March 7, 2010
Game Notes in PDF Format
The University of Memphis women's basketball team is starting a new season -- the conference tournament season, Tuesday, in the quarterfinal round of the GMC Sierra 2010 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championships. Memphis will face the winner of the No. 5 East Carolina/No. 12 Southern Miss match-up at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday.
Memphis, the No. 4 seed in the tournament after dropping two of its last three regular season games, has its highest tournament seed since the 1999-2000 season. The Tigers are hoping the new conference win and advance mentality will help the team recover from a tough ending to the regular season. After losing starting point guard in the win at UTEP, Memphis was short up to three different players over the last three games of the regular season, and while the short roster managed a big win over Marshall to clinch a first round bye, the team missed a chance to upend East Carolina and fell at UAB in the regular season finale Thursday night.
Memphis is earning recognition from other coaches around the league, with sophomore guard Brittany Carter voted to the C-USA First Team, Saturday, and being named the league's Newcomer of the Year on Sunday. Joining Carter on the league list of honorees are freshman Nicole Dickson and sophomore Ramses Lonlack. Dickson was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, while Lonlack was voted to the C-USA All-Defensive team on Sunday morning.
But all the awards will go for naught if Memphis cannot win and advance. Both of the Tigers' possible Tuesday opponents took Memphis to overtime in the last meeting, with Memphis downing Southern Miss, 89-85, and falling to East Carolina, 77-76, on a three-point field goal from Kim Gay with 3.3 seconds to play in overtime after Brittany Carter had hit a bucket to put Memphis up by two.
The saying it's hard to beat a team three times could be a good or bad thing for the Tigers. Memphis swept the season series from Southern Miss, 2-0, but was swept by ECU, 2-0. In all, Memphis swept three regular season series from East Division foes (UCF, Southern Miss, and Marshall), and went .500 against teams from the West with wins over Tulsa, Rice and UTEP and losses to SMU, Houston and Tulane.
First Round Bye For Tigers
Memphis' No. 4 seed is the Tigers highest seed at the Conference USA tournament since the 1999-2000 season when the team was a No. 3 seed.
2010 -- No. 4
2009 - No. 10
2008 - No. 7
2007 - No. 12
2006 - No. 12
2005 - No. 9
2004 - No. 6
2003 - No. 8
2002 - No. 10
2001 - No. 6
2000 - No. 3
1999 - No. 5
1998 - No. 1
1997 - No. 1
1996 - No. 3
With the first round bye, Memphis is making its first appearance in the quarterfinals round since the 2004-05 season when Memphis defeated East Carolina, 76-67, in the first round before falling to No. 1 seed DePaul, 78-55, in the quarterfinals. Since starting 3-0 in the quarterfinal round (1996, 1997 and 1998), Memphis is 0-5 in the quarterfinal round since (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005).
Memphis is 10-12 all-time in the Conference USA tournament.
The Series History
Whichever team the Tigers ends up facing on Tuesday, it will be the third meeting of the season between the two squads. East Carolina swept the regular season series with the Tigers, winning 76-59 in Greenville, then using a three-point field goal from Kim Gay with 3.3 seconds remaining to get a 77-76 overtime win over Memphis at FedExForum in Memphis' final regular season home game.
Memphis swept the series from Southern Miss, winning 60-57 in Hattiesburg, then holding on for a 89-85 victory over USM in Memphis. So the adage that it's hard to beat a team three times in a season can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on who the Tigers face on Tuesday.
The last Memphis faced a team for the third time on the season was last year, when Marshall downed the Tigers 76-57 in the opening round of the 2009 C-USA tournament in New Orleans.
Memphis is 6-9 all-time against East Carolina and is up 27-21 in the overall series on Southern Miss.
Carter Grabs All-Conference Nod
Sophomore guard Brittany Carter earned an honor that Memphis has not had in a while. The 5-9 sophomore was voted to the Conference USA First Team in a vote of the league coaches, SIDs and media representatives, Saturday. Carter becomes just the fourth Tiger in school history to earn a first team nod from C-USA and is the first to earn the honor since Tiffany Adkins was a first teamer in 2001. Carter led the conference in scoring with 18.4 ppg and added 5.9 rebounds a game.
Dickson Named to All-Freshman Team
Freshman forward Nicole Dickson has been a key component to the year that Memphis has put together, tied for second on the team with 9.1 ppg and adding 20 three-point field goals in her first collegiate season. The offensive prowess of the freshman helped her earn a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman team that was announced Sunday. She is the first Tiger freshman since 2001 to be voted to the conference's top five freshman team (Princess Swilley was the last in 2001) and is just the fourth Tiger in school history to be named to the C-USA All-Freshman squad (Tamika Whitmore, 1996; Shannon Hamp, 2000; Princess Swilley, 2001).
Lonlack Named to All-Defensive Team
One of the things that irked Melissa McFerrin at the end of last season was finding that then-freshman Ramses Lonlack had not earned a spot on the league's All-Defensive team. She will have no such worry this year, as Lonlack, who leads the league with 3.4 steals per game, was voted to the C-USA All-Defensive Team. This is just the fourth season C-USA has voted for an all-defensive team, and Lonlack becomes Memphis' first all-defensive team honoree. Lonlack, in just her second season at Memphis, already has 145 steals over 59 career games, and has been a Tiger starter in 55 of those 59 games.
