Marketing & Promotions: Pouncer's Pals Game: All Pouncer's Pals will receive free admission, as will one paying adult per Pouncer's Pal member. Miss a chance to sign up for Pouncer's Pals? You can sign up here for a reduced price of $10 for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. There will be a poster-making opportunity for Pouncer's Pals before the game.
M-Club Members and TSF Donors receive free admission. They can bring up to four guests for free admission with a printed copy of the emails sent out earlier this week.
The University of Memphis (9-6, 0-1 C-USA) women's basketball team will host its C-USA home opener, Sunday, at 3:30 p.m. against Southern Miss (9-5, 1-0 C-USA) at FedExForum. That game will air live on national tv on Fox Sports Net.
Tigers vs. Southern Miss This is the 55th meeting in the series between the two schools. Memphis has faced Southern Miss more than any other opponent in school history and leads the overall series, 30-24. The two teams each won on the other's home floor last season, with the Tigers winning in Hattiesburg in the first meeting, 85-44, with Southern Miss returning the favor in a 62-54 win in Memphis four games later. That loss was the first game missed by Brittany Carter, who had been hurt in the waning seconds of a road win at East Carolina just three days prior to the USM game. That USM loss would end up being Memphis' lone loss in the Fieldhouse last season. Memphis has won six of the last eight meetings between the two teams, including two games that have gone to overtime.
About Southern Miss Conference USA is full of great point guards, and Southern Miss has one of them on their roster. Junior guard Jamierra Faulkner does a little bit of everything for the Golden Eagles. She leads the team in scoring with 17.1 ppg and ranks second in the country in steals with 60 steals through the first 14 games.
She is joined in the backcourt by the 2012 C-USA Newcomer of the Year Tanecka Carey. Carey averaged 16.1 ppg and is the team's leading three-point shooter, having connected on 35 three-point field goals and shooting a spectacular 39.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
Inside, freshman Jerontay Clemons leads the effort on the glass with 7.4 rebounds a night. She is also a third double-digit scorer for McNelis, averaging 10.6 ppg. The freshman has started 13 of 14 games. Southern Miss has been a team of streaks heading into the conference opening week. After dropping two games to open the season, they reeled off four wins, including an overtime win over McNeese State, before losing two games. After splitting the next pair of games, USM has now won four straight games heading into the Sunday afternoon contest with the Tigers. Like Memphis, Southern Miss suffered a loss to UALR. That is the lone common opponent between the two teams in the non-conference schedule. USM lost to the Trojans 64-45 and the Tigers lost to them 56-44.
Lots of Youth on the Floor Saturday There are just a few newcomers on the floor today between the two teams. Memphis has eight new players, seven which will dress after the season-ending injury to Mooriah Rowser in the third game of the season, while Southern Miss has six new freshmen on the roster.
Our Downtown Home This afternoon's game is the 20th that Memphis will be playing in the NBA home of the Memphis Grizzlies. FedExForum is also home to the Tiger men's basketball team. Memphis' overall record in the building is upside down, at 6-13, but the Tigers have won five of their last six games here, including three of the last four televised from the venue. The one loss? The semifinal game against Tulane in the C-USA women's basketball championship last season. This is the second time the Memphis vs. Southern Miss game has been moved to the venue for TV. The Tigers won the first televised meeting here between the two, 78-58, on Jan. 30, 2011.
Busy in the Community After flying back from Houston on Thursday night, the women's basketball team took the almost 200 teddy bears that were donated at our annual Teddy Bear Toss game to LeBonheur Children's Hospital here in Memphis on Friday before practice. Thanks again to all our fans who donated a bear to distribute to a child who is staying at LeBonheur!
Getting Defensive It came up on her post game radio show, her TV coaches' show and her weekly radio show. Head coach Melissa McFerrin is incredibly unhappy with her team's defensive effort as of late. The Tigers rank last in Conference USA in scoring defense (67.1), 10th in field goal defense (39.1) and 11th in three-point field goal defense (31.4).
The Tigers' transition defense had an especially rough night in the loss at Houston. The Cougars converted 23 points off 17 Memphis turnovers. Between the turnovers and the fouls that sent the Cougars to the free-throw line 25 times, Memphis gave up too many easy buckets. Memphis could not keep senior point guard Porsche Landry out of the lane in the loss at Houston, and the sixth-year senior exploited it, almost to the tune of a triple double, finishing with 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Life will not be an easier Sunday with Jamierra Faulkner running at the defense for Southern Miss.
