March 9, 2012
Memphis Semifinal Notes
Back in the Semis
With the 77-67 win over SMU, the University of Memphis women's basketball team advanced to the semifinal round of the Conference USA Championships for a second straight season. Memphis has not been in the C-USA Semis in back-to-back seasons since appearing in three straight in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Prior to last season's trip to the semifinals, where the Tigers fell to eventual tournament champions UCF, Memphis had not appeared in a semifinal round since 1998.
Memphis has not advanced out of the semifinal round and in to the finals since 1998. Memphis had appeared in the C-USA Championship game twice (1996, 1998) and won both times. The 1996 win over DePaul came in overtime while the 79-75 win over Louisville in 1998 came on Louisville's home court.
Foul Trouble up Front on Thursday
The Tigers ran into an unusual situation on Thursday afternoon. Senior post Jasmine Lee got in to rare foul trouble, picking up her second foul just eight minutes into the game. Fellow front court mate Nicole Dickson followed not much later, managing just 15 first half minutes, also with two fouls. That opened the door for freshman Ann Jones and sophomore KK Harvey to try to keep the Mustangs under control. Harvey ended up playing a career-high 14 minutes (11 in the opening half) and finishing with five rebounds and two points.
Lee and Dickson came back to make up for leaving their teammates in the lurch in the second half. Lee finished with nine second half points, including 2-for-4 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 shooting from the free-throw line, while Dickson was 5-for-8 from the field in the second half alone, scoring 13 of her 17 points in the second half. Dickson played the entire 20 minutes in the second half and both Lee and Dickson finished with just two fouls.
Carter Returning to Form
Senior guard Brittany Carter came off the bench with a bang. The senior led all players with 18 points in the victory, adding four rebounds, one assist and a steal in 21 minutes. Carter was 5-for-13 from the field and 2-for-6 from three-point range. The two triples gives her 70 for her career, just one shy of moving in to the career top 10 at Memphis, where Lauren Jackson (1998-2002) currently sits with 71 triples. The 21 minutes Carter played is the most since before she suffered an ankle injury in a win at East Carolina on Jan. 29th.
Abdul-Qaadir on a Career Night
Sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir scored a career-high 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting on Thursday. She also filled up the stat sheet with six rebounds, three assists and a game-high three steals in 33 minutes. The three assists gives her 100 for the season, making her the third consecutive Memphis point guard to hand out 100 or more assists in a season (LaToya Bullard in 2010 and Alex Winchell in 2011).
Tigers Get First C-USA Tournament Win in the Bluff City
With the 77-67 win on Thursday, the Tigers finally put a home win in their program's history in a Conference USA tournament that they were also hosting. The only other time Memphis has hosted a C-USA Women's Basketball Championship was in 2003, and that was hosted at The Pyramid. Memphis may have been a little too accommodating a host, getting upended by Marquette in the opening round 79-64. Memphis is now an even 14-14 in C-USA tournament games and 1-1 in C-USA tournament games played in the Bluff City.
Last Time vs. Tulane
This is the 37th meeting between Memphis and Tulane. Memphis leads the overall series 22-14, but had to hang on in both team's C-USA opener in order to snap a three-game skid in the series. After two straight years of playing in New Orleans, the Tigers made the most of the one regular season meeting with the Green Wave in the league opener back in January, holding on for a 61-59 victory. Tulane had battled back from three down at the half to retake the lead and push it to four at 59-55 with 4:08 to play, but the Tigers then took control of the ball, limiting the Green Wave to two missed free-throws (front ends of one and ones) and two missed jumpers, including one with three seconds to play that was eventually tied up on the floor as the game clock expired.
The two teams combined for just 15 free throw tries (just four for Tulane) and Memphis forced 19 turnovers while taking care of the ball and committing just eight turns of their own. The Tiger front line of Jasmine Lee and Nicole Dickson did most of the heavy lifting. Lee finished with 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting, while Dickson added 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Memphis finished with 21 assists on 27 field goals, but were out-rebounded 47-29, including a 22-9 disadvantage in the opening half.
BACK-TO-BACK FOR MEMPHIS MEN, WOMEN
For the second-straight year, the Memphis men's and women's basketball teams both advanced to their respective Conference USA Tournament semifinals in the same postseason. The men's squad meets UCF in a semifinal game at 5:30 p.m. (CT) Friday, while the women's team faces Tulane in a semifinal contest at 10 a.m. (CT) earlier in the day. Both the men's and women's C-USA Tournament semifinals (all four games) will be played at FedExForum. Memphis is the only school to have both its men's and women's teams advance to their respective C-USA Tournament semifinals this year - and for the second-straight season.
Prior to last season, the last time the Memphis men's and women's squads both advanced to the C-USA Tournament semifinals in the same year was 1996. That year, the Memphis women won the C-USA Tournament title.