March 14, 2012
Live Streaming Video will be available for FREE here. Memphis Radio Play by Play Announcer Jeff Brightwell's audio will be on the live video stream.
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Tickets are $7.00 for chairback seats, $6.00 for general admission bleacher seats and $4.00 for youth and U of M students. Parking in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse garage is $5.00 for special event parking.
After falling in the semifinals of the Conference USA Championships, the Memphis women's basketball team had to alter its goals as an NCAA bid slipped out of reach. The Tigers' new goal is to win and advance in another post-season tournament -- the WNIT. This is Memphis' second-straight year to qualify for the WNIT, and Memphis hopes to improve on last year's showing in which Memphis lost in the opening round to SEC foe Alabama, 80-69.
The Tigers should be healthier than they were in last year's WNIT run, which they went through with limited availability from Brittany Carter and Jasmine Lee and no availability for guard Danay Collier, who missed the post season with a foot injury.
This is the first time Memphis has been in back to back WNIT tournaments since appearing in three straight tournaments from 1998-2000.
Memphis' deepest run in the WNIT came in 1999 when they advanced to the semifinals before losing to host Wisconsin to cap the season 22-10. Since then, the Tigers have advanced out of the first round of the WNIT just one time in the next four tries (2000), beating Tulsa before falling at Western Kentucky in the second round.
The Tigers' 24 victories are the most for a Memphis team in a while. The last time Memphis won 24 or more games was in 1982 when the Tigers finished with a 26-5 overall record.
Tigers vs. Chattanooga
This is just the sixth meeting between the two schools stationed at opposite ends of the state of Tennessee. Memphis leads the overall series, 3-2, but the two teams have not met since the 1981-82 season. The last game was a Tiger win in Chattanooga, 76-68, and the last game in Memphis was a 79-69 Lady Mocs victory.
Two Teams in Similar Situations Trying to Bounce Back
Both teams in Thursday night's WNIT match-up are trying to erase the bad taste of a loss in the semifinals of their respective conference tournaments. Memphis had its worst shooting performance of the year in the semifinals against Tulane, picking up the team's worst loss of the season of 19 points, 63-44.
Like the Tigers, the Lady Mocs offense went astray at the worst possible time, as Chattanooga was held to just 52 points in a loss to host Appalachian State in the Southern Conference semifinals. The 52 points was the sixth-lowest output of the season for Chattanooga, despite hitting nine three-point field goals in the game, one off their season-best of 10.
With the WNIT nod, Memphis has now appeared in three straight post seasons. After snapping a five year post-season drought with a run to the finals of the Women's Basketball Invitational, Memphis is making a second straight WNIT appearance in 2012. The back-to-back WNIT berths are Memphis' first since appearing in three straight WNITs from 1998-2001.
Lonlack Three Steals From 300
Good post defense starts by pressuring the ball handler, something that senior guard Ramses Lonlack has excelled at since she stepped foot on the U of M campus four years ago. Named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year before the C-USA Championships, Lonlack is now just three steals shy of becoming just the third player in Memphis history to post 300 or more steals in a career. Lonlack was McFerrin's first signee at Memphis when she took over in April of 2008.
Lonlack passed the 1,000 point mark in Memphis' second C-USA game of the season (at UTEP) and now has 1,149 points, 631 rebounds and 297 steals in her four-year career. Of the five seniors on the Tiger roster, she is the lone four-year senior on the roster. She already holds the career record for games started (121) and minutes played (3,885). If Lonlack plays at all against Chattanooga on Thursday, she will also tie the school record for career games played (127). That games played record is held by former teammate Alex Winchell (2007-2011).
Thirties Looking Good
It's usually a no-brainer that when you shoot a better percentage from the field than your opponents, you win. For Memphis, the Tigers just need to shoot at least 30 percent from the field. Memphis has shot under 30 percent just four times this season, including the Tulane loss, all four games have been losses. In fact, of the seven Tiger losses, Memphis has shot under 30 percent in four of them. The Tigers' highest shooting percentage in a loss? 38.3 percent from the field in the four-point loss at St. John's.
Back in the Fieldhouse, Back in Rhythm?
After struggling to score from anywhere in the loss to Tulane, the Tigers might be happily back in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. In the game against SMU in the fieldhouse in the C-USA quarterfinals, Memphis shot 39.0 percent from the floor, 23.5 percent from three (ok, not that impressive a number there) and 65.9 percent from the free-throw line. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir finished with a career-high 16 points and three other Tigers scored double-digit points, including Brittany Carter (18), Nicole Dickson (17), and Jasmine Lee (10).
Once at the NBA building downtown, Memphis shot 28.3 percent from the field, 6.3 percent from three-point range and 42.9 percent from the free-throw line. Jasmine Lee scored 13 points and Brittany Carter had 11, but Abdul-Qaadir and Dickson were each 1-for-10 from the field and senior guard Ramses Lonlack was 2-for-7 from the floor.
The Elephant in the Gym
The Tigers and the free throw line have a love-hate relationship. Memphis has shot 60 percent or less from the line in 18 of 31 games so far this year. What made the Tulane loss even more frustrating was that Memphis had put its free throw woes behind them and had shot 68.7 percent from the stripe in the previous five games, then were just 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from the line against Tulane. Of the 64 teams in the WNIT field, Memphis ranks 64th in free-throw percentage at 59.8 percent.
