Tigers Tangle With #12/11 Texas A&M
Nov. 28, 2013
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - -
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (3-3) had trimmed Texas A&M's (4-0) lead to just one at 37-36 with 17:52 to play in the second half, but the Aggies used their size inside to hold a 40-29 rebounding edge in a 69-59 win Thursday in both team's first game at the Paradise Jam tournament."We absolutely battled and that's the thing that I asked the players to do," Melissa McFerrin said. "We cannot keep this game close unless we do two things - we have got to battle on the boards and we've got to stop transition layups. We can't give the ball away and give up sprint transition layups, and honestly I thought until the last four minutes of the game we did both of those really, really well. The difference in the game was they got some sprint layups late and number two, I thought Gilbert, she man-handled us on the glass late."
The Aggies went inside early and often, holding a 19-12 edge on the glass, which they turned in to a 16-6 points in the paint advantage at the break. But Memphis, who was playing their first ranked opponent since Dec. 18, 2006, used the fast break and 12 first half points from Mooriah Rowser to stay close and put pressure on the SEC opponents, trimming the TAMU lead at the half to just six at 35-29.
The Tigers came out of the locker room inspired, using a 7-2 run to pull to just one down at 35-34 after two quick Rowser runouts were capped by one of Ariel Hearn's career-best five three-point field goals.
But TAMU answered the Tiger run with a run of their own, using a 6-0 run to avoid losing the lead. The Aggies have not trailed at all in the second half all season and used defensive rebounds and runouts to push the deficit to as many as 13, at 65-52 with 3:28 left in the second half. Memphis was without Hearn on the floor, after she picked up her third personal foul with 5:56 left in the game.
Hearn and Pa'Sonna Hope, who played just five minutes in the first half with a pair of personal fouls, checked back in and the Tigers went to work on the double-digit deficit, but could only get it back to 10 before the game clock expired.
Rowser finished with a season-high 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting, while Hearn added 19 points, including the five three-point field goals. Asianna Fuqua-Bey and Courtney Powell tried to make up for the foul trouble of Hope with their rebounding effort, each finishing with six rebounds in the loss.
Tori Scott came off the bench to lead Texas A&M with 19 points. Karla Gilbert finished with a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes. She was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Courtney Walker chipped in 10 points to round out the Aggie double digit scorers.
Memphis will play two more games at the Paradise Jam tournament. The Tigers take on Syracuse, Friday, at 7:15 p.m. (CT).