Tigers to Host One More C-USA Home Game Saturday
Go Tigers! Junior Tehani Goldsmith scored 16 points in 17 minutes against UCF.
Go Tigers!
Junior Tehani Goldsmith scored 16 points in 17 minutes against UCF.
Go Tigers!

Jan. 9, 2009

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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.

About Southern Miss
This is the 45th meeting between Memphis and Southern Miss, and Memphis holds a narrow, 24-20 advantage. The Tigers won the last meeting between the two programs, 64-60, and that win marked Memphis' 100th Conference USA victory. That win was also Memphis' last league victory, as the Tigers lost to UCF to end last year's regular season, and are off to an 0-2 start so far this year. The win in the Fieldhouse last year snapped a five-game Tiger losing streak to USM.

Winchell One Shy of Career Top 10 in Threes
Sophomore guard Alex Winchell needs just one more three-point field goal to move in to the career top 10 in three-point field goals made. Winchell knocked down one three-point field goal against UCF to give her her 51st triple, and she needs one more to tie Heather Newlon's mark of 52.

Needing Some Glass Cleaners
Coming out of the non-conference part of the schedule, the Tigers were averaging 40.3 rebounds per game, while holding opponents to 37.6 rebounds a night, a 2.7 rebounding average. But the Tigers have been on the short end of the stick since league play started, and have been out-rebounded 80-67 in two league games (40.0-33.5/game average).

Lonlack Back?
Freshman guard Ramses Lonlack may have been one of the surprises early in the season for Tiger opponents, as the first year player has started every game so far this year and is the one who primarily draws the defensive responsibilities for the other team's ball-handlers.

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.

Leonard Eight Steals From Career Top 10
Senior guard Paris Leonard is just eight steals from breaking in to the Memphis career top 10. The Wooddale graduate has 171 steals in 97 career games (1.8/game) and currently ranks second in C-USA in overall steals with 2.67/game. She had three picks against UCF Thursday.

Missed Opportunities?
Memphis was getting to the free-throw line and converting opportunities with the clock stopped in non-conference play. The Tigers averaged 17.4 attempts per game at the line in the non-conference schedule and hit 67.7 percent of their attempts. In C-USA play, Memphis is averaging 18 attempts per game over the first two games, but has h it just 58.3 percent from the not-so-charitable stripe.

That's Scoring Production
Junior guard Tehani Goldsmith missed a start against UCF because she was trying to fight off an illness. So the junior came off the bench, played 17 minutes and scored 16 points. She hit three three-point field goals to finish with career highs in points and triples made.

The Low-Down
Memphis is a team that wants to keep the score low. When the Tigers hold their opponents to 65 points or under, they are 6-0. The Tigers are 1-2 when the opposition scores between 66-70 points, 0-3 when the opponents' point total is between 71-80 and 0-3 when its 81 or more.

Leonard Creeping Up On 15th All-Time
Senior guard Paris Leonard is just 61 points shy of breaking in to the career top 15 in scoring at Memphis. Leonard trails Lynn Enzweiler's mark of 1,185 points with 1,124 points heading in to the UCF game. She also needs just six more three-point field goals to break in to the career top five in that category at Memphis.



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