Jan. 27, 2010
Game Notes in PDF Format
After picking up an overtime win over Rice in FedExForum Saturday afternoon, the University of Memphis women's basketball team (11-7, 4-1 C-USA) will have to pull out the suitcases for the next two weeks, playing three of their next four games away from the Bluff City. The Tigers, who snapped a 10-game losing streak in FedExForum on Saturday, are hopefully in the streak-snapping mood after arriving via charter flight in Huntington, W.V. for Thursday's game, as Memphis is still looking for their first win against the Thundering Herd program.
Since Marshall joined Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 season, the Tigers have had ample opportunities against Royce Chadwick's club. Since both Marshall and Memphis are in the East in Conference USA, they have played a home-and-home every season. Memphis has also faced Marshall two different times in the Conference USA tournament, getting eliminated in the first round both times by the Herd. In the four games played in Huntington, Marshall has won by an average 16.8 points and in each of the past two meetings, has come back from a Tiger halftime lead to pick up a pair of wins.
But this Memphis squad is one that seems to relish the eraser and rewriting history. Against SMU, a team Memphis had lost to four times by an average of 28 points, the Tigers played to a late, tight contest, losing by just five for their lone C-USA loss through the first five games. Against a UCF club that had won three straight against Memphis, the Tigers picked up a win that powered them to their first C-USA road sweep since 2003-04.
And the Tigers come in with a bit of a bulls-eye on their respective backs, as the team is currently in a three-way tie for first in the league with SMU and UAB. Marshall is right on the trios heals at 4-2, just a half game back, and would love to vault ahead of Memphis before the Tigers' travel partner, UAB, comes to town the following game.
Marshall comes in to the meeting having won four of their last six games, including a 57-49 win at Tulsa in the Thundering Herd's last game. Marshall was without leading scorer Tynikki Crook in that game, as Crook broke her hand in the win at Houston, and missed last weekend's games, but even without her 13.4 points and 7.2 rebounds, Marshall improved to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in C-USA with the win. Marshall does return Chantelle Handy and her 11.0 points and 5.1 rebounds. Handy was a handful for Memphis last year, scoring 16 points with five boards and two blocks in Huntington and 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting in Memphis.
The Series History
Memphis had never faced Marshall before the Thundering Herd joined Conference USA and given that the Tigers have never beaten the Thundering Herd, might want to rescind their invitation to join the league. Memphis is 0-4 against Marshall in games played in Huntington, 0-4 against them in games played in Memphis and 0-2 against them in the Conference USA tournament played on neutral floors (including last year at Tulane).
Laying a Streak To Rest
It took 11 tries, but Memphis finally put its 10-game losing streak in games played at FedExForum to rest with the overtime win over Rice Saturday. Now, Memphis will look to snap another skid at 10 losses when the Tigers face Marshall, a team they are just half a game ahead of in the league standings, Thursday, on the road.
Memphis won half of its games last year on the road (6 of 12), including a 4-4 mark in C-USA play. The Tigers are off to an unblemished start in league road play following wins at East Division foes UCF and Southern Miss, but will have their hands full this weekend. The Tigers are 0-4 all-time in Huntington against Marshall and 1-4 in Greenville against East Carolina. The only Tiger on the roster who played in Memphis' last road win at ECU was junior guard Alex Winchell. Junior center Savannah Ellis was also on the roster for that last game, but did not play, missing her only game of her freshman campaign.
ECU won the meeting in Greenville last year 83-66, while Marshall came back from a 35-28 Memphis halftime lead to win 72-57. Four members of the Thundering Herd scored double digits in that meeting, led by 19 from Tynikki Crook and 16 from Chantelle Handy and Alyssa Hammond. Marshall out-rebounded Memphis 40-35 in the win and was a perfect 15-for-15 from the free-throw line.
Protecting Half Time Leads
In its previous two C-USA road wins this year, the Tigers have held a narrow one-point advantage at the break in the games at UCF and Southern Miss. The Tigers have also held leads at the half in their last two trips to Huntington, leading 48-35 in 2007-08 in an 83-73 loss and leading 35-28 last year in a 72-57 loss.
