Lady Tigers Improve to 2-0 With Win Over Tennessee Tech
Nov. 24, 2003
Cookeville, Tenn. - For only the fifth time in 19 meetings, the University of Memphis women's basketball team defeated Tennessee Tech and improve to 2-0 on the year. The 71-50 win snapped a three-game losing streak to Tennessee Tech and marked the first ever Memphis win over Tech in Cookeville, Tenn.
"What a huge win," said Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "This was a great team effort. I was especially proud of our bench because even when things got tough, they came in and stayed composed. What I was most excited about was the fact that in the second half, even when Tech started to come back, we didn't lose our focus.
"I was so proud of the way this team was able to fight through what looked to be a momentum swing," added McNelis. "Tech started to really close the gap, but this team rallied and managed to swing things back in our direction and never gave up the lead again."
Sophomore Tamika Butler led the Lady Tigers in scoring, tying her career-high of 18 points. Butler hit 6-of-16 shots from the field, including a 5-of-11 effort from behind the arc. Butler also dished out a team-high six assists, and forced two steals. Junior Jennifer Sullivan was second on the squad in scoring with a career-high 17 points off a 7-of-9 effort from the field and a 3-of-6 showing from the free-throw line. Sullivan spent a significant part of the second half on the bench after picking up her fourth foul wityh 13:02 left in the game. Memphis had two other players in foul trouble in the second half as Victoria Crawford picked up her fourth foul with 9:09 left in the game, and Jordie Soso went to the bench with four fouls with 12:44 left.
Crawford also scored in double digits with 16 points and freshman Devin Necaise chipped in 10 points. Soso and senior Princess Swilley were held well below their averages as both picked up two fouls early in the first half to land on the bench for most of the first half. Swilley was held scoreless in 17 minutes of action, and Soso was limited to just one rebound in 10 minutes on the court.
Memphis shot 49 percent for the game, and totaled eight treys, while Tech shot 37.5 percent from the field, and was 19-of-24 from the free-throw line. Memphis also outrebounded Tech, 31-27, and also forced the Golden Eaglettes to turn the ball over 22 times.
The Lady Tigers took a 37-25 lead into the lockerroom off the hot outside shooting of Butler who had 12 points at the break. Butler set a new career high just in the first half with four treys. Sullivan also helped the Lady Tigers secure the halftime lead with 10 points off a 4 -of-4 effort from the field and a 2-of-4 effort from the line. The Lady Tigers would have had a much larger lead at the break if they had not sent Tech to the line for free throws, as the Golden Eaglettes scored 15 of their 25 points off charity shots. Memphis held Tech to just 31.3 percent scoring from the field in the first half, and outrebounded Tech 17-14.
The Lady Tigers will have a busy week ahead as they welcome Ole Miss, Eastern Kentucky and Nebraska to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse for the 18th Annual Lady Tiger Thanksgiving Classic. Memphis will open the tournament on Friday with a 6 p.m. game against Eastern Kentucky. Ole Miss and Nebraska will follow at 8 p.m. The consolation game will be played on Saturday at 5 p.m., with the championship game to follow.