Jan. 25, 2012
Marketing & Promotions: Tiger Dining Night -- First 300 U of M students in to the game receive a FREE T-shirt!
Tigers vs. Marshall
This is the 15th meeting between Memphis and Marshall and the visiting Thundering Herd leads the overall series, 10-4. But those four Memphis wins have come in the last four meetings. The Tigers are looking to defend their home court against a Thundering Herd team that is looking to avoid a fifth straight loss to Memphis and a third straight loss that has dropped Marshall's overall record to 12-6 on the season and 3-2 in Conference USA.
Marshall will run a lot of players at the Tigers in this first match-up of the 2011-12 season. No Marshall player averages double-digit points, but six different players average over five points a game and nine different players average over 10 minutes a contest.
After facing the nation's third-ranked defense on Sunday at UAB, things don't get much better when the Thundering Herd comes to town. Marshall's defense ranks 35th in the country, allowing just 54.5 points per game. The Thundering Herd's field goal percentage defense number is even tougher, ranking 19th in the country with 34.3 percent field goal percentage allowed. Marshall also uses the multi-player rotation to build up an advantage on the glass, ranking 26th in the country with a +7.2 rebound advantage.
Carter Named Finalist for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
Senior guard Brittany Carter was named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday. Memphis' leading scorer with 16.2 ppg, Carter is a three-time team captain and is coming off a 22-point effort in the win at UAB on Sunday. The Covington, Ga., already has one degree in hand, having graduated with a degree in criminal justice last May, and is currently working on a second degree in sports administration. A member of the Tiger 3.0 Club following the fall semester, Carter spent the summer working with Morgan Keegan in Memphis and following a possible professional basketball career, has aspirations to become an FBI agent.
Memphis picked up a pair of Conference USA road wins last week, which was a big help to the Tigers' NCAA RPI, improving from #119 to #93. Now the Tigers will need to build on their 10-0 home record to avoid becoming a good RPI win for their opponents.
Looking for Four in a Row
Memphis has won three straight league games and is looking for a fourth on Thursday night. Memphis has won four straight C-USA games just two other times since Melissa McFerrin took the program over in the 2008-09 season -- once last year and once in the 2009-2010 season.
Welcome Back Carter
After shooting under 30 percent in the Tigers' first three Conference USA games, senior guard Brittany Carter got herself back on track last week, shooting 62.5 percent from the field in the win at Southern Miss and shooting 61.5 percent in the win at UAB. The 22-point effort at UAB was Carter's sixth 20-plus point game of the season and the 25th of her career. After four straight games of not hitting a three-point field goal, she has now connected on a triple in each of the past two games.
Lee Drawing Doubles in the Paint
Senior forward Jasmine Lee has drawn a lot of attention down low this season. Against UAB's No. 3 ranked defense, Lee was routinely working against a double-team that featured 6-5 Meagan Brown and either 6-0 forward Michaelea Kleist or 6-2 forward Destiny Samuels. Those duos forced Lee in to four turnovers, the highest number of turnovers in 12 games for the senior who hailed from nearby Bessemer. But Lee was still working underneath, as some rare one-on-ones allowed the senior to score 11 points. Lee led all players with 12 rebounds, marking her eighth double-double of the season and her second in C-USA play.
Pair of Thieves
Sophomore guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and senior guard Brittany Carter are leading the Tigers with 42 steals on the season. The duo is taking advantage of teammate Ramses Lonlack in a way, as Lonlack's two-time C-USA All-Defensive team honors have made her a part of Tiger opponents' game plans in regards to bringing the ball up the court. With Lonlack, who has over 266 career steals, getting schemed against by not allowing her player to bring the ball up the court, that has opened the door for Abdul-Qaadir and Carter, and the tandem has had no hesitation running through it. Abdul-Qaadir has had at least one steal in all but two games this year, with multiple steals in 12 of Memphis' first 18 games, while Carter has had a steal in all but three games, with multiple steals in 11 games. Carter's 42 steals so far this season is just nine away from as many as she had all of last season (51).
Jack of All Trades Collier
Senior guard Danay Collier has been asked to do a little bit of everything for Memphis this year. She is backing up both the one and two guard spots, has been asked to be a primary defender to give Ramses Lonlack a rest, and is the team's most effective three-point field goal shooter at 40.0 percent (she ranks second in total threes made with 18). The senior has scored in every game this season, including a career-high 15 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting from three-point range in the win at Southern Miss last week. Her 5.4 ppg scoring average is well over the 1.7 ppg average she had last season as a junior college transfer, and she has added seven blocks and 24 steals this season with her active hands.