East Versus West
The bracket shaped up to have an East vs. West feel. The teams in the East occupy five of the six slots at the top of the bracket and teams from the West occupy five of the six slots in the evening slots of the bracket. Top seeded Tulane is the lone team from the West in the early afternoon slots of the draw, while UAB is the odd-man out in the evening brackets against teams from the West.This is the fifth year of the East/West format of the conference. Memphis is 0-2 against teams from the West (Tulsa in 2008, UTEP in 2007) and is 0-2 against the one team from the East it has faced since the reformatting (Marshall in 2006 and 2009).
Lots of Time for the Bench Lately
The Tiger bench got a little more work than normal in the final three games of the regular season. Against Marshall, Memphis was without starters LaToya Bullard and Savannah Ellis and reserve post Starkitsha Luellen-Higgins. But the plucky Tiger roster responded with a 62-53 victory that secured a first round bye for Memphis. Ellis returned to play against East Carolina, although she did not start, but both Bullard and Luellen-Higgins missed the last two games of the regular season. Luellen-Higgins has actually missed the last five games of the regular season due to a concussion.
Winchell Moving Toward Career Top Five in Triples
Junior guard Alex Winchell needs just one more triple to move in to the career top five at Memphis. With her 59 triples this year, she has moved to sixth all-time with 136 threes, needing just one more to tie Tamika Butler's (2002-2006) mark of 137. Winchell then has a ways to go to move up to fourth, where Kitty Allen (1993-1997) sits with 152 threes.
Winchell's 59 triples so far this year ties former teammate Paris Leonard's mark from last season as the third-best single season mark in school history. The record of 64 threes in a season is currently shared by LaTonya Johnson (1995-96) and Devin Necaise (2006-07).
Winchell is rolling toward her 700th career point, with 651 points heading in to the conference tournament.
Carter Passes 500 Point Mark
Sophomore Brittany Carter is all of 29 games in to her Memphis career and her 11th 20+ point game of the season (22 pts. vs. ECU) pushed her to 520 points for her Memphis career. She is the 13th Tiger to score 500 or more points in a career, but is the first Tiger since Victoria Crawford (2003-04) to score 500 or more points in a single season. Memphis has had a player score 500 or more points in a season just 25 times.
Also Looking for No. 500
Two other Tigers are also looking for their 500th career point. Savannah Ellis has 433 career points, while Ramses Lonlack has 493 points. Ellis is also looking for her 500th career rebound, with 470 rebounds heading in to the tournament.
Carter in the Clutch
Brittany Carter added to her clutch-shooting lore in the win at UTEP. With the Tigers missing senior point guard LaToya Bullard after Bullard went down with 17:11 to play in the second half with an injury, UTEP made a run to cut a once-10 point Tiger lead to a tie at 55-55 with 1:48 to play. Carter had teamed with Taylor Mumphrey as the duo scored eight points to build up a 10 point lead with 9:06 to play, but Memphis then went without a field goal until the 5:43 mark when Carter converted a layup. Carter scored Memphis' final eight points, twice breaking a tie score to put the Tigers back in front. Her double-pump layup in the paint with 26 seconds to go was all Memphis would need to pick up its first-ever win at UTEP.
Been Awhile Since Our Wins Column Has Been This Full
Memphis' win over Marshall gave the Tigers their 17th victory of the season, the most season victories since the 2003-04 season when the Tigers were 21-10. Memphis has not won 10 or more C-USA games since the 1999-2000 season, when the Tigers were 11-5.
Three Sweeps in the East; .500 Against the WestB
Memphis swept three East Division foes (Southern Miss, UCF and Marshall) and with the win at UTEP, the Tigers managed to go .500 against teams from the West. This is the first time in school history that Memphis has swept more than one C-USA East Division foe.
Heading in to this season, the Tiger coaching staff wanted more scoring from Savannah Ellis as she headed in to her junior campaign. The Wichita, Kan., native has responded by shooting 53.3 percent from the floor (89-167). Ellis' 7.0 ppg average this season is the highest of her three-year Tiger career, as is her 6.7 rebound per game average.
This year as been a banner season for a number of reasons for the Tigers, not the least of it being the number of streaks that have been snapped. This year alone, Memphis has:
- Snapped an 0-10 record at FedExForum with an overtime win over Rice
- Snapped an 0-10 record against Marshall with a win in Huntington in January
- Swept three East Division teams (USM, UCF, Marshall)...Memphis has only swept a regular season series one time previously in school history
- Put together back-to-back winning non-conference marks for the first time since the 2003-2004 seasons.
- Had a first team all-conference player for the first time since 2000-2001.
Tiger fans might suffer a bit when the Tigers go to overtime, but the Tigers have seen three overtimes games this season for the first time in school history, all three against conference foes. Memphis was 2-1 in overtime in the regular season, defeating Rice and Southern Miss in overtime and losing to East Carolina in overtime on a three-point field goal with 3.3 seconds remaining. All three overtime games came at home. The last time Memphis played an overtime game on the road was at Southern Miss in the regular season finale last year. Two of the last three meetings with Southern Miss have required overtime to be settled. Memphis is now 3-1 in overtime under McFerrin's guidance.
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, as does guard Brittany Carter.
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)
Brittany Carter -- 17 points, 10 rebounds vs. Marshall (2/25/10)
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)