the deficit to six at 57-51 with 4:32 to play, the Tigers lost post player Quistelle Williams, and she drained a wide open three from the left wing with 4:06 to play, giving Arkansas its first field goal since the 7:46 mark.
Memphis tried to summon up another run, but missed shots late and could only foul and watch as Arkansas sealed the game away at the free-throw line, 67-57. Arkansas was 16-for-22 from the stripe for the night.
Hearn finished with a game-high 16 points before fouling out of the game in the final minute. Nicole Dickson capped her Tigers' career with 14 points, while Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir added 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting.
Dominique Wilkerson led Arkansas with 15 points, while Calli Berna finished with 14. Williams added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds in the Razorback victory.
Arkansas advances to the second round of the WNIT, and will host another C-USA foe, Tulane, at 2 p.m. Sunday.