Jan. 26, 2007
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The Lady Tiger basketball team will have to look to the road in an effort to snap a 10-game losing streak. Saturday Memphis will face travel partner UAB in Birmingham, kicking off a three-game conference road swing that includes games at Marshall and East Carolina.
In the first meeting of the season against UAB, the Lady Tigers did not do something that most league schools have not been able to do, which is to contain senior guard Carmen Guzman. Guzman was the lone UAB player to score double-digit points in the first meeting, as the league's leading scorer finished with 23 points, but UAB scored 42 of their 75 points in the paint, and had 11 different players score in the game. UAB also used a significant 46-30 rebounding advantage over the Lady Tigers to keep Memphis at bay in a 75-59 win in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Lakitha Murray came off the bench for UAB to grab seven rebounds, while Erica Simpson also came off the bench and grabbed six boards.
Memphis had three players in double digits in the first meeting with UAB, led by 13 each from Ashley Thornton and Devin Necaise. Thornton also led Memphis with six rebounds, two under her season average, while Fantroy managed to hit double-digit scoring, adding 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
The game in Birmingham will be a homecoming for sophomore Ashley Thornton, who hails from nearby Pinson, Ala., and who played last season for Birmingham Southern. Thornton transferred to Memphis after Birmingham Southern announced plans to move to NCAA Division III, and is Memphis' leading rebounder with 8.5 per game, and third-leading scorer with 9.2 points per night. Thornton is also second on the team with 28 steals and nine blocks.
Memphis is looking to get some shooters back on track as the senior guard Devin Necaise has shot 13.0 percent (3-23) in the last two games, perhaps pushing to get to her 1,000th career point, while Ashley Thornton shot 11.8 percent (2-for-17) in the last two games against some significantly bigger players inside.
With two of the team's top three scorers struggling to convert from the field, the Lady Tigers have gotten off to slow starts in each of the last two games, hitting just 23.1 percent from the field, as Thornton has not hit a shot from the field in the first half in the last two games, while Necaise has knocked down just 2 of 11 attempts. Freshmen Hope Adams and Jazmyn Green have tried to step up and fill those scoring roles, as Green as averaged 7.5 ppg over the last two tries, while Adams is averaging 6.5 ppg in the last two trips out.
Memphis vs. UAB
This is the 38th meeting in the history between the Lady Tigers and the Blazers of UAB. Memphis leads the overall series 24-13, but has now lost three straight to UAB, including a 75-59 decision at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse earlier this month to open league play.
Memphis has not won in Birmingham since the 2004-05 season when then-senior Victoria Crawford, a Birmingham native, scored 16 points and Kaneshi Hart added eight points inside during a crucial second half run to hold off the Blazers 51-47.
Frigid First Halves Negating Lady Tiger Rebounding Work
Memphis has gotten better results on the boards in the last four games, out-rebounding its opponents in two games, while being out-rebounded by six rebounds at UCF and eight against East Carolina. But the Lady Tigers' first half shooting has negated early rebounding leads, as Memphis has hit just 23.1 percent (15-of-65) from the field over the last two games. Aroha Jennings was 3-for-12 in the first half, Devin Necaise was 2-for-11 (with nine of her shots coming from three-point range); Alysse Davis was 2-for-10 (with seven of her shots coming from three-point range), Se'erra Fantroy was 2-for-6 and Ashley Thornton was 0-for-9. The result has been double-digit first half deficits in all but one of the last four games (Memphis trailed USM 34-32 at the half).
Thornton Turns Up the Rebounding
Sophomore Ashley Thornton finished the Marshall game, featuring three 6-3 players for the opposition, with 13 rebounds, her sixth double-digit rebounding effort of the season. Over the last four games, the Pinson, Ala.., native is averaging 11.3 rebounds per game, having grabbed nine rebounds in games at UCF and against Marshall. Thornton leads Memphis with four double-doubles on the season.
Leonard 10 From 500
Memphis sophomore Paris Leonard is just 10 points shy of the 500 career point mark. Over her 1 1/2 year career, Leonard is averaging 10.4 points and has played in 47 career games.
Thornton Looking to Pass 200 Mark Twice
Sophomore Ashley Thornton is just seven points shy of her 200th career point in a Lady Tiger uniform, and needs just 22 more rebounds to have 200 career rebounds at Memphis. Thornton has 193 career points and 178 career rebounds in her one year at Memphis.
Adams Has Second Double-Digit Scoring Night of Career
Freshman Hope Adams had her second career double-digit scoring night with 11 points in the loss to East Carolina. Adams was 4-for-6 from the field, was 2-for-2 from the free-throw line and 1-for-1 from three-point range. Adams is also one of the team's better offensive rebounders. Her 38 rebounds is second on the team, despite averaging just 16.8 minutes per game (fifth on the team). Against UAB in the first meeting, Adams had just two offensive rebounds. The entire team's work on the boards will be key to snapping the current losing skid.
Valuing the Basketball
The Lady Tigers have battled turnovers throughout the last four games, committing a season-high 35 turnovers at UCF, then committing 29 turnovers in the home game against Marshall. The Lady Tigers cut back on the turnovers in the ECU game, committing 17, but could not convert on the offensive end to take advantage of more offensive possessions.
Jennings Becomes Team's Leading Scorer
Junior forward Aroha Jennings has scored double-digits in 10 of the last 13 games, including last three straight. She now leads the team with 11.0 ppg overall and is the lone Lady Tiger averaging double digits in league play with 11.9 ppg. Jennings also leads the team with 13 steals against C-USA competition and is tied for second on the team with 12 assists. Overall, she leads the team with 29 steals and is second on the team with 36 assists on the year.
