Birthday Girl Abdul-Qaadir Drains Game Winning Three With Five Seconds Left
Nov. 11, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir made just one field goal on her 21st birthday, but it was a big one, a three-point field goal that pushed Memphis in front 63-60 with five seconds remaining in a win over Saint Louis Friday.
"I was just trying to get a shot in," Abdul-Qaadir said. "Coach subbed me in that last media timeout and she said listen Qisi, her exact words were `Girl, it's time to grow up.' So I had to come out ready to play defensively, we got a few stops and we had the pressure on, we just had to hit a shot to win. Those last five minutes I had to strap on my ankle braces and play some defense and just offensively distribute the ball and if I had an open shot, shoot it."
The Tigers trailed most of the night, overcoming a 41-33 halftime deficit that had ballooned to as many as double digits in the second half.
"They may not have panicked, but I certainly did," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin joked in her post game radio show. "Down 11 and with our veterans, that was certainly not what I expected. What I was disappointed with in the first half was Saint Louis really came out as the aggressor and we're not used to that, that's normally us imposing our will on people. But we got on the boards, but at some point in time our players got solid and then resolved to go out and win a ball game."
But the Tiger defense came out and held the Billikens to just 19 second half points, allowing Memphis to tie up the game on a Brittany Carter layup and one at 54-54 with 5:03 to play. The two teams traded the lead six more times, knotting up the score at 57 and 60 all. With 1:14 left in the game, Abdul-Qaadir was whistled for a foul with two seconds left on the shot clock that allowed Saint Louis to reset their offense and run junior guard Courtney Webb off a Billiken screen and head straight to the bucket for a layup to tie the game at 60 with 1:14 to play. Following a Billiken timeout, Memphis reset the offense and got the ball in Brittany Carter's hands. Carter found space down the center of the lane, but missed a layup that was rebounded by Halee Castleman with 45 seconds to go.
Things got even dicier when Nicole Dickson was whistled for a foul, sending Desirae Ball to the line for a one-and-one. Ball missed the front end of the one-and-one and the ball trickled out of bounds after a multiple player scrum off a Billiken player. Memphis called a timeout, preparing for possible Billiken pressure and trying to set up a potential game winning shot. The Tigers easily brought the ball up the court and dumped it inside to Jasmine Lee. Lee was immediately doubled and dumped the ball out to Abdul-Qaadir, who had floated to the high elbow behind the three-point line. The sophomore launched just her third shot of the game, swishing the shot with five seconds left. The Billikens got a half court try off, but it went wide, closing out Memphis' first win of the season, 63-60.
Brittany Carter led Memphis with 17 points, adding six boards and a team-high five assists. Ramses Lonlack, who was the offensive spark plug in the opening half, finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Jasmine Lee overcame a tough opening half to finish with 12 points and eight rebounds. Nicole Dickson had a tough night from the field, shooting 0-for-6, but came up with two key rebounds in the second half and led Memphis with four steals.
Courtney Webb led all players with 21 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Jacy Bradley added 10 points, while Lorreal Jones had 10 rebounds. Saint Louis out-rebounded Memphis 50-41 for the game, but had 19 turnovers for the game, 13 of them in the second half as Memphis turned up the defensive pressure.
"We got aggressive and started trapping selectively in the second half," McFerrin said. "There was a little bit of fatigue on our kids tonight and I'm not quite sure why. It could just be first game stuff, some of our players that logged some long minutes."
Memphis will play another home game this weekend when they host Belmont, Sunday, at 2 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. That game will be Camper Reunion Day, where all campers of the Melissa McFerrin Hoops School can wear their camp t-shirts to receive free admission.