March 16, 2012
Memphis at Missouri State Note
It will be a short turnaround for the Tigers following a 60-59 win over Chattanooga Thursday night. Memphis erased a 16-point first half deficit to come back and retake the lead with 3:48 remaining in the game to earn the right to face a 23-8 Missouri State squad from the Missouri Valley Conference, Saturday, at 7 p.m. in Springfield in the Round of 32 in the WNIT.
The Tigers got off to a slow start, trailing 25-9, but erased the deficit with 3:48 remaining in the game for their biggest comeback of the season. Senior post Jasmine Lee grabbed a career-high 11 offensive rebounds (finishing with a total of 16 rebounds) and posting her 16th double-double of the season by adding 20 points. Point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir added 15 points on efficient 5-for-7 shooting, including two three-point field goals, the first time in her career she scored multiple buckets from beyond the arc.
Memphis is advancing in the WNIT for the first time since the 2003-04 season. The last time the Tigers played in the second round of the WNIT, they won at home in the first round and lost on the road at Western Kentucky in the second round, a feat this year's Tigers hope to avoid repeating. Memphis has not advanced past the second round of the WNIT since the 1998-99 season, when they advanced all the way to the semifinals before losing to host Wisconsin.
Tiger fans can listen to the game on 91.7 FM WUMR in Memphis.
Tigers vs. Missouri State
The WNIT so far has been a meeting with some opponents the Tigers have not seen in awhile. The first game was against Chattanooga, a six hour bus ride to the other side of Tennessee, for the first meeting since 1982. The second round will be another close to six hour bus ride, this one to the opposite side of Missouri, where the Tigers will face Missouri State, a team they have not faced since the 1979-80 season. This is just the third meeting between the two schools. The first one was a 47-40 Missouri State win in the 1972-73 season, followed by a 77-49 Memphis win at home in 1979-80.
The Tigers don't cross paths with Missouri Valley schools often, with just 33 meetings against the current Missouri Valley membership in Memphis' previous 39 seasons of women's basketball. Memphis is 22-12 all-time against the Missouri Valley. The last team the Tigers faced from the Missouri Valley was Wichita State. Memphis faced the Shockers in the WBI two seasons ago in the second round, winning 74-58 in a game played at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
Missouri State has alternated wins and losses as of late, winning three of their last five games. The Bears were eliminated from the Missouri Valley Conference tournament by Creighton, 56-47. Trying to keep the Bears scoring down will be important for the Tigers. The Missouri State offense ranks 22nd in the country with 72.7 points per game. The Bears have scored 70 or more points in 20 of 31 games and sport a stout 19-1 record when scoring 70 or more points. They have been held under 65 points in seven games and are 1-6 when scoring under 65 points.
Like the Tigers, the Bears thrive in taking care of the ball. Missouri State ranks 86th in the country, with just 1.93 turnovers a night. The Bears like pressuring opponents in to turnovers though, ranking 68th in the NCAA with 10.0 steals a night.
On the perimeter, Missouri State is led in scoring by senior guard Casey Garrison, who averages 16.3 ppg and leads the team with 132 assists. The 6-0 foot guard also has 20 blocked shots on the season (tied for the team lead) and is second on the team in three point field goals made behind fellow senior guard Jaleshia Roberson. Roberson has knocked down 77 triples in 222 tries this year, to ranks 76th in the NCAA with a 34.7 clip and 37th with 2.5 triples made a night.
Collier Answers the Bell in First Post Season Action
Playing in her first post-season tournament after missing the Tigers' WNIT game last season against Alabama, senior guard Danay Collier stepped up to answer the call in the second half of the win over Chattanooga. Collier twice hit shots that tied the game -- a three with 15:32 remaining in the second half to give Memphis its first tie of the second half and cap a 13-5 run and a layup with 4:18 remaining that pushed the game to the sixth, and final, tie at 55.
Tigers and the Luck of the Irish
Memphis will be playing on St. Patrick's Day for the fourth time in school history. Memphis is 2-1 on St. Patty's Day. The last Memphis game on St. Patrick's Day was in the 1999-2000 season. Memphis lost to SEC foