Feb. 22, 2012
Memphis vs. UAB Notes
The battle for the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Conference USA Championships comes to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse Thursday when the Tigers host UAB at 7 p.m. Memphis won the first meeting with the Blazers, 70-59, in Birmingham, and UAB is looking to return the favor. UAB has had success in Memphis before, in fact, it was the Blazers that handed last year's senior class a home loss in the regular season finale, 59-45.
The Blazers pack one of the country's stiffest defenses. They rank No. 2 in the country, allowing just 47.8 ppg and 34th in the country in field goal defense, holding opponents to just 35.4 percent from the field. They are formidable in the paint, with four different players nationally-ranked in blocks per game. Meagan Brown, TaRonda Randall, Michaelea Kleist and Karisma Chapman all average a block per game and the Blazers as a team average five blocks a night.
Memphis comes in to the game having won four of their last five games. The Tigers led at the half at Marshall, but a cold shooting second half cost them a road victory in Huntington and gave Memphis its worst loss of the season (11 points). But the Tigers quickly righted the ship, jumping out to an 8-0 lead at UCF on Sunday, and never trailing in the game. Memphis led the UCF game by as many as 20 at two different points in the game before the UCF full court pressure began to unravel the Tiger ball handlers. The free-throw line also compounded the Tigers' problems, as Memphis was 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) in the second half of the UCF game. But this time, Memphis did regroup and hit four of the last five free-throws for the final 61-54 margin of victory.
Injuries have been a problem late in the season for Memphis. The Tigers haven't had Brittany Carter in the starting lineup since a Jan. 29th win at East Carolina. Carter missed two games since then, but has returned to limited minutes in the last two games, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds in the win at UCF. Memphis was also without senior guard Ramses Lonlack in the starting lineup at UCF. Lonlack, who sprained an ankle in practice, did play 18 minutes at UCF, but was out-of-sync with the missed practice, posting 6 turnovers.
Memphis became the 38th program in NCAA history to pick up its 700th program victory with the 61-54 win at UCF on Sunday. Memphis is now 700-509 since the women's basketball program returned as a varsity sport prior to the 1972-1973 season.
Third Straight 20-Win Season
The UCF victory was also Memphis' 20th win this season. Memphis has put together three or more 20-win seasons three times before in the program's 40-year history.
2011-12: 20-6 1994-95: 22-8 1980-81: 20-11 1976-77: 27-9
2010-11: 20-13 1995-96: 20-11 1981-82: 26-5 1977-78: 29-9
2009-10: 20-14 1996-97: 22-7 1982-83: 20-12 1978-79: 26-7
This season marks the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Tigers are hitting the 20-win mark in the regular season and not in the conference or some other post season tournament. In all, this is Memphis' 19th 20-win season in history.
Road Wins in League Play & The 10 C-USA Wins Mark
Memphis will finish this season with a winning record in Conference USA road games for the first time under Melissa McFerrin. Memphis has just one road game remaining (at Rice) and sports a 5-2 record in conference road games so far this season with wins at Southern Miss, at UAB, at East Carolina, at SMU and at UCF.
Memphis sports a 10-3 record in C-USA play, marking the second time in McFerrin's four-year tenure at Memphis that the Tigers have gotten double-digit league victories. It's just the seventh time since Memphis left the Great Midwest Conference to help form Conference USA that Memphis has put 10 league records in the books.
Road Wins C-USA 10-Win Seasons
2008-09 4-4 2011-12
2009-10 4-4 2009-10
2010-11 3-5 1999-2000
2011-12 5-2 1998-99
Thursday's match-up will be the final home-and-home series against East Division opponents this season. Memphis is 2-2 so far in series sweeps. Memphis swept the regular season meetings with both East Carolina and UCF. The Tigers split the series with Southern Miss and Marshall and are one game up in the series meeting with UAB following a road win on Jan. 22nd at UAB.
Starting Line-up Changes
Memphis went through the first 19 games of the regular season with the senior-heavy starting lineup of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, Brittany Carter, Ramses Lonlack, Nicole Dickson and Jasmine Lee. Then the injury bug bit and since then, the Tigers have used five different line-ups in the next six games. The only constants in those five different lineups have been sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and junior forward Nicole Dickson.
Turnovers Creeping Up
Through the non-conference and the early conference portion of the schedule, the Tigers were forcing more turnovers and taking better care of the ball and ranked nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. That number has dropped from first in the league to second in the league as the number of turnovers for Memphis has increased. In the last five games, Memphis has 90 turnovers (18/game) compared to 88 for its opposition (17.6). Nicole Dickson (seven assists, 11 turnovers), Jasmine Lee (six assists, 12 turnovers), Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (13 assists, 14 turnovers), Brittany Carter (five assists, six turnovers), Ramses Lonlack (11 assists, 14 turnovers), Danay Collier (10 assists, 16 turnovers), Ann Jones (one assist, three turnovers), and Krishunda Harvey (two assists, five turnovers) are all upside down in the last five games.
McGraw Becoming a Feature in Starting Lineup
Freshman guard Lauren McGraw has started four of the last five games for Memphis. In the first seven C-USA contests, she played double digit minutes just one time. In the last five straight games, she has played double-digit minutes in each game, including a career-high 30 minutes in the win over Houston.
Sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir already has her hands full as the Tigers' primary ball handler. But with Brittany Carter and Ramses Lonlack both missing starts due to injuries, the staff has added another layer to Abdul-Qaadir's responsibilities -- scorer. After scoring double-digits just twice in 19 games, she has scored double-digit points in five of the last seven Tiger games. Her scoring average was 6.4 ppg before the injury to Carter. Since then, she has averaged 10.6 ppg in the next seven games.
Senior guard Danay Collier was in a slump from three-point range. Prior to the win at UCF on Sunday, the last time Collier had connected on a three-point field goal attempt was in the first meeting at UAB. That 1-for-1 day at UAB was followed by six straight games where she was a combined 0-for-19 from beyond the arc. But as shooters do, she kept shooting, and shot her way out of the slump, hitting 2-for-3 in the win at UCF.
Carter Getting Comfortable?
Senior Brittany Carter will probably never willingly set foot in Minges Coliseum at East Carolina again. Last year, the then-junior fell on her tailbone in a win. This year, with 26 seconds remaining in the game, she went up for a layup and landed awkwardly, spraining an ankle. That injury has caused her to miss two games (Southern Miss, Houston) and she was limited to under 20 minutes of time in wins vs. UCF and at SMU. Her minutes per game has crept up a bit since then, playing 25 minutes in each of the past two games, but the senior is still trying to regain her wind. But if the UCF game is any sign, Carter could be close to a return to the starting lineup heading in to the final home regular season games this week. At UCF, she was 7-for-13 from the field, including some patented Carter jumpers from the tops of key) and finished with eight rebounds.
Lonlack Back in the Line-up
Senior Ramses Lonlack missed the game at Marshall after spraining an ankle in practice in the days leading up to the game. She was back for a season-low 18 minutes in the win at UCF, but was out-of-sync with the very different Tiger combinations that were on the floor, finishing with six turnovers. Getting her healthy will be a priority for Memphis, who saw that without Lonlack's defensive pressure at Marshall, that the rest of the guard corps got run down trying to defend full court without her, then they wilted against the Marshall pressure in the second half.
Dickson Drains `em at UCF
Junior forward Nicole Dickson was held to just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting in the loss at Marshall, just the fourth time this season she has scored under 10 points (three of those games were 9-point efforts). But Dickson was a big part of helping the Tigers handle the pressure on frontcourt teammate Jasmine Lee. Lee was drawing three defenders, so Dickson broke loose and was 6-for-10 from the floor, finishing with 15 points and four rebounds. Memphis had trouble getting on the glass against UCF though. Rebounds were even for the game, but the Tigers bigs combined for just 14 of the 46 rebounds. Dickson was held without an offensive board for the first time in the conference slate. Her last 0-offensive rebound game was in the win at UALR.
The Greenville, Tenn., native has become a mainstay on the floor for Memphis. In eight of the last nine games, she has played 34 or more minutes, including a 40-minute effort in the win at UAB and 38 minutes against both Marshall and Southern Miss.
Lee Looking to Regain Momentum
Senior Jasmine Lee had a tough week last week, returning to Bessemer for a family funeral and travelling back and forth with the Tigers to games at Marshall and UCF last week. All the travel took its toll, as Lee was just 2-for-8 from the field on Sunday, finishing with a season-low six points in the win at UCF. She was also getting pushed out of bounds under the offensive glass by three Knight players, so she finished with just two offensive boards. She also had just two offensive boards against Marshall, and has dropped from first to third in the league in offensive boards per game.
Carter Clears 1400
With her 16 point night at UCF, Brittany Carter passed the 1,400 career point mark. She now has 1,403 points in just her third season in the blue and gray and continues to draw the opposing teams' best defender game-in, game-out.
Dickson Approaching 1,000 Points
Junior forward Nicole Dickson is just 37 points shy of joining teammates Brittany Carter and Ramses Lonlack in the 1,000 point club at Memphis. The junior needs to average 11 points a game during the last three regular season games to get there before the conference tournament begins. She is trying to become the 22nd player in Memphis history to hit the 1,000 point mark. She is already in the career record books in three-point shots. Her 103 triples makes her just the sixth player in Tiger history to have 100 or more threes made. Dickson and sophomore Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir will be the Tigers' lone returning starters next season, following the graduation of five players from this year's team.
The only time a Memphis team had three 1,000 point scorers on the same roster was the 1995-96 season (LaTonya Johnson, Keeta Matthews, Kitty Allen).
Needing 60 & Avoiding 60
The Tigers have to keep an eye on the 60-point mark. Memphis is 0-4 when scoring 59 or fewer points. That's an important number to keep an eye on against UAB, who allows opponents to score just 55.0 ppg. The most points UAB has given up this season was in the first meeting with Memphis, when the Tigers scored 70 points. Since then, no Blazer opponent has scored more than 59 points while UAB has gone 5-2 in that seven game set.
On the reverse side, Memphis needs to keep opponents from reaching the 60-point mark. In the three C-USA games that the opponent has scored 60 or more points, the Tigers are 0-3. Memphis is 10-0 when the opposition scores 59 or fewer points.
Lee Adds Another Double-Double to the Sheet
Senior forward Jasmine Lee posted her 12th double-double of the year in the loss at Marshall, Thursday night. The senior finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds. The 21 points marked her sixth 20-plus point effort of the season, the fifth against C-USA competition, Thursday night. The 12 double-doubles is the most for a Tiger since Tamika Whitmore had 13 in her senior season in 1998-99.
Lee finished with a career-high 12 defensive rebounds in the loss at Marshall, and also attempted a career-high 16 free-throws (hitting 9).
In her two year career as a Tiger, Lee now has 20 career double-doubles, which ranks her fourth in school history. Lee now averages a double-double for the season (14.8 points, 10.0 rebounds). She is the lone player in C-USA to average a double-double in C-USA only stats as well (15.5 points, 10.9 rebounds).
Regina Street 65
Keeta Matthews 36
Kim Duppins 27
Jasmine Lee 20
Ashley Thornton 17
Diane Gray 17
Holding on to Halftime Leads
The Tigers held Marshall to just eight first half field goals, building a 30-22 lead at the half Thursday night. But four of those first half field goals were from three-point range, allowing Marshall to hang close despite shooting just 21.1 percent from inside the three point line. Once Marshall adjusted to the Tigers' pressure after Royce Chadwick's talk in the locker room, the shoe was on the other foot, as Memphis managed just seven second half field goals, watching as Marshall opened the half on a 15-2 run that erased a Memphis lead in just 2:58 off the clock. Marshall took the lead and never looked back, as Memphis managed just two field goals in the first 9:10 of the second half. Jasmine Lee scored both of those field goals, but by then, the Tigers were down by 12 at 45-33.
The Tigers fell to 16-4 overall and 7-3 in C-USA play when leading at the half. Memphis also lost halftime leads at UTEP (19) and in the home loss to Southern Miss (1). The Tigers have trailed at the half just twice in league play, coming back to get wins over Marshall (the first meeting) and at SMU (13 points).