Abdul-Qaadir Stepping Back Into the Flow Redshirt junior point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir missed seven games with a broken hand suffered late in the win at Texas-Arlington. The loss was felt by the Tigers not only for her ball-handling ability, but also for her shooting. With the graduation of 2012 C-USA Player of the Year Jasmine Lee and three-time all-conference honoree Brittany Carter, Abdul-Qaadir worked on her shot in the off-season and was a double-digit scorer for Memphis when she went down. In the four games back since her return to the line-up, she has now scored double-digit points in three straight games, including a career-high 17 points in the loss at Houston, Thursday.
The junior from Springfield, Mass., now has 472 points in her Memphis career (6.3 ppg). She is shooting 46.3 percent from the floor this season and 50.0 percent from three-point range. She does not appear in any of the Conference USA rankings, because she has not appeared in the mandated 80 percent of the Tigers' games due to her injury.
Dickson to 15th in Career Scoring With her 23 point night at Houston, Nicole Dickson moved to 15th in the University of Memphis record book in career points with 1,377. She passed Paris Leonard's (2005-09) mark of 1,369 and now has her eyes on Shannon Hamp's mark of 1,427 points to move to 14th in school history.
Fuqua-Bey Trying to Solidify The Post Freshman post Asia Fuqua-Bey has been the Tigers' starting five player in the last two games as the Tigers' coaching staff is looking for some consistency out of the post. She responded with a career-high 10 rebounds in the loss at Houston, her first double-digit rebounding effort in her 15th career game.
Memphis has post players with high field goal percentages, just not the volume of shots that the Tigers' staff would like. Fuqua-Bey shoots 61.8 percent from the field, Ann Jones shoots 60.3 percent from the field and Pa'Sonna Hope is shooting 50.6 percent from the floor. Between the three of them, they have attempted 210 shots this season, 54 fewer shots than Nicole Dickson has attempted by herself. The Tigers' coaching staff would like to get more production from the five spot and lately, it's been the freshman getting the start there.
C-USA Openers Under McFerrin With the loss at Houston on Thursday, Memphis falls to 8-10 all-time in its C-USA openers, including a mark of 3-2 since Melissa McFerrin has taken over the program. In C-USA road openers, the Tigers are also 3-2. Memphis is 3-1 in C-USA home openers, and has won three straight home openers after losing their first one under McFerrin, 71-62, to UAB. Memphis' last C-USA home opener at FedExForum was a 74-54 win over Marshall in the 2010-11 season.
Don't Foul! Memphis is a team gets whistled for a lot of fouls, they rank No. 327 out of 343 NCAA Division I teams with 20.1 personal fouls per game called against them. When the Tigers give their opponents more than 20 attempts from the free-throw line, they are 4-5 on the season. When Memphis gives their opponents fewer than 19 attempts from the stripe, they are 5-1.
Jackson Eying Free-Throw Mark Freshman guard Jaymie Jackson has knocked down 18 consecutive free-throws heading in to Sunday's match-up with Southern Miss. She is now just six away from tying the school record for consecutive free-throws made (24), held by Devin Necaise and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir. Abdul-Qaadir had that consecutive free-throw streak snapped last season in the win over Seton Hall.
Triple Digits for the First Time Under McFerrin Memphis did something in the last game that it had not done under Coach McFerrin before Saturday afternoon. Memphis had its hands full in the first half against Wright State, watching as the Raiders trimmed what had been a 14 point lead all the way down to five and led just 53-44 at the break. But after getting an earful about their defensive effort in the locker room, the Tigers clamped down and scored 22 of the next 24 points in the game to blow open the lead. McFerrin pulled starters Nicole Dickson and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir with the team well up, but the bench kept the offense moving, all the way to the 100 point barrier. That marked the first time since Mar.19, 1999 that a Tiger team scored 100 or more points in a game.
On This Date in History -- January 13 Memphis is 2-4 on January 13th in its history. The Tigers have faced Southern Miss on one of those January 13ths, winning 65-55 in the 2001-02 season.
With the Loss at Houston - Memphis had its season-high six-game winning streak snapped. - Memphis gave up more than 60 points to the opponents. Memphis is 5-5 when the opponents score more than 60 points, but is 4-1 when holding opponents to 59 points and under. - Nicole Dickson overcame a slow shooting start, as she started the game going 2-for-10 from the field. In the second half, she started 5-for-6, finishing with a 5-for-11 second half, scoring 13 of her 23 points in the second stanza. - Freshman Ariel Hearn played just seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Without their reliable second scoring option, the Tigers struggled to convert anything driven into the paint. The rust showed in the second half, as Hearn was just 3-for-13 from the field in the second half, an uncharacteristic shooting night for the Arlington High School graduate. Hearn did have five assists and three steals in the second half, including scoring Memphis' final five points to trim what had been an eight-point deficit with 1:43 remaining to just a three-point one with 21 seconds left in the game. - Memphis led 65-64 with 4:13 left in the game, but gave up three straight layups in a 6-0 Houston run that gave the Cougars the lead for good. The Tigers did get a look at a three to tie it up and try for overtime, but Hearn's shot rimmed off the iron and Dickson couldn't get a shot off in time before regulation expired.