Lee Adding to Her Double-Double Totals
Senior post Jasmine Lee was named the C-USA Player of the Year before the C-USA Championships last week. The Bessemer, Ala. native added another double-double to her season total in the loss to Tulane, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds for double-double number 15 on the season. The 15 double-doubles in a single season is the most for a Tiger player since Tamika Whitmore had 17 in the 1997-98 season. Lee now has 23 career double-doubles, which is the fourth-best career total in Memphis' 40 year history.
If Lee had a hiccup in the C-USA tournament, it was the free-throw line. After a solid 6-for-9 performance in the win over SMU, she was just 3-for-12 (25 percent) from the line against Tulane. With the Green Wave zone sending double and triple teams at Lee, and her unable to convert at the free throw line, Memphis was never able to capitalize on Tulane center Brett Benzio's foul trouble and the Green Wave sat in a zone the rest of the night, holding Memphis to a season-low 44 points in the loss.
Regina Street 65
Keeta Matthews 36
Kim Duppins 27
Jasmine Lee 23
Tigers Get First C-USA Tournament Win in Bluff City
With the 77-67 win over SMU in the quarterfinal round, the Tigers finally put a home win in their program's history in a C-USA tournament that they also hosted. The only other time Memphis has hosted a C-USA Championship was in 2003, and that was hosted at The Pyramid. Memphis may have been a little too accommodating a host then, getting upended by Marquette in the opening round, 79-64. Memphis is now 15-15 in C-USA tournament games and 1-2 in C-USA tournament games played in Memphis.
Dickson One Triple From Single Season Top 10
Junior forward Nicole Dickson needs just one more three-point field goal to move in to the single season top 10 at Memphis with 50 three-point field goals made. But the Greeneville, Tenn., native has found it a little difficult from beyond the arc as of late, connecting on multiple threes in a game just once in the past seven games and being held without a three in three of the last seven games. A 31.8 percent shooter from beyond the arc for the season, she is shooting 25.0 percent from three-point land in the last seven games, including a 1-for-8 stretch in the C-USA tournament. In fact, Dickson finished with just four points in the loss to Tulane, her second-lowest scoring output of the season (the lowest was a one-point game in the win over Saint Louis in the season-opener).
Get on the Glass
Thursday's match-up with Chattanooga will feature two teams with dominant front lines. That should result in a pretty remarkable battle on the glass. Chattanooga has out-rebounded its opponents in 23 of 31 games. In fact, the Lady Mocs have grabbed 50 or more rebounds in six games, a mark Memphis has only passed four times. In the seven of Chattanooga's nine losses, they have been out-rebounded.
Post Season Awards
The Tigers earned a handful of individual player honors last week. Senior post Jasmine Lee became the first Memphis player since Tamika Whitmore (1998, 1999) to be named the Conference USA Player of the Year, while senior guard Ramses Lonlack garnered the program's first C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Award since Kitty Allen in 1997. Lee was also named First Team All-C-USA, while Brittany Carter and Nicole Dickson were named Second Team All-C-USA honorees. Lonlack also earned her third consecutive nod to the All-Defensive Team. Memphis led C-USA with three all-conference honorees, and it marked the first time since 1997 that a Memphis squad has had three all-conference honorees.
Abdul-Qaadir Clears Triple Figures in Assists
With her three assists in the win over SMU in the C-USA quarterfinal win, sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir became the third Tiger in as many years to have 100 or more assists in a season. LaToya Bullard (2010) and Alex Winchell (2011) were the last two Tigers to have 100 or more assists in a season. Abdul-Qaadir also dished out six assists in the loss to Tulane to give her 106 for the season.
First Post Season Action For Collier
Senior guard Danay Collier will be seeing her first post season action of her Tiger career with Thursday night's WNIT game. The senior suffered a foot injury last year before the conference tournament and missed both the C-USA tournament and the WNIT. The Tigers will need to make a deep run in the WNIT to get the Bronx, N.Y. native some post-season play under her belt in her final season in the blue and gray.
Carter Creeping Back to Lineup
Senior guard Brittany Carter managed to play over 20 minutes a game in each of the Tigers' C-USA games. She also did something else she hasn't done since January, score double-digits in two straight games. After scoring 22 points in the televised win at UAB, Carter scored 16 in the win over Marshall. That was on Jan. 26th. After suffering an injury on Jan. 29th, Carter missed three games and played under 20 minutes in four of the other six. She hit double-digits just twice in that six game stretch before posting 18 points in the win over SMU in the C-USA quarterfinal and 11 points in the loss to Tulane. Carter's still not back to form in putting the ball on the deck though. In the C-USA tournament, she took 13 shots from beyond the three (46 percent of the shots she took in both games combined), connecting on two (15.4 percent). She was also held to just 3.5 rebounds per game in the league championships, but added three assists, two blocks and three steals in the two games.
Needing 60 & Avoiding 60
The Tigers have to keep an eye on the 60-point mark. Memphis is 0-5 when scoring 59 or fewer points.
On the reverse side, Memphis needs to keep opponents from reaching the 60-point mark. In the seven games against C-USA foes that the opponent has scored 60 or more points, the Tigers are 3-4. Memphis is 11-0 when the opposition scores 59 or fewer points