Tigers Looking to Return to Winning Ways Thursday Against UAB
Feb. 3, 2010
After having its season-high four-game winning streak snapped at East Carolina on an icy Saturday afternoon last week on the road, the University of Memphis women's basketball team (12-8, 5-2 C-USA) are hoping some home cooking will heat the team back up when travel partner UAB (10-9, 4-3 C-USA) comes to town for a Thursday night match-up at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.
The two teams each won on the other's home floors last season, with UAB connecting on 12 of 22 attempts from beyond the arc in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Shooters Amanda Peterson and Fatiha Salaam each scored 23 points in the victory over the Tigers in Melissa McFerrin's first C-USA game, and senior guard Britney Jones added 15 points, six assists and four steals in the win. Both Salaam and Jones are graduated from the Blazer roster, but sharp-shooter Peterson is back and leads UAB with 53 triples.
But like Memphis, UAB has a newcomer making a big splash in the league picture, as freshman guard Jala Harris has powered up the Blazer squad and is the team's leading scorer at 17.2 ppg (23.0 ppg vs. C-USA competition). She is second on the team with 32 triples and leads the offense with 62 assists and the defense with 25 steals. The freshman has won the C-USA freshman of the week award four different times this season, and gives junior college forward Tamika Dukes some outside help to keep defenses from collapsing on the senior, who averages 12.4 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game. Peterson rounds out the double-digit scorers for UAB with 11.1 ppg, adding 23 assists and 12 steals. Freshman guard Amber Jones is also close to the double digit mark (9.1 ppg), and since league play has began, Jones is second on the team in assists (18) and steals (7).
Memphis sophomore guard Brittany Carter is the nation's fifth-leading sophomore with her 18.6 ppg average, but as Memphis found out in the ECU loss, the Tiger bench is just as important in scoring. Without Nicole Dickson's 16 points off the bench on Saturday, the Tiger bench would have been scoreless as Chatia Kelsey, Alex Winchell and Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins were all scoreless vs. ECU.
Memphis also needs the balance from its starters, as the remainder of the Tiger starters were a combined 6-for-26 (23 percent) from the field at ECU.
The Series History
Carter Among the Country's Best Sophomores
Carter's 371 points is already the seventh-best sophomore single season total in the Memphis record book. She needs 16 more points to pass Wanda Dillard's 387 point mark for 6th overall and needs 29 more points to hit 400 to become just the fifth Tiger sophomore in school history to score 400 or more points in a single season.
Carter's 49-point outing against Sacramento State at the University of Washington tournament over Thanksgiving is still the NCAA's best single game performance this season and is one of just 11 40-plus point performances in the country so far this season.
UAB's freshman, Jala Harris, has one of those 11 40-point performances as well, scoring 40 points in the double overtime loss at Marshall on Saturday.
Upside Down in Rebounds
UAB is out-rebounding its opposition since C-USA play began, 39.1-37.1 with eight different players averaging 3.0 rebounds per game or more.
Regular Season Winding Down
Tiger Bench Comes Up Big at Marshall; Struggles at East Carolina
But outside of Nicole Dickson's 16 points at ECU, the remainder of the Memphis bench (Chatia Kelsey, Alex Winchell, Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins) was scoreless in the loss, Saturday afternoon. The Tigers will need points from their bench if they hope to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since Eastern Washington/Florida International (Nov. 29, Dec. 4th).
The scoreless outing was the second of the season for Winchell, who only had three scoreless games in the first 60 games of her Memphis career as a freshman and sophomore. The junior was also scoreless in the overtime win over Rice at FedExForum in January.
Dickson Posts Back-to-Back Double-Digit Outings for First Time in Collegiate Career
Last weekend, the freshman forward averaged 13 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while the Tigers split the C-USA road series.
Kelsey Looking to Get Back on the Glass
The freshman is also getting more comfortable slashing to the basket, and if that keeps up, she will start earning more trips to the free-throw line. She has only had three attempts from the line in the last three games, and has not connected on a free-throw since the Northwestern State game (12/20/09). If Memphis can get the speedy player to develop in to a slasher against the numerous zone defenses the team sees, she has the game to put points on the board for the Tiger as her defensive ability helps to turn opposing team's point guards over as well, resulting in break out baskets for either Kelsey or her teammates.
Ellis in Junior Single Season Records
Fellow junior Taylor Mumphrey is also moving up in the junior single season records, with 25 blocked shots, which is the 10th-best single season total among the junior classes.
Stingy Defense Overall C-USA Games Only Scoring Defense 6th (64.4) 1st (60.6) Field Goal % Defense 5th (38.0) 1st (35.8) 3 Pt FG % Defense 3rd (30.6) 1st (27.9) Steals 2nd (11.2) 1st (12.1) Blocks 4th (3.5) t-5th (3.1)