Memphis trailed 47-42 with 44 seconds remaining in the game against Rice on Saturday and got a pair of baskets from Brittany Carter and one of two free-throws from LaToya Bullard to make it to an overtime session, where the Tigers built a six point lead, then held on for the 59-58 overtime win.
The overtime appearance was the first of the season for Memphis and the second of the program's history under McFerrin. Memphis won its last overtime game as well, 77-72, at Southern Miss in the regular season finale last year.
Keeping Fans on the Edges of Their Seats
The Tigers are a team that has a lot of experience in close games. Ten of Memphis' first 18 games were decided by single digits, with Memphis sporting a 7-3 record in games decided by single digits.
Five Single Digit Losses
Memphis has suffered seven losses on the season, but they have all come by a combined 43 points. Five of those losses were single-digit losses (Indiana, Eastern Washington, FIU, Ole Miss, SMU), and the Murray State and Louisiana Tech losses were 10-point losses.
Looking at overall stats, Memphis ranks seventh in C-USA with 64.6 ppg given up in scoring defense. But since the calendar rolled to 2010 and Conference USA play, the Tigers have gotten downright stingy, holding opponents to just 59.6 ppg (2nd in the league) and ranking first in the league-only stats by holding opponents to just 32.3 percent from the floor.
Overall C-USA Games Only
Scoring Defense 7th (64.6) 2nd (59.6)
Field Goal % Defense 3rd (37.2) 1st (32.3)
3 Pt FG % Defense 4th (30.3) 2nd (26.2)
Steals 2nd (11.0) 2nd (12.0)
Blocks 4th (3.8) 2nd (4.0)
C-USA Road Sweep On Last Trip
The Tigers picked up a pair of impressive road wins in their first road weekend, defeating each of the two teams from last year's C-USA Tournament Championship game on their respective home floors. The last time Memphis swept a C-USA road series was in 2003-04 when they won at Tulane and Southern Miss.
Keep it Down!
Memphis has gotten fired up to play some defense against some pretty dominant players in Conference USA. Against SMU, the Tigers held second team all-conference player Brittany Gilliam to just six points and two rebounds in 23 minutes, and then held the league's pre-season player of the year, UCF's Emma Cannon, to just eight points. Cannon did own Memphis on the glass though, posting 20 rebounds on the Tigers for the second time in her three-year-old C-USA career. In the win at Southern Miss on Sunday, the Golden Eagles were without their leading scorer Pauline Love, but Memphis held the team's second-leading scorer, Candace Rucker, to just nine points and four rebounds before she fouled out after 22 minutes of play.
Carter Hits Another Game-Winner
With six seconds left on the clock and the score tied, Brittany Carter connected on a jumper from the top of the key to push the Tigers in front, and to the eventual win, at UCF. The game-winner was the second of the season for Carter with the clock winding down, as she hit a jumper with 13 seconds remaining in the win at Missouri with the Tigers trailing by one.
The Tigers have had nine double-doubles so far this season from four different players. Both Tiger starting posts, Taylor Mumphrey and Savannah Ellis, have three double-doubles so far this year.
LaToya Bullard -- 10 rebounds, 10 assists, vs. Ole Miss (12/18/09)
Brittany Carter -- 13 points, 11 rebounds, vs. Murray State (11/15/09)
Brittany Carter -- 49 points, 11 rebounds vs. Sacramento State (11/27/09)
Savannah Ellis -- 12 points, 11 rebounds vs. Indiana (11/13/09)
Savannah Ellis -- 12 points, 10 rebounds vs. Tulsa (1/7/10)
Savannah Ellis -- 10 points, 11 rebounds vs. Rice (1/23/10)
Taylor Mumphrey -- 10 points, 14 rebounds at South Alabama (12/9/09)
Taylor Mumphrey -- 15 points, 10 rebounds vs. SMU (1/9/10)
Taylor Mumphrey -- 12 points, 10 rebounds at UCF (1/15/10)
Freshman guard Chatia Kelsey played some big minutes in the overtime win against Rice. With Lonlack in foul trouble, then fouling out of the game, it was the freshman from Harvest, Alabama, who drew a defensive assignment on D'Frantz Smart, one of the quickest players in the league. The freshman responded with a career-high seven rebounds, two steals and no turnovers in 19 minutes of play. She also corralled a loose ball as the clock ran down to secure the Memphis victory.
