Memphis Upended in Championship Game by Host St. John's, 64-60
Dec. 18, 2011
QUEENS, N.Y. - - The University of Memphis women's basketball team (9-2) almost dug all the way back from a 40-31 halftime deficit that increased to double-digits in the second half, but after back-to-back Tiger timeouts, Brittany Carter faced a zone defense and for a second, lost the handle on the ball with 20 seconds to go. She recovered to get a good shot off, but it fell just short. That miss was rebounded by Nicole Dickson, who was blocked on a put-back attempt, and St. John's knocked down a pair of free-throws to close out the 64-60 win. The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak for the Tigers and is their second true road loss of the year.
St. John's pressed the Tigers from the start, using a full court press and a half-court trap to force a pair of quick turnovers and three deep jumpers from Brittany Carter that were rebounded by the defense. The deep jumpers were a disturbing early game trend, as Memphis shot a number of shots from well outside the paint. The starters were a combined 11-for-20 from the floor in the opening half and St. John's took advantage, quickly getting out in transition and building a first half 40-31 lead.
Memphis came out strong to start the second half, using a quick run to get the lead back to single digits, closing to just four down with 10:07 to play. But St. John's again got out in transition on Memphis, pushing the lead back to double-digits at 58-48 with 7:16 to go.
But Memphis was not done. Carter scored eight straight points in the final 4:31 of the game to get Memphis close, but with no other Tigers scoring, it set up a final play that the Red Storm knew would go to Carter. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had one shot blocked in the final minute, but Carter stole it back on the opposite end, setting up that final possession.
The Red Storm just kept coming at Memphis in the opening half, grabbing defensive rebounds and zipp ing up the floor in transition, where the host team hit layups in one-on-one situations against Tiger defenders. St. John's shot 69.6 percent from the floor in the opening half, with two players hitting the double-digit mark in the opening stanza (Sheeneika Smith with 15 and Eugeneia McPherson with 11). Memphis did get a pair of buckets from Jasmine Lee down low, each forcing a Red Storm timeout, as St. John's used three opening half timeouts to prevent Memphis from getting any momentum by getting the ball inside to Lee.
Carter and Lee were both named to the All-Tournament team. Carter finished with a game-high 23 points, but outside of Dickson's 10 points, no other Tiger scored double-digits. The Tigers were out-rebounded 36-30, including 13 offensive boards and Memphis shot just 38.3 percent from the field in the loss.
The Tigers will fly back to town on Monday and will leave on Wednesday for a Thursday night game at Big 12 foe Missouri. That game, also the front end of a doubleheader, will be played at 5 p.m.