Memphis Dashes Delta Devilettes, 62-51
Dec. 18, 2013
MEMPHIS - -
There were moments when it was not pretty, but the University of Memphis women's basketball team (6-5) snuck past an upset-minded Mississippi Valley (1-8) team, 62-51, Wednesday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
"It was less-than-stellar performance on both sides of the basketball," Head Coach Melissa McFerrinsaid. "The thing I was disappointed in was we just didn't have any balance. Ariel scored well, Asia played pretty well, Taylor played pretty well, but we had some players that were a little bit absent. At times I thought it just took a little bit of energy to get ourselves going again, but we had a hard time mustering that. It was a game that we wanted to take a little more control of than we were able to, so we were a little disappointed in that, but nonetheless, we walk away with a win, but all I know is we can play better basketball than that."
It was a jagged start for the Tigers, who committed four turnovers and were shooting just 27.3 percent from the field to open the game. But after working their way back to a tie at 12-12, Ariel Hearnknocked down back-to-back threes to put the Tigers up 18-12 mid-way through the first half.
Those two triples opened things up for the Tigers from beyond the arc, as Hearn added another triple, then set up teammates Taylor Williams (two) and Devin Mack(one) for triples of their own. The Tigers were 6-for-9 from three-point range in the first half, and would ride that cushion through a Mississippi Valley State run that would trim what had been a 14-point Tiger lead to single digits at halftime. Derita Silas hit a jumper at the first half buzzer to send the Devilettes to the locker room down, 36-29.
"I thought they beat us a bit on the glass in the first half," McFerrin said. "And then the turnovers in the second half were an indication of us just not being completely focused on what we were trying to get done. We got a little distracted."
The Tigers struggled through turnovers in the second half, committing 13 of their 23 turnovers in the final 20 minutes. The lost possessions hurt on the scoreboard too, as Memphis scored just seven second half field goals. With a little more than five minutes left in the game, MVSU made another run and again trimmed a double-digit Memphis lead to single digits as Memphis was fouling shooters, who then converted and-ones to cut the lead to five at 51-46 with 5:49 remaining.
But a Hearn bucket snapped the run and the Tigers worked their way back to the free-throw line to push the game to the final 62-51 score.
Hearn finished with a team-high 26 points, tying her career-high and giving her a fifth 20-plus point game of the season. Asianna Fuqua-Bey added a double-double of 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Freshman Taylor Williamsfinished with a career-high 10 points, all in the first half, adding seven rebounds. Williams and Fuqua-Bey also led the team with three steals apiece, and Fuqua-Bey led Memphis with three blocked shots.
Ashley Beals led Mississippi Valley State with 22 points and 13 rebounds. DeRita Silas added 10 points and a game-high five steals.
Memphis will close out the non-conference slate, Friday, when Arkansas-Pine Bluff comes to town for a 7 p.m. game. That game will be Senior Citizen night for the Tigers, where all fans ages 55 and up will receive $1.00 admission.