Tigers Wrap Non-Conference Slate Saturday

Jan. 3, 2013

Memphis (8-5) vs Wright State (6-6)
Elma Roane Fieldhouse (Memphis, Tenn.)
Sat., January 5, 2013 - 1 pm (CT) 

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The University of Memphis women's basketball team (8-5) will round out its non-conference slate, Saturday, against Wright State, at 1 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

Tigers vs. Wright State
This is the first-ever meeting between Memphis and Wright State, a member of the Horizon League. The Tigers are 3-2 all-time against the Horizon League, but have not faced a league member since facing Loyola (Chicago), in 2007, in the opening round of the tournament at Florida Gulf Coast. Memphis won that game, 86-79. This is the first year of a two-year contract with the Raiders, and will give Memphis players Pa’Sonna Hope (Cleveland), Jaymie Jackson (Toledo) and Courtney Powell (Youngstown) an opportunity to play in their home state of Ohio next season (Wright State is located in Dayton).

About Wright State
Head Coach Mike Bradbury is in his third season at Wright State and is in the midst of getting the program turned around. He has guided the Raiders to back-to-back post season appearances, appearing in the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) in both 2011 and 2012, and helped the team post its most-ever wins (21) last year. Last season, freshman Kim Demmings took the league by storm, winning the Newcomer of the Year award and first team, all-conference honors. Bradbury is familiar with this part of the country, as he served as the head coach at Morehead State for three seasons, posting a 50-44 record.

Prior to his head coaching stint, Bradbury served as an assistant coach at both Xavier and Cincinnati. He also served as an assistant coach at East Tennessee State in 1994-95 serving as a student-assistant (1991-93) and assistant coach at Chattanooga (1993-94). Now sophomore Kim Demmings leads the team with 20.7 points a night, adding 6.1 rebounds and shooting 36.0 percent from the field. Teammate KC Elkins is averaging 10.1 ppg and leads the team with 20 three-point field goals made. The Raiders have four different players with double-digit threes this season, and as a team, average 7.4 made triples a night. Demmings has 18 threes, Ivory James, 17, and Breanna Stucke, 16. As a team, Wright State ranks 27th in the country in three-point field goals made and 115th in three-point field goal percentage. All the firepower from beyond the arc helps the Raiders rank in the top 100 in the NCAA in team offense (67.0 ppg). Don’t plan on the Raiders giving up a lot of opportunities for points from the free-throw line or from turnovers. They rank 44thin the country in fewest fouls per game (14.1) and 67th in fewest turnovers (15.7). Wright State has played a tough non-conference slate, playing at Ohio State and Miami, two teams that have been in and out of the top 25 all year, and hosting Dayton, a team that is ranked in the top 20 in the country by the coaches. They have also played on the road at Southeast Missouri and Xavier. Like the Tigers, this will be their final non-conference game of the season, and the team is looking for its third road win of the year to finish their non-conference slate with a 3-3 record on the road.

January 5th --Historically

Memphis is 9-5 in games played on the January 5th.

1/5/12 Memphis 61, Tulane 59 *
1/5/07 SMU 97, Memphis 65 *
1/5/04 Memphis 68, at Lipscomb 58
1/5/01 Memphis 70, DePaul 52 *
1/5/98 Memphis 77, at Saint Louis 71 *
1/5/96 Memphis 89, UAB 53 *
1/5/94  at Middle Tennessee 74, Memphis 72
1/5/93 at No. 1 Vanderbilt 91, Memphis 57
1/5/92 Memphis 58, No. 24 Arkansas 50
1/5/91 Virginia Tech 71, Memphis 65 %
1/5/87 Memphis 82, at Louisville 62 %
1/5/84 Indiana 71, Memphis 69 (at Miami, Fla.)
1/5/82 Memphis 83, Kansas State 72
1/5/81 Memphis 77, Wisconsin 70
* C-USA Game % Metro Conference Game     

Two of the Country’s Top Scorers in Action Saturday
Saturday’s game should be a treat for Tigers fans. Two of the top 20 scorers in the country will be on the Elma Roane Fieldhouse floor. Wright State sophomore Kim Demmings is 16th in the country in scoring with 20.7 ppg, while Memphis’ Nicole Dickson is 20th in the country with 20.1 ppg.

Hearn Joins Double-Double Club
Freshman guard Ariel Hearn posted career highs in points and rebounds in the win over Tennessee Tech on Monday and also posted her first collegiate double-double after just missing a double-double with 12 assists and seven points in the season-opening win over Grambling State. The double-double from Hearn is the third on the season for the Tigers and is a bit of a rarity in that it’s a Tiger guard posting it. Last year, Memphis posted 29 double-doubles, but just one of those came from the guard spot, when Brittany Carter finished the loss at Missouri with 14 points and 10 rebounds on Dec. 22nd, 2011. Hearn is the third different player this year to post a double-double, joining Nicole Dickson (2) and Pa’Sonna Hope (1).