Speaking of Crashing
Against Rice, Memphis had almost as many rebounds as points, finishing with 57 rebounds and 59 points. The Tigers out-rebounded Rice 57-47, which was just the sixth time this season Memphis has out-rebounded its opponent and just the third time it has done so by double-digits (+11 vs. Sacramento State; +12 at South Alabama).
Lonlack Making Her Case
Melissa McFerrin's greatest frustration when the post-season awards were announced last season was that then-freshman guard Ramses Lonlack was not voted to the C-USA All-Defensive Team. As a true freshman, the Cameroon native played and started in all 30 games and her 998 minutes played ranked in Memphis' single season top 10. She ranked 7th in the league in steals per game and sixth in minutes per game and still didn't earn a spot on either the All-Freshman squad or the defensive squad.
As a sophomore, Lonlack is again making a case for a defensive honor. In league play, she leads Memphis with 21 steals in 5 games (4.2 steals/game) and ranks fourth in the league with 2.6 steals per game in all games.
Lonlack paid a price for all the minutes last season, suffering shin splints, then rolled her ankle in the pre-season, which had her walking in a boot until 3 weeks ago. Since getting healthy and getting in to league play, she has turned up the defense, include a game-saving steal of a cross-court pass at Southern Miss with the game clock winding down.
In 48 career games, Lonlack already has 111 steals (2.3/game).
The 400 Club?
With so many new faces on the Memphis roster (eight newcomers to the court this year), Memphis will not likely have a 1,000 career point celebration this year, but might be making some progress toward some future celebrations with four different players working toward their 400th career points.
LaToya Bullard is playing just her fourth semester of college basketball and is just 60 points shy of her 400th career point (340). Brittany Carter (327) is rolling toward her 400th career point, needing just 73 more points to hit the 400 mark, while junior Savannah Ellis is just 26 points shy of her 400th career point (374) heading in to the Marshall game. Sophomore Ramses Lonlack is the fourth member looking to join the 400 club, with 388 points, needing just 12 more for her 400th point.
Of all the players on the roster, junior guard Alex Winchell leads Memphis in career points with 551, but is coming off a scoreless outing against Rice, her first scoreless game of the season and just the third scoreless outing of her career. The last two times she has been held scoreless, she scored seven points in each of the next games.
Ellis Returning to Gym of Career-High Game
As a freshman post player, Savannah Ellis scored her only double-digit scoring out of the year at Marshall. She scored 14 points with eight rebounds, adding an assist in 17 minutes of play. The 14 points is still a career-best, although she has come close to setting a new career best four times this season with 12 points (three times) and 13 points (once). Last season, as a sophomore, Ellis struggled to handle freshman post Tynikki Crook, and ended up with just five points and seven rebounds before fouling out in 24 minutes of play. With Crook possibly sidelined while recovering from a broken hand, the Tigers hope Ellis finds her freshman game confidence in the paint for her junior match-up.
Carter Moves In to One Top 10 Category
After scoring 22 points in 26 minutes of play in the win over Rice, sophomore guard Brittany Carter moved in to a single season top 10 category for Memphis in just her 18th career game as a Tiger. She now has 327 points on the season, which ranks as the 10th best single season total for any Tiger sophomore in school history. She needs 252 more points to have a shot at the Tiger single season top 10 for all players, regardless of class. The 10th place mark right now is a 579 point season from Tamika Whitmore in 1996-97 (Whitmore's sophomore year).