Memphis has drawn 20 offensive charges in the first 21 games of the season. Ashley Thornton leads the team with six charges draw, while Jazmyn Green is second with five charges drawn. Aroha Jennings has drawn four charges. Devin Necaise has drawn charges in back-to-back games and now has two on the season. Necaise also got in to a little foul trouble against East Carolina trying to draw a charge, ending up with two first half fouls which relegated her to the bench while Memphis was in the midst of a cold shooting streak.
Trying to Avoid a Historical Streak
The Lady Tiger losing streak is at 10 games. The longest streak in school history is 12 games, a streak the Lady Tigers tied last season after the 1989-90 team set the initial streak.
Jones Knocks Down 100th Point
Freshman Robin Jones hit just one of three free-throws in the loss to East Carolina, but it was enough to get her to the 100-point mark for her young Lady Tiger career. She would add four more points, and now stands at 104 points in 21 Lady Tiger career games.
Davis Four Shy of 100
Freshman Alysse Davis has attempted a few shots from beyond the arc in the last two games, going 5-for-17 from the field and 1-for-10 from beyond the arc. But if the freshman can push through the wall and get her shot warmed up again, she is just four points shy of her 100th career point mark heading in to the UAB game. Davis is currently fourth on the team in three-point field goals made with 13 and is tied for third in three-point field goals attempted with 55.
Note to the Opposition: Don't Foul 23
Lady Tiger opponents might want to avoid sending senior Devin Necaise to the free-throw line. This year, Necaise is shooting 95.6 percent from the line (43-for-45) and is hitting 88.8 percent from the charity stripe for her career. Necaise leads Conference USA in free-throw shooting but has not made enough free-throw attempts to make it in to the NCAA statistics, which require a player to have attempted 2.5 free-throws per game in order to be ranked. With the same shooting percentage with enough attempts, Necaise would be leading the country in free-throw shooting.
Last Conference Road Win
It's been over two calendar years since Memphis has picked up a Conference USA road win, but maybe it's location, location, location. Memphis' last road win was at this week's opponent, UAB, on Jan. 21, 2005.
A Perfect 10!
There's something about freshman Jazmyn Green and the number 10. The DeSoto, Texas, native has scored 10 points in three of the past six games. Against Marshall, Green knocked down a career-high three three-point field goals, going perfect 3-for-3, from beyond the arc. For the year, she has hit 12 threes, which puts her one shy of current teammate Jessica Hall's mark of 13 threes during her freshman season. The mark of 13 threes ranks 10th in the Memphis freshman record book.
Fantroy Moves to 7th in Freshman Record Book
Freshman point guard Se'erra Fantroy leads Memphis with 66 assists on the season. That total ranks her 7th in the freshman record book, one behind a pair of former Lady Tigers tied for 6th place. Kim Gilchrist (1987-88) and Candy Hudson (1984-85) each had 67 assists in their respective freshmen seasons. Freda Fields (1988-89) is 4th all-time with 71 assists as a freshman. The Lincoln, Neb., native is also an 81.8 percent free-throw shooter, but has made just three attempts from the line since league play has started.
Jennings Moves In to Three-Way Tie for Seventh
Junior Aroha Jennings moved in to a tie for seventh all-time among all Lady Tiger juniors with her two three-point field goals against East Carolina. She now has 19 on the season, which ties her with . Heather Newlon (1995-96) and Windy Burchfield (1992-93). She needs four more to tie Rita Beckwith's mark of 23 from her junior season in 2001-02.
Thornton Grabs Fourth Career Double-Double
Sophomore Ashley Thornton scored her fourth career double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds in the loss at Southern Miss. The four double-doubles ties her with former Lady Tigers Ashley Howard (2005-06), Patrice Boyd (1999-2001), Michelle Winrow (1988-90) and Kitty Allen (1994-97).
Leonard Has Jackson Within Sights
Sophomore guard Paris Leonard is already eighth in school history in three-point field goals made with 59, and needs 12 more to catch Lauren Jackson (1998-2002).
Gooch Moves to Tie for Seventh on Career Blocks List
Senior center Megan Gooch had a pair of blocks in the UAB loss, and now has 54 blocks for her four-year Memphis career. That ties her with Linda Street (1980-81) and former teammate Raven Rogers (2001-2005) for seventh all-time. Gooch needs two more blocks heading in to the Marshall game to catch Kitty Allen (1993-97) for sixth place and needs four more to tie Kim Duppins (1980-1982) and to break in to the Memphis career top five.
Heard of Soft Scheduling? Not Here in Memphis.
When Blair Savage-Lansden was hired as the Lady Tigers head coach back on June 10 of 2004, there were a few games on the schedule and a few contracts that had been signed that had to be honored that historically have made for some very difficult competition for a young coach in her first head coaching job. If you look at the Week 12 AP/USA Today rankings, Memphis has faced the following teams with Savage at the helm: No. 10 Arizona State, No. 14/15 Georgia (twice), No. 15/14 Vanderbilt, No. 18/17 Louisville, No. 17/18 Marquette and No. 25 Nebraska. Memphis has also faced a number of teams that are receiving votes in this week's poll-- DePaul (twice), Arkansas (twice), South Florida (twice), Kentucky, Mississippi (twice), and TCU.