The Free Throw Conundrum
One game after shooting better from the three-point line (68.8) than from the free-throw line (48.0), the Tigers shot 71.0 percent from the stripe in the win at UAB. The free-throw line helped keep an aggressive UAB team at bay, as the Blazers used a second half run to cut what had been a 17-point Memphis advantage at one point to just three mid-way through the second half. But Tiger rebounding and conversions at the line helped keep rebuild the Memphis advantage to double-digits by the end of the game.
Defense Creating Offense
Against UAB, a team that made its living converting turnovers to buckets on the other end, the Tigers were on the wrong end of an 18-5 points off turnover number. That 13 point deficit marked just the third time this season that Memphis had more of its own turnovers go for points than the other way around. The other two games were both losses (a -1 deficit at Illinois and a -5 one at UTEP). Taking care of the basketball in conference play is especially crucial. In non-conference play, the Tigers averaged 14.9 turnovers a game, since C-USA play has started, that number has crept up to 16.4. An example of how opponent turnovers turns to something good for Memphis is Brittany Carter. In the first three league games, Carter had three total steals and averaged just 7.0 ppg. In the last two games, she has had four total steals and is averaging 16.5 ppg.
Lonlack Gearing Back Up
Two games after getting a season-high five steals in a win over East Carolina, senior guard Ramses Lonlack got back on the glass in the win at UAB, finishing with seven rebounds, including four offensive, in the win at UAB. Coach McFerrin challenged the Tiger guards to each get five rebounds and Memphis out-rebounded UAB 45-29 in the win with everyone focusing on getting to caroms. The seven boards came just one game after Lonlack was held without a single rebound in the win at USM. That 0-fer stat marked the first time this season and just the fourth time in her 115-game Tiger career that Lonlack has been held without a rebound in a game.
Double-Double Dickson, Well, Almost
Nicole Dickson and Jasmine Lee have each grabbed eight double-doubles this season. That number has been ever so close to being more for Dickson. Last week, she finished with 11 rebounds, but nine points in limited minutes at Southern Miss. Then at UAB, she finished with 14 points, but nine rebounds.
Harvey Making Most of Opportunity
Sophomore post Krishunda Harvey is making the most of the increased minutes she has seen since the injury to Ann Jones in the Tulane game. Harvey is averaging 3.0 rebounds per game in the last three outings and scored a career-high six points on 3-for-5 shooting in the win at Southern Miss last Thursday.
Abdul-Qaadir Coming Off Career Night
Sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir dished out a career-best 10 assists in just 25 minutes of play in the win at Southern Miss. That marked her first double-digit assist game of her young career at the Tiger point and marked the first time since Alex Winchell had 10 assists last year (also vs. Southern Miss) that a Memphis player has had 10 assists in a game.
Early in the season, Nicole Dickson was double-double Dickson, posting a school-record seven straight double-doubles. A strained oblique muscle slowed her down on the glass a bit, but the junior is back to looking like herself, but with a new dimension. In the last six games, she has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range five times. Her 25.0 percent clip in the win at UAB snapped a streak of five straight games over 50.0 percent from beyond the arc for the junior from Greeneville.
- Walk-on Alex Prince knocked down her first collegiate bucket, a three-point field goal, in the win at Southern Miss. Prince successfully walked on to the Tiger roster from Memphis area Southwind High School.
- Danay Collier has scored in 19 straight games, dating back to last season. Collier missed the C-USA tournament and the WNIT game against Alabama with a foot injury. The senior couldn't convert from the floor against ECU, but was 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to keep her scoring streak alive. She followed that scoreless stint from the floor with a 5-for-8 effort to finish with a career-high 15 points at USM.
- Lauren McGraw is a freshman point guard, that usually comes with enough learning curve. Her curve is even bigger since McGraw did not play point guard in high school, she is converting to a point guard after playing shooting guard at Dillard High School in Ft. Myers, Florida. She played just four minutes in the win at UAB, but drilled a three during a Memphis run that was building a 34-23 halftime lead. That triple was the first for the freshman since Memphis' second game of the season, the win over Belmont.