Tigers to Host One More C-USA Home Game Saturday
Jan. 9, 2009
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (7-8, 0-2 C-USA) has one more attempt to get a home victory before embarking on a four-game road swing when Southern Miss (8-7, 1-1 C-USA) comes to town on Saturday.
Memphis lost both of its C-USA opening games last week, falling to UAB on Sunday, then falling to UCF, Thursday night. Southern Miss is coming in off a C-USA road win at UAB, 79-67, a game that saw USM dominate the glass 42-23 over the Blazers.
The Golden Eagles have a solid group of seniors, to which they have added three more junior college transfers, including returning leading scorer Pauline Love. Love averages a double-double of 15.9 points and 10.7 rebounds, and is a threat from anywhere on the floor, having already connected on 9-of-39 three-point field goal attempts so far this year. The potential bad news for the Tigers after having given up 46 points in the paint on Thursday night, is that Love is not the only inside threat. Redshirt junior center Stephanie Helgeson averages 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds inside, and leads USM with 26 blocked shots in the first 15 games of the year.
Outside, USM has a combination of guards it can throw at the opposition, including junior college transfer Candace Rucker, who is third on the team in scoring with 8.9 points per game and who is already tied for the team lead with 25 steals with senior guard Amber Eugene. Sophomore Tanesha Washington adds 7.5 points per game and is the team's most prolific shooter from three-point range, connecting on 11-of-20 attempts (55.0) so far this year.
Memphis found out on Thursday night that without freshman guard Ramses Lonlack, the Tiger defense struggles. Lonlack picked up three fouls in the opening half, then picked up her fourth foul at the 16:01 mark in the second half, forcing the Tigers' best perimeter defender to the bench. Junior college transfer Tehani Goldsmith came off the bench against UCF, having a very productive 17 minutes, scoring 16 points. Ashley Thornton almost had a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, but had eight turnovers in the game. Paris Leonard added 15 points and a team-high three steals in the loss.
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But once opposing coaches saw Lonlack on tape, her numbers dropped from 10.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game to 8.1 points. In a six-game stretch, the first-year player managed double-digits just one time (at Mississippi State) and was actually held scoreless and in the loss to UT Arlington, which also marked the first of three straight games Lonlack was held without a steal.
But in the conference opener against UAB, Lonlack may have gotten herself back on track, posting her second career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and snapping her steal-less streak with two picks against the Blazers. The pendulum swung back the other way against UCF, as Lonlack picked up two quick fouls in the early minutes of the game, then added a third foul before halftime. She then picked up a fourth foul with 16:01 to play in the second half, and ended up playing just 27 minutes, the fewest minutes she's played since playing 26 in her first collegiate game.
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