Brittany Carter is making her way back from an ankle injury. After missing the second game against Southern Miss, the senior has been available for limited minutes in the last handful of Memphis games. She finished with a season-low two points in the loss at Marshall. In the three Memphis C-USA losses this season, Carter is averaging 5.0 points and shooting just 18.2 percent.
Front Line of Dickson and Lee Looking for Top 15 in Rebounds
Junior forward Nicole Dickson and senior Jasmine Lee passed benchmark point totals in the win over Tulane, and are both now eyeing the 500 rebound mark. Only 19 other players in Memphis history have had over 500 career rebounds, including teammate Ramses Lonlack (604).<
1. Linda Street 1,452
2. Regina Street 1,277
3. Tamika Whitmore 952
4. Keeta Matthews 926
5. Kim Duppins 881
6. Ashley Thornton 713
7. LaTonya Johnson 686
8. Melissa Abraham 685
9. Savannah Ellis 670
Diane Gray 670
11. Heather Newlon 646
12. Raven Rogers 624
13. Wanda Dillard 611
14. Ramses Lonlack 600
15. Shannon Hamp 567
16. Kitty Allen 559
17. Michelle Winrow 548
18. Vera Webb 547
19. LaShanya Garner 524
Jasmine Lee 530
Nicole Dickson 502
Carter Named Finalist for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
Senior guard Brittany Carter was named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday. Memphis' leading scorer with 15.7 ppg, Carter is a three-time team captain and is coming off a 16-point effort in the win over Marshall on Thursday night. The Covington, Ga., already has one degree in hand, having graduated with a degree in criminal justice last December, and is currently working on a second degree in sports administration. A member of the Tiger 3.0 Club following the fall semester, Carter spent the summer working with Morgan Keegan in Memphis and following a possible professional basketball career, has aspirations to become an FBI agent.
The is the 40th season that women's basketball has been a varsity sport at Memphis. It's been a bitter sweet celebration, as Elma Roane, the women's athletic director who returned women's sports to varsity status at the university, passed away in September at the age of 93. The Tigers entered the 2011-12 season just 20 wins away from the 700th win in program history. The program's current record heading in to the second UAB game is 700-509.
Saint Louis (9-18 overall, 3-9 Atlantic 10): Fell at Dayton, 72-54; hosts Charlotte in final home game of the season, Wednesday.
Belmont (11-16, 10-6 A-Sun): Came from behind in a 49-44 win over East Tennessee State; plays Thursday at Kennesaw State.
Illinois (11-17, 5-10 Big 10): Closed out home regular season with a 69-57 win over Northwestern; plays at Wisconsin Sunday.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-25, 1-15 SWAC): Followed first win of the season with a 72-52 loss to Prairie View A&M; plays at Jackson State, Saturday.
Southeast Louisiana (10-15, 5-7 Southland): Took a one game lead in a bid to the Southland Conference tournament with a 71-41 win over UT Arlington; plays at Texas State, Wednesday.
UT Arlington (5-19, 3-9 Southland): Lost at Southeastern Louisiana, 71-41; hosts McNeese State, Wednesday.
Tennessee State (9-18, 5-10 Ohio Valley): Defeated Jacksonville State, 61-59; hosts Murray State, Thursday.
UT Martin (19-8, 13-1 Ohio Valley): Took over first place in the Ohio Valley Conference Standings with a 59-54 win at Eastern Illinois; hosts Austin Peay, Thursday.
UALR (15-12, 10-4 Sun Belt): Won at Troy, 59-40; hosts North Texas, Wednesday.
Louisiana Tech (14-12, 7-4 WAC): Swept by Hawaii, 61-49; hosts New Mexico State, Saturday.
St. John's (18-8, 10-3 BIG EAST): Snapped No. 2 UConn's 99-game home winning streak with a 57-56 win; hosts West Virginia, Tuesday, looking for its sixth straight win.
Missouri (11-14, 1-13 Big 12): Won at Kansas, 70-65; plays at Iowa State, Tuesday.
Seton Hall (7-20, 0-13 BIG EAST): Edged by Cincinnati, 54-48; plays at Rutgers, Tuesday.