We'll Be Back Downtown in February The Tigers' Feb. 24th game against preseason favorite UTEP has been moved down to FedExForum. Game time remains at 2 p.m. That Sunday will also be Youth Villages' Soup Sunday, one of their fundraising events that brings Mid-South area restaurants to the concourse of FedExForum to hand out samples of soup, breads and desserts. Anyone attending Soup Sunday will also receive free admission to our Memphis women's game.
Grambling State (2-13, 1-3 SWAC): Lost to Alcorn State, 71-58; plays at Prairie View A&M, Saturday.
Middle Tennessee (10-5, 5-1 Sun Belt): Moved into a three-way tie for first in the East of the Sun Belt with a 73-59 win over Florida Atlantic; plays at UL Monroe, Saturday.
Illinois State (10-4, 2-1 Missouri Valley): Lost at Creighton, 64-45, to suffer first MVC loss; plays at Drake, Sunday.
Texas-Arlington (3-11, 1-3 WAC): Lost to UT San Antonio, 59-57; hosts Texas State, Saturday.
Prairie View A&M (4-9, 1-2 SWAC): Lost to Texas Southern,64-57; hosts Grambling State, Saturday.
East Tennessee State (3-7, 1-2 A-Sun): Lost to league newcomer Northern Kentucky, 68-55; hosts Florida Gulf Coast, Saturday.
UALR (12-3, 5-2 Sun Belt): Downed North Texas, 67-53; plays FIU, Saturday.
Illinois (9-6, 2-1 Big 10): Won on the road again in Big 10 play, downing Northwestern, 65-47; hosts Michigan State, Sunday.
Alabama A&M (5-9, 4-0 SWAC): Remain perfect in SWAC play with a 73-62 win over UA-Pine Bluff; hosts Alabama State, Saturday.
Saint Louis (6-9, 0-0 Atlantic 10): Lost at Southeast Missouri, 59-52; opens A10 play, Saturday, vs. VCU.
Seton Hall (7-8, 2-0 BIG EAST): Picked up a BIG EAST road win at Cincinnati, 64-56; plays at St. John's Saturday.
Missouri (12-5, 1-2 SEC): Lost at No. 9 Tennessee, 84-39; hosts Kentucky, Sunday.
Tennessee Tech (9-7, 3-0 Ohio Valley): Remains perfect in Ohio Valley play following an 80-77 win over Tennessee State; plays at SIU Edwardsville, Saturday.
Wright State (7-7, 1-0 Horizon League): Won league opener at Milwaukee, 71-61, behind career-high 35 points from Demmings; plays at Green Bay, Saturday.
Houston (7-7, 1-0 C-USA): Downed Memphis 77-74; plays at UAB, Sunday.
Southern Miss (9-5, 1-0 C-USA): Came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to down visiting Marshall, 48-46; plays at Memphis, Sunday.
East Carolina (11-3, 1-0 C-USA): Jumped up early on Rice and pulled away in a 60-41 win; plays at UTEP, Sunday.
Tulane (11-3, 0-1 C-USA): Dropped its league opener to visiting SMU, 62-56; plays at Marshall, Sunday.
UAB (10-4, 1-0 C-USA): Won on the road at UCF, 64-46; hosts Houston, Sunday.
UCF (6-9, 0-1 C-USA): Had its three-game winning streak snapped by UAB, 64-46; plays at SMU, Sunday.
Rice (8-6, 0-1 C-USA): Dropped its first C-USA road game, 60-41, at East Carolina; hosts Tulsa, Sunday.
Marshall (6-8, 0-1 C-USA): Led at the half, but fell 48-46 at Southern Miss, hosts Tulane, Sunday.
SMU (10-4, 1-0 C-USA): Won on the road at Tulane, 62-56; plays at UCF, Sunday.
UTEP (13-1, 1-0 C-USA): Extended their winning streak to eight with a 71-64 road win at Tulsa; hosts East Carolina, Sunday.
Tulsa (5-9, 0-1 C-USA): Lost to preseason favorite UTEP, 71-64; plays at Rice, Sunday.