Tiger Double-Doubles
Nicole Dickson at UT Arlington (30 points, 13 rebounds), 11/21/12
Pa’Sonna Hope vat East Tennessee (13 points, 12 rebounds), 11/30/12
Nicole Dickson vs. UALR (10 points, 10 rebounds), 12/7/12
Ariel Hearn vs. Tennessee Tech (23 points, 10 rebounds), 12/31/12

Getting Defensive
With the two injuries to the starting guards and the reliance of the Tigers on so many newcomers to Melissa McFerrin’s system, it’s probably no surprise that in the eyes of the NCAA statistics for the whole season, the Tigers’ defense has been a work in progress, ranking 260th out of 343 by giving up 66.5 ppg and ranking 224th in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to hit 39.7 percent from the floor. But in the last five games, the light bulbs have kicked in. The Tigers have held opponents to 61.5 ppg in the five-game winning streak. Opponents are shooting 36.9 percent from the field and 22.6 percent from three-point range in the five-game streak. The Tigers are also out-scoring opponents 71.0-61.2 in that stretch and have started cutting down on turnovers, with opponents with more turns than Memphis (102-90).

Tigers Sweep C-USA Weekly Honors
Memphis swept the Conference USA weekly honors last week. Senior forward Nicole Dickson earned her second Player of the Week honor of the season and of her career for finishing with 28 points, including the game-winner with 0.4 left on the clock in the win over Missouri. Freshman guard Ariel Hearn picked up her first career C-USA Freshman of the Week award by scoring 12 of her eventual 17 points in the second half of that Missouri win. Over the last five games, Hearn is leading the Tigers in points (19.6), rebouds (6.6) and field goal percentage (52.2).

Bilqis is Back
Junior point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir missed eight games with a broken shooting hand suffered in the second half of the win at UT Arlington. She returned to the game against Missouri, coming off the bench and playing 25 minutes. She returned to the starting lineup against Tennessee Tech, finishing with 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting. She was 1-for-1 from three-point range and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line, so apparently her shooting hand isn’t bothering her. She played 34 minutes in the win over Tennessee Tech, and gives the Tigers an additional ball-handler and scorer to help alleviate the pressure on Ariel Hearn and Nicole Dickson.

Fuqua-Bey Figuring Into the Paint
Freshman Asianna Fuqua-Bey is a tough player for the Tigers to leave on the bench lately. The freshman had a career-best outing in the win at Seton Hall before the break, single-handedly working against two Pirates posts and helping them to the bench with foul trouble. She was a thorn in the side of Tennessee Tech on Monday, finishing with 13 points, just one shy of her career-best mark of 14 she set in the Seton Hall game two games prior. The emergence of Fuqua-Bey is good news for the Tigers inside. Junior Pa’Sonna Hope has started at the five for the last seven games. She scored 13 points in her first start, in the loss to UALR, but hasn’t scored double-digits since, and has played single digit minutes in two of the last three games. Sophomore Ann Jones, who made the first five starts at the five spot to start the season, has had some moments of dominating play inside, finishing with five rebounds in three of the last five games, but after back-to-back double-digit efforts in the win over UT Arlington (22 points) and the loss to Prairie View A&M (12 points), has not scored double-digits in the next eight games.

Jackson Getting into the Groove
Freshman guard Jaymie Jackson has been asked to fill big shoes. Originally, fellow freshman guard Mooriah Rowser was to have drawn the task of filling the ball-pressure spot anchored down by C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-C-USA defensive honoree Ramses Lonlack. But with Rowser going down in the early minutes of the third game of the year, the defensive responsibility for the on-the-ball pressure that the Tigers’ defensive thrives on has now fallen to Jaymie Jackson, a player who did not play basketball at all last year while recovering from a knee injury suffered before her senior season of high school ball. Since Memphis lost both Rowser and Abdul-Qaadir, Jackson has been a part of the starting lineup, and has played 20 or more minutes a game in each of the past nine contests, including a career-high 25 minutes in the win over Tennessee Tech. She has helped slow down opposing guards, giving her posts time to get set on the defensive end, and has grabbed 11 steals in nine games. If she has an area of the game that she is battling through right now, it’s on the offensive end. After a career-best outing of 14 points in the win over Alabama A&M that snapped the four-game losing streak, she has gone 0-for-17 from the floor in the next four games. She has, however, hit 12 straight free-throws if she can get herself to the line. The school record for consecutive free-throws made is 24.

With the Win Over Tennessee Tech
- Memphis has won five straight games after losing four straight. The five-game streak is the longest of the season.
- Memphis gave up more than 60 points to the opponents, but still prevailed with the win. Memphis is 4-4 when the opponents score more than 60 points, but is 4-1 when holding opponents to 59 points and under.
- Memphis improved to 8-5 in the non-conference slate. With just one non-conference game remaining, the Tigers can finish no worse than 8-6 in non-conference games and will give Melissa McFerrin her fifth straight season at Memphis with a winning non-conference record. McFerrin’s Memphis teams have never finished .500 or lower for the non-conference slate. In her first season (2008-09), the Tigers were 7-6, the program’s first winning record in non-league play since 2004.

Memphis’ Non-Conference Record Under McFerrin

2008-09 7-6
2009-10 7-6
2010-11 11-3
2011-12 10-3
2012-13 8-5 (1 game left)

Conference Play Opens Thursday

Memphis will be done with the non-conference slate after Saturday’s contest against Wright State. The Tigers open Conference USA play on Thursday, on the road at Houston. The Tigers return home for their second C-USA contest when they host Southern Miss, Jan. 13th, at 3:30 p.m. in FedExForum. That game will be televised live on Fox Sports Network.

Another Game Moved to FedExForum
The Tigers will be moving a second Conference USA contest to FedExForum, the NBA home of the Memphis Grizzlies. On February 24th, the Tigers will host UTEP in the downtown venue at 2 p.m. Admission will be free for the game, which will also be played in the venue while Youth Villages’ Soup Sunday activities are underway in the concourse. Soup Sunday attendees can check out a Tiger game in the lower bowl as part of their admission into Soup Sunday. The Miners should be comfortable in the NBA arena. They just won the 2012 C-USA conference tournament championship there last season.

Dickson Passes 20 Point Mark Again
Memphis has played 12 games so far this season and in six of those, Nicole Dickson has scored 20 or more points. She scored 30 or more points in three of those six contests. When Dickson hits 20 or more points, Memphis is 5-1. The one loss, unfortunately for the Greeneville, Tenn., native, was the loss at East Tennessee State, where she scored 30 points in front of a sizable crowd with family and friends in the stands.

Opponent Check-Up

Grambling State (1-11, 0-1 SWAC): Dropped SWAC opener, 78-56, to Alabama A&M; plays at Alabama State, Friday.

Middle Tennessee (8-5, 3-1 Sun Belt): Used another last second bucket to get a Sun Belt win, defeated Arkansas State, 72-70; plays at South Alabama, Saturday.

Illinois State (8-4, 0-0 Missouri Valley): Won at Butler, 65-57; opens Missouri Valley Conference play Friday, against Northern Iowa. 

Texas-Arlington (3-9, 1-1 WAC): Suffered first WAC loss, 90-52, at Denver; plays at Louisiana Tech, Saturday.

Prairie View A&M (4-7, 1-0 SWAC): Won SWAC opener, 64-52, at Alcorn State; plays at Southern, Friday.

East Tennessee State (2-6, 0-1 A-Sun): Lost Atlantic Sun opener, 90-79, at USC Upstate; plays at Lipscomb, Saturday.

UALR (10-2, 3-1 Sun Belt): Lost in double overtime at UL Lafayette, 56-54; hosts Sun Belt East Division leading Western Kentucky, Thursday.

Illinois (7-6, 0-1 Big 10): Almost upset another top 15 team, but was edged, 67-66, by No. 14 Purdue; plays at No. 23 Ohio State, Sunday.

Alabama A&M (2-9, 1-0 SWAC): Won SWAC opener against Grambling State, 78-56; hosts Jackson State, Friday.

Saint Louis (6-8): Downed Winthrop, 62-53; wraps up non-conference play at Southeast Missouri, Wednesday, Jan. 9th.

Seton Hall (5-8, 0-0 BIG EAST): Defeated Wofford, 57-53; hosts Pittsburgh in BIG EAST opener, Saturday.

Missouri (11-3): Had seven game winning streak snapped at Memphis, 72-69; plays at Georgia, Thursday.

Tennessee Tech (7-7, 1-0 Ohio Valley): Lost at Memphis, 73-64; hosts OVC newcomer Belmont, Saturday.

Wright State (6-6): Defeated Morehead State, 53-46; plays at Memphis Saturday to wrap up non-conference slate.

Houston (5-7): Hampered by foul trouble in 86-56 loss at Texas Tech; wraps up non-conference slate against Delaware State, Sunday.

Southern Miss (7-5): Defeated William Carey, 76-46; plays at New Orleans, Saturday.

East Carolina (10-3): Closed out non-conference play with a 71-53 win over George Mason; opens C-USA plays against Rice, Thursday, Jan. 10th.

Tulane (10-2): Won own home tournament, 69-63, over McNeese State; closes out non-conference play Monday, vs. Loyola-New Orleans.

UAB (9-4): Lost to visiting Chattanooga, 66-57; opens league play at UCF, Thursday.

UCF (5-8): Upended Florida Gulf Coast, 60-53; plays at Bowling Green, Friday..

Rice (8-5): Had its six-game winning streak snapped at No. 24 Texas A&M in a 80-57 loss; plays at East Carolina, Thursday.

Marshall (6-7): Lost to Navy, 67-51; their first back-to-back losses of the season; plays at Southern Miss, Thursday.

SMU (9-4): Defeated Harvard, 88-73; plays Tulane, Thursday, Jan. 10th.

UTEP (12-1): Sprinted past UT Pan American, 83-56; opens league plays at Tulsa, Wednesday.

Tulsa (4-8): Despite a career-high 33 points from Taleya Mayberry, fell at Stephen F. Austin, 73-69; hosts Langston, Thursday..



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