Lady Tigers Finish Second At Rice Tournament
Dec. 2, 2000
HOUSTON - The University of Memphis women's basketball team dropped a 70-58 decision to the Rice Owls in the championship game of the Gene Hackerman Rice Invitational here Saturday. Junior Malissa Bush was named to the all-tournament team after leading Memphis with 18 points against the Owls.
Malissa Bush recorded a double-double after also leading Memphis with 13 boards. Sophomore Shannon Hamp was the only other Lady Tiger in double digits with 10 points. Memphis drops to 5-1 on the year with the loss, while Rice improves to 5-2 on the year.
"I think we got rattled early on and they took us out of our game," said head coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "We struggled mentally. I thought we continued to fight and we didn't give up, but we just dug ourselves too deep into a hole. We got frustrated and just weren't able to close the gap."
Memphis came out strong in the second half, but got rattled early and found themselves down by 27 points with just over eight minutes left to play in the game. The Lady Tigers closed the gap to 15 points, but had just 1:27 left in the game.
Memphis shot 32.8 percent from the field while Rice shot 41.2 percent for the game. Rice outrebounded Memphis by two, 43-41. Memphis did manage to force Rice to turn the ball over 27 times, but they turned the ball over 21 times themselves.
The first half was a not a pretty one by any means. Memphis scored just two baskets in the first nine minutes of the game and were down by as many as 14 points midway through the first half. The Lady Tigers managed to whittle away at the lead and took an 11-point deficit, 32-21, to the lockerroom at the half. The Lady Tigers played most of the first half without all-America candidate Tiffany Adkins after she picked up three early fouls. Memphis was whistled for 15 fouls in the first half, while Rice recorded just five fouls in the half. Rice scored 15 of its last 17 points in the half on free throws. Malissa Bush led Memphis in scoring and rebounding in the first half with eight points and six boards.
Jennifer Rigg led Rice in scoring with 14 points off a 5-of-8 shooting effort from the field. Also scoring in double digits for Rice were Kate Beckler (13), Kara Liggett (11) and Daneesh McIntosh who chipped in 10 points. Kenya Tuttle pulled down a game-high 15 rebound to lead the Owls.
Liggett and Tuttle were named the tournament's co-MVPs. Rigg, Eastern Kentucky's Candice Finley and Iona College's Meghan Cobb were also named to the all-tournament team.
The Lady Tigers will play their third of six straight road games on Wednesday, Dec. 6, when they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. The game will also be the third SEC matchup for Memphis as they have defeated Arkansas and then-15th ranked Mississippi State earlier this season. Memphis' next home game will be on Dec. 29 against Tennessee Tech.