Lady Tiger Basketball Remains Undefeated with 81-70 win over APSU
Dec. 3, 2003
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. - The University of Memphis Lady Tiger basketball team improved to 5-0 on the year with an 81-70 win over Austin Peay State here Wednesday evening.
The victory over the Lady Govs marked the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Lady Tigers opened with a 5-0 record. That was also the last time that Memphis had advanced to post-season play after finishing the regular season with a 17-12 record. They lost to Alabama on the road in the first round of the WNIT to end the season.
Memphis has the opportunity to record their best start in 25 years with the home meeting against UT-Martin on Saturday. The last time that a U of M women's basketball team opened the year with a 6-0 record was under Mary Lou Johns, the only other Lady Tiger basketball coach, during the 1978-79 campaign.
The win over APSU did not come easy as Memphis lost the lead early in the first half and did not regain it again until there was 12:46 left in the game. APSU led 42-33 at the half, and it was junior Raven Rogers who helped chip away the deficit and hit a shot to tie the game, 48-48. Junior Victoria Crawford recorded a crucial steal and hit a layup with 12:46 left in the game to give Memphis their first lead since early in the game. Memphis then rolled off a 10-5 run with 3:20 left in the contest for the eventual 11-point victory.
"I can truly say that I am proud of this team and how hard they have played already this season," said head coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "What I am most impressed with is their ' never say die' attitude."
"Tamika Butler has really been a huge spark in our offense," added McNelis. "Tonight, she was phenomenal. She has really elevated her play this year, and I am excited about how much she has contributed to these wins."
Butler, who was named to the Lady Tiger Classic all-tournament team last weekend, scored a career-high 30 points against APSU. She was 11-of-17 from the field, including a 5-of-10 showing from behind the arc, and 21 of her 30 points came in the second half. She also hit 3-of-5 shots from the line, and totaled five rebounds, six assists and three steals. She is the first player to score 30 points in a game since Shannon Hamp scored 30 versus East Carolina late in the 2001-02 season. Butler has scored in double digits in five straight games.
Victoria Crawford was the only other Lady Tiger to score in double digits with 16 points in 32 minutes of action. Like Butler, Crawford hit a majority of her shots in the second half, scoring 14 of her 16 points late in the game. Raven Rogers led Memphis in rebounding with six boards, as APSU outrebounded Memphis, 38-30, for the game. The Lady Govs struggled with Memphis' defense, turning the ball over 30 times.
Memphis as a team shot 49.2 percent from the field, while APSU shot 45.5 percent for the game. Ashley Haynes led the Lady Govs in scoring with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gerlonda Hardin and Alicia Watson also scored in double figures for APSU with 17 points and 11 points, respectively. APSU dropped to 2-3 with the loss.
The Lady Tigers will host their first of four straight home games this Saturday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse when they welcome UT-Martin in a 5 p.m. matchup. Memphis' biggest matchup so far this season will be on Dec. 11 when they host SEC foe Vanderbilt. All youth will be admitted to the Vanderbilt game free of charge for Take a Kid to the Game Day.