Goldsmith Nails Game-Winning Free Throws in Road Win at Tennessee Tech
Dec. 30, 2008
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - - Tehani Goldsmith nailed a pair of free-throws with 2.9 seconds on the clock to lock up a 63-61 victory to close out the University of Memphis women's basketball team's non-conference schedule with a win Tuesday night. The 7-6 record through non-conference play means that the Tigers are coming in to Conference USA play with a winning record for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Sophomore guard Alex Winchell, who had been sick on the bus trip to Cookeville and all morning at shootaround, tied a career high with 16 points, including a three with 55 seconds remaining that created the third tie of the game and the first of the second half.
Savannah Ellis then collected a defensive rebound on the other end, feeding the ball ahead to Tehani Goldsmith, who drove hard to the rim, drawing contact. The foul was whistled with 2.9 seconds to play and Goldsmith stepped to the line and hit the first free-throw for a 62-61 lead, Memphis' first of the game. TTU called timeout to try to ice the shooter and to set up their offensive play off the second attempt. Goldsmith then sunk the second free-throw for the 63-61 lead. Blair Bowens caught the ball for TTU and launched the ball from half-court, but the shot bounced off the left side of the backboard for the Memphis victory.
"I told the kids I was really proud of them," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We were down the entire second half and in the end our last two offensive possessions we ran perfectly. I'm just really proud of them, we just hung and hung and stayed with it."
Memphis trailed 36-29 at the break after giving up 16 points in the paint, mostly in transition as the Tiger defense was sluggish in the opening 20 minutes, forcing just six TTU turnovers. The Tigers trailed by as many as 11, at 34-23 with 2:47 to play, before Alex Winchell drew a foul and hit the front end of a one-and-one followed by a three-point field goal to cut the score to 34-27 with 1:47 to play. Winchell would score 10 points in the opening half, with three triples and the one free-throw filling up her scoring column. Paris Leonard would knock down a pair of free-throws to cut the deficit to five, but that was as close as the Tigers could get in the opening stanza.
"We were disappointed in the first half when they made easy baskets because we made mistakes," McFerrin said. "They weren't big mistakes, but they just converted on our mistakes."
The Tigers will return home for a three-game conference stand, beginning with a Sunday afternoon contest against UAB at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. That game will be broadcast on CSS and game time has been changed to 1 p.m. in order to accommodate the live broadcast.
Memphis is 5-0 in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse so far this season and this will be the first Conference USA game for Head Coach Melissa McFerrin.