Feb. 13, 2013
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (13-10, 4-5 C-USA)looks to snap a two-game losing streak when UAB (14-8, 5-4 C-USA) comes to town for a Thursday night match-up in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
Tigers vs. UAB
This is the 48th meeting between UAB and the Tigers and Memphis leads the overall series 29-18, including a 63-55 win in Birmingham earlier this season. That road win is the Tigers' lone C-USA road win so far this year, and puts the Tigers in the position of trying for the season sweep tonight. Memphis is 13-7 all-time against UAB in games played in Memphis, but is 2-5 against the Blazers in the last seven meetings.
The Blazers come in to Thursday night's game against Memphis off a come-from-behind win over East Carolina, 62-58, in their last outing. Junior forward Ashley Grimes scored a career-high 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting, while Amber Jones finished with 14 points, including the go-ahead basket with just over two minute to go for the Blazers' fifth C-USA win of the season. Grimes and Jones are two of the Blazers' normal leading scorers. Jones, the lefty point guard, averages 14.5 ppg and 5.0 rebounds, and Grimes adds 12.7 ppg. Senior Karisma Chapman is also a scoring threat, averaging 12.5 ppg. The win over East Carolina came just one game after the Blazers gave C-USA leading SMU a scare in Dallas. UAB took the now 9-0 Mustangs to triple overtime, before falling 94-92.
Memphis suffered its biggest loss of the season in the loss at UCF, falling 83-62 on the road to fall to 1-4 in C-USA road games. That loss also marked the first time this season that Memphis has lost back-to-back league contests, something that had not happened since the Tigers lost four straight games after losing starting point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir in the fourth game of the season to a broken hand.
Looking for a Series Sweep
With the win in Birmingham in January, the Tigers are in position to try for the regular season series sweep with UAB on Thursday. Five of the last seven two-game series between Memphis and UAB have been sweeps. UAB swept the meetings in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011 and Memphis swept its first series in seven tries last season, winning 70-59 in Birmingham last season, then winning 71-56 at home. Of the last seven series, only two have been split. The Tigers won the first meeting in 2010 at home, then lost on the road and lost at home in 2009 and won on the road.
Dickson Looking to Set Career Record
With seven regular season games remaining, Nicole Dickson is still on pace to either set or tie a career record for the Tigers. Last year, Ramses Lonlack set a Memphis record for career games played, playing in her 129th career game in the second round WNIT loss at Missouri State. If Dickson plays in all remaining regular season games, that would mean she will tie Lonlack's career record for games played in the Tigers' first game in the Conference USA tournament. Any advancing the Tigers do through the tournament, or in the post season, would mean Dickson sets the new record for career games played. Dickson has appeared in 121 games at Memphis. Lonlack continues to hold record for career starts, with 123.
Memphis had troubles keeping their players in front of them in the loss at UCF. Four different Tigers fouled out for the first time this season and Memphis gave UCF a Tiger opponent record 46 attempts from the free-throw line. The 33 made free-throws from UCF was the second-most scored by any Tiger opponent in school history. The Tigers are 6-8 when they give their opponents 20 or more attempts from the free-throw line, including a mark of 2-4 in league play.
Abdul-Qaadir Eying Free Throw Mark
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir tied a school record last season for consecutive free-throws made, knocking down 26 straight tries from the line. She has currently made 17 straight free-throws, but has not had an attempt from the line in the past two games, both Tiger losses. The junior point guard has also gone two games without an assist. On the season, she has 34 assists against 41 turnovers and is averaging just shy of 10 points a night with 9.6 ppg.
Fuqua-Bey Goes for Double-Digits
Freshman forward Asianna Fuqua-Bey posted her fifth career double-digit scoring night in the loss at UCF Sunday. She finished with 11 points in the loss, using a career-best 7-for-11 performance from the free-throw line to offset a tough 2-for-7 shooting night from the floor. While her offense is still developing, she hasn't let that affect her work on the glass, where she is averaging 7.7 rebounds a game in the last three outings. Her 62 offensive rebounds this season already ranks sixth in the freshman single season records. She is tied with current teammate Nicole Dickson's mark of 62 offensive rebounds from the 2009-10 season.
Ajanaku Sets Career Mark in Rebounding
Senior guard Jamila Ajanaku finished with a career-best five offensive rebounds in the loss at UCF, Sunday. Ajanaku, who played her first three seasons at Middle Tennessee before transferring to Memphis this summer, is looking to make her impact felt on defense and on the glass and running the lanes, looking to power up the Tigers' transition offense.
Hearn Looking to Find Stroke at the Stripe
Freshman guard Ariel Hearn was one of the best free-throw shooters in the league early in the season, ranking first or second in free-throw percentage. But as the season wears onto her freshman frame, the Arlington HS grad has uncharacteristically struggled at the stripe as of late. In the last three games, she is just 7-for-16 from the line (43.8 percent). In fact, she has not shot over 50 percent in a game where she has made four or more tries from the line since Memphis' win over East Carolina back on Jan. 17th, a game where she was 6-for-8 from the stripe. On the season, she is now shooting 71.7 percent. She was shooting 76.5 percent from the line at the end of non-conference play. She was also held without an assist in the loss at UCF, meaning both of the Tigers' point guards combined for zero assists in the 21-point loss. Hearn has 88 assists on the season to lead the team against 80 turnovers and averages 14.0 ppg. She comes into the UAB game off her second-worst shooting night of the season at UCF, where she shot just 18.8 percent (3-for-16). Her rebounding average has also slipped as league play has wore on. She averages 5.0 rebounds a game for the season, but has not gotten five boards in a game since the road loss at Tulane on Jan. 20th. Her two rebounds in the loss at UCF were her season-low.
Mack Makes Most of Opportunity
Junior guard Devin Mack has had to await opportunities to get into the game with the emergence of the Tiger freshmen in the lineup this season. But after Memphis had all three point guards foul out at UCF, Mack stepped in and tried to make the most of her opportunity, knocking down a three-point shot to finish with three points in the loss at UCF. She was 1-for-2 from beyond the stripe at UCF. Her triple was her first made three-point field goal since the win over Wright State to close out non-conference play.
Dickson Approaching 10th All-Time in Scoring
With her 22 point night at Marshall, Nicole Dickson now has 1,522 points at Memphis, just seven shy of moving into a tie for 10th in the school record books where Connie Hibbler's mark of 1,529 is currently 10th in Memphis history. Dickson was Melissa McFerrin's second high school signee and is the first Tiger under McFerrin to break into the top 12 in scoring. Former teammate Brittany Carter and Dickson are the first two McFerrin recruited and coached players to rank in the top 13 in scoring at Memphis. Paris Leonard was coached in her senior season by McFerrin, which would give the coach three of the top 15 scorers in school history in her fifth season at Memphis.
Finding Dickson Scoring Help
In the last six games, senior forward Nicole Dickson has averaged 21.5 ppg. That she can still get that kind of scoring off late in league play when the whole league knows the Tigers want her to get the ball is a feat on its own. Dickson has scored 20 or more points in three of the last six games, but isn't getting any consistent help. Memphis is 2-4 in the last six games, and despite the defense and the volume of shots she has taken, Dickson has only shot under 41 percent in two games (the win over Rice and the loss at UCF).
With freshman guard Ariel Hearn not starting in the loss at Marshall, no Tiger will have played and started in every game on the season for Memphis. n all, the Tigers have used 10 different starting lineups already this season. The changing lineups have been necessitated by losing starting guard Mooriah Rowser to a season-ending knee injury in their third game of the year, losing starting point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir one game later to a broken hand, using three different players at the starting five position to find some post consistency, the return of Abdul-Qaadir from injury and disciplinary actions in the loss at Marshall.
Dickson Just Misses Third Consecutive Double-Double, Starts New Streak
Senior forward Nicole Dickson just missed posting a third consecutive double-double in the loss at Marshall, finishing with nine rebounds, but finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the loss at UCF for her fifth double-double of the season and the 15th of her career. Her 15 career double-doubles ranks her ninth in Memphis history. She would need to get two more double-doubles to move to a tie for sixth in double-doubles, where Ashley Thornton, Diane Gary and Linda Street currently sit with 17 double-doubles.
Nicole Dickson, 30 pts, 13 reb. at UT Arlington, 11/21/12
Nicole Dickson, 10 pts, 10 reb. vs. UALR, 12/7/12
Nicole Dickson, 20 pts, 10 reb. vs. UCF, 1/27/13
Nicole Dickson, 18 pts, 12 reb. vs. Rice, 1/31/13
Nicole Dickson, 19 pts, 10 reb. at UCF, 2/10/13
Asianna Fuqua-Bey, 14 pts, 11 reb., Southern Miss, 1/13/13
Ariel Hearn, 23 pts, 10 reb., Tennessee Tech, 12/31/12
Pa'Sonna Hope, 13 pts, 12 reb., at East Tennessee State, 11/30/12