Feb. 18, 2009
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (10-15, 3-9 C-USA) and the East Carolina Lady Pirates (15-10, 6-6 C-USA) will each be looking for season C-USA firsts when the two teams meet Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. Memphis is still looking for its first conference home win and East Carolina is looking for its first C-USA road win. Both teams are 0-6 in each endeavor so far on the season, with Memphis suffering home losses to UAB, UCF, Southern Miss, UTEP, Tulane and SMU, while ECU has suffered road losses at Tulsa, SMU, Marshall, UCF, Tulane and Southern Miss.
Both teams are coming off wins on Sunday, as the Tigers went on the road to upend Tulsa, 65-60, while ECU capped a big weekend with an 86-83 overtime victory over second-place UCF, Sunday after defeating league leader Southern Miss, 64-58 on Friday night.
ECU is led by a pair of pre-season all-conference guards in seniors LaCoya Terry and Jasmine Young. Terry is the league's leading scorer, averaging 16.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, adding a team-best 45 steals (1.8/game). Young quarterbacks the offense with 137 assists on the season (5.5/game), adding 11.1 points per game. The other guard, Allison Spivey, is a three-point threat, having hit 38 triples already this season, one ahead of Terry's 37 threes. Young is also a three-point threat, having hit 24 threes, while senior Gabriela Husarova is also not afraid to jack it up from beyond the arc.
In the first meeting between the two teams, all of the above four players connected from three-point range, as the Tiger defense gave up seven threes in the first half, digging a deep hole for the second half.
ECU also out-rebounded Memphis in the first game, as sophomore forward Tiahana Bowens finished with 10 rebounds, including six offensive boards, adding five points and three steals in 21 minutes of play. Freshman center Jean Best, a 6-5 post, was also in the starting line-up in the first meeting. Best finished with 11 points and five rebounds and a block in that meeting, but came off the bench last weekend, as ECU started three guards and two forwards for an athletic look in the Southern Miss game, and started junior center Lauren Cochran against UCF and its dominant post player, Emma Cannon, on Sunday.
Paris Leonard led Memphis with 27 points in the last meeting, and given what she has done scoring-wise against league opponents since then, she'll probably continue to draw some serious defensive consideration. Tehani Goldsmith added 14 points, while Ramses Lonlack finished with 10 in the loss in Greeneville. Memphis played a more balanced second half, getting out-scored 41-36 in that game, but could not bounce back from a 42-30 halftime deficit that was fueled by 21 points from beyond the arc from the Lady Pirates.
Memphis has won two of its last three games, with both wins being 65-60 road victories. Memphis had a short bench in both wins, dressing just eight players, but has forced an average of 20 turnovers per game for its opponents in the last three games. The amped up defensive pressure has meant more opportunities for players off the bench, and sophomores Shekeira Copeland and Shae Seagraves made the most of it last weekend. Copeland finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Seagraves added a career-best nine points, all off three-point buckets.
About East Carolina
This is the 13th meeting between the Tigers and the Lady Pirates. East Carolina leads the overall series, 7-5, including the 83-66 win in Greeneville back on Jan. 22nd. In that game, Memphis got 27 points from Paris Leonard, but just one point from senior forward Ashley Thornton. Tehani Goldsmith added 14 points, while Ramses Lonlack gave the Tigers a third double-digit scorer with 10 points. Savannah Ellis finished with nine points and nine rebounds and two blocks in the loss. ECU was led by its super seniors of LaCoya Terry and Jasmine Young. Terry finished with 20 points, while Young finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists. Jean Best added 11 points and five rebounds, while Allison Spivey connected on three triples to finish with nine points, adding five assists and three rebounds in the win.
ECU is 2-3 in games played in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, and Memphis won the last meeting played here between the two teams, 69-50.
Seagraves Has Career Night at Tulsa
With an eight-player rotation, the opportunity is there for the players off the bench to make a big impact. Shae Seagraves responded with a career night in the win at Tulsa, finishing with a career-best nine points on 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc. With Tulsa charging and cutting the Memphis lead to just one, Seagraves hit back-to-back triples to build a bigger Tiger lead. Memphis would need that lead as Larissa Williams would check back in the game and would score nine straight points to cut the Tiger lead back down to one with 21 seconds remaining.
Copeland Has Strong Showing in Front of Family and Friends
Sophomore forward Shekeira Copeland knew she would get some minutes in relief of the Tiger posts heading in to the Tulsa game, but when Savannah Ellis got in foul trouble, it opened the door for a big night from Copeland. Playing in front of family and friends who travelled to Tulsa from Wichita, Kan., to watch Wichita natives Copeland and Ellis, Copeland finished with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting, adding seven rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes of play. She was also a perfect 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.
Leonard Shores Up at Charity Stripe
In the win at UAB, senior guard Paris Leonard had a rough outing, shooting 2-for-7, including a 2-for-6 mark in the second half. But Leonard knocked down the final two free-throws after going 0-for-4 to start the second half, and has had positive momentum since then.
In the win at Tulsa, Leonard might have had her best career night from the stripe, going 8-for-8. Only one other time in her career as the Memphis native had five or more attempts from the line and remained perfect. She was 7-for-7 from the line as a sophomore in the win over Central Arkansas.
Leonard Moves to 14th in Memphis Career Scoring
Senior guard Paris Leonard used a 14-point night at Tulsa to move in to 14th place in the Memphis career scoring chart. She passed Victoria Crawford's 1,299 career point scoring mark and comes in to the East Carolina game with 1,307 career points.
She is also just one three-point field goal shy of tying Kitty Allen's third-place mark in the record book. Allen, who had 152 threes from 1993-97, is currently third behind former Leonard teammate Devin Necaise's mark of 180 triples.
Thornton Enters Career Top 10 in Rebounds
Ashley Thornton wore the colors of Birmingham Southern as a freshman, but she will still go down in the history books at Memphis. Despite playing just her final three seasons at Memphis, Thornton is already in the career top 10 in rebounding. She is currently tied for 10th all-time with Diane Gray with 670 career boards. Gray accomplished her feat over a four-year career from 1988-1992. Thornton needs 15 more boards to move to ninth all-time, where Melissa Abraham's four-year mark from 1998-2002 resides.
A Freshman Campaign for All-Defensive Team?
The knock on a lot of college freshmen basketball players is they have not learned to defend yet at the college level. Freshman Ramses Lonlack does not have that next to her name on the scouting reports. The first year player ranks second on the team with 55 steals and has played 821 minutes on the season, the second-highest total on the team behind senior forward Ashley Thornton.
In fact, Lonlack's 821 minutes this season is already the third-highest total of any Tiger freshman and is just 95 minutes off a new Tiger record for any freshman in the program's 36-year history. The current mark of 916 minutes was set by Ruth Ann Forsythe in 1983-84. Lonlack may also break in to the Memphis single season top 10 for all players if she plays another 136 minutes. There is currently a three-way tie for 10th all-time in single season minutes played at 957 minutes. With four regular season games remaining and at least one tournament game, Lonlack could easily pass that mark since she averages 32.8 minutes per game heading in to the ECU game. And all that comes with Lonlack drawing the defensive assignment on the opposing team's best guard and/or the primary ball-handler.
Winchell Warms Up Second Half; Passes 300 Point Mark
Alex Winchell was 0-for-3 in the first half of the Tulsa game, but snapped back in the second half to score all 14 points in the final 20 minutes. The sophomore, who was the lone Tiger point guard dressed for the game with Tehani Goldsmith out for medical reasons, played 31 minutes, getting some relief from senior Paris Leonard at the point. The breather must have helped her get her legs back, as she knocked down a three to cut Tulsa's lead to one at 28-27 early in the second half. With her confidence up, Winchell then knocked down two more shots, scoring seven straight Tiger points, including a shot from the elbow with the shot clock at one that gave Memphis a four-point lead at 35-31. Winchell did have an uncharacteristic night at the free-throw line, hitting just 4-of-8 attempts, but did cross the 300-point career plateau with the 14 point outing.
The two triples also edges her closer to ninth all-time in career triples. Her 64 threes is just one behind former teammate Jessica Hall's two-year mark (2004-05, 2007-08).
Ellis Moves in to Career Top 10 in Blocked Shots
Sophomore center Savannah Ellis has already found a home in the career record books. The second-year player has 52 career blocks coming in to the ECU game, which ranks 10th. She needs two more to move in to a tie for eighth with a pair of former Tigers. Raven Rogers (2001-05) and Linda Street (1980-81) each have 53 blocks in the current record book.
Ellis' 34 blocks this season is also the ninth-best single season total in school history. She needs three more blocks to tie Kim Duppins' mark of 37 blocks set in the 1980-81 season.
The move in to the career records comes with Ellis getting over twice the playing time she did as a freshman last season. In her first year, playing behind Jessica Jackson and Ashley Thornton at the five spot, Ellis averaged 10.6 minutes per game. This year, she has started in 17th the 25 games, including all but one game in C-USA play, and is averaging 23.8 minutes per game. In fact, she has played over 30 minutes two of the past four games, struggling to get minutes at Tulsa due to foul trouble.
Maybe We Should Stay in a Hotel
The Tigers might want to imagine their dorm rooms as hotel rooms in preparation for the home games this weekend. Memphis is 3-3 on the road in league play, a mark that would usually make a coaching staff happy. But the Tigers are also 0-6 at home in league play after starting 5-0 at the Elma Roane during the non-conference schedule.
Never Give Up!
Memphis has trailed at the half in 17 games and has come back to win five of those. The biggest halftime deficit that Memphis has overcome was a seven point deficit. Memphis actually trailed at the half by seven points in two different victories this year. The Tigers trailed 36-29 at Tennessee Tech and 28-21 at Tulsa.
Halftime Score Tiger Deficit Final Score
at Tulsa (2/15) 28-21 (7) W, 65-60
at Rice (1/16) 33-27 (6) W, 72-69
at Tenn Tech (12/30) 36-29 (7) W, 63-61
Stephen F. Austin (11/29) 28-25 (3) W, 64-52
Louisiana Tech (11/18) 28-27 (1) W, 67-60
Thornton Rolling Closer to 1,000 Point Mark
Senior Ashley Thornton is winding down her Tiger career, and needs a bit of a push to get to her 1,000th career point. After back-to-back single digit nights, including six points and a scoreless night from the field at Tulsa, Thornton now has 959 career points counting her 144 points from Birmingham Southern. With four regular season games remaining, she needs to score 41 points (or 10.3 ppg) in order to make it before the conference tournament. Conference tournament games do count in her career totals, so since Memphis has a minimum of five games remaining, she would need to average 8.2 points in the next five games to make the grand mark.
Lonlack Gets 200th Career Point
Ramses Lonlack struggled from the field, hitting just 1-for-8, but still managed to finish with eight points and 10 rebounds against Tulsa. The eight points pushes her over the 200 point mark to 207 points in 25 career games.
The double-digit rebounding effort at Tulsa was Lonlack's fourth of the season and the third in league play. The freshman is already over the 100-career rebound mark with 138 boards.
Memphis is a team that wants to keep the score low. When the Tigers hold their opponents to 65 points or under, they are 8-1. The Tigers are 2-2 when the opposition scores between 66-70 points, and 0-11 when the opponents' point total is over 70 points.
Memphis' one loss when holding the opposition under 65 points was a 59-44 loss to Tulane.
Thornton Gets A Home Win; Copeland and Ellis Too
Memphis won its game at UAB, giving Memphis its first win in Birmingham since 2004-05, but it was a home win for senior forward Ashley Thornton. Thornton, who grew up in nearby Pinson, Ala., led Memphis with 22 points, tying her career high, and finishing with nine rebounds in the 66-60 win. Thornton, who rolled her ankle in the first half when a UAB rebounder rolled up her leg under the boards, came back and scored 15 points in the second half, including three straight baskets that pushed Memphis out to a 10-point lead early in the second half.
Memphis then went to Tulsa, which is as close a home game as Wichita, Kansas, natives Shekeira Copeland and Savannah Ellis get in league play, and grabbed a 65-60 win that saw Memphis rally back from a halftime deficit.
Now the Tigers will have to take the mind-set of trying to get senior guard Paris Leonard a home win in her final two home games in a Memphis uniform.
About Our Opponents:
Here is a look at how our non-conference opponents have fared as of late:
Northern Arizona (8-17, 5-7 Big Sky): Lost at Montana, 76-48; hosts Sacramento State, Saturday.
Belmont (16-9, 11-5 A-Sun): Had winning streak snapped with a 86-76 loss to East Tennessee State; plays at Kennesaw State, Thursday.
Louisiana Tech (14-11, 7-4 WAC): Won two straight games for interim head coach Teresa Witherspoon, defeatinig Nevada, 77-59, to move in to a three-way tie for third in the WAC.
Ole Miss (15-11, 4-7 SEC): Lost at Arkansas, 70-59; plays at Alabama, Thursday.
Ohio (9-15, 4-7 MAC): Snapped three game losing streak with an 83-74 win over Utah Valley State; hosts Buffalo, Saturday.
Wichita State (10-14, 2-11 MVC): Lost seventh straight game, 94-68, at Illinois State; plays at Missouri State, Saturday.
Stephen F. Austin (12-11, 7-4 Southland): Downed McNeese State, 67-56, on the road; plays at Southeastern Louisiana, Saturday.
Arkansas (15-11, 4-7 SEC): Picked up third straight win with a 70-59 win over Ole Miss; plays at Florida, Thursday.
South Alabama (18-8, 9-6 Sun Belt): Downed Florida Atlantic, 71-45; plays at Middle Tennessee, Wednesday.
Mississippi State (19-7, 6-5 SEC): Lost to No. 4 Auburn, 63-58; plays at Tennessee, Sunday.
UT Arlington (15-8, 9-1 Southland): Took over the top spot in the West with a 69-60 win over UT San Antonio; hosts Southeastern Louisiana, Wednesday.
Winthrop (11-12, 5-5 Big South): Had four-game winning streak snapped with a 63-48 loss at Liberty; hosts Gardner Webb Monday.
Tennessee Tech (7-19, 5-10 OVC): Won for third time in last four games, upending UT Martin, 61-55; hosts Tennessee State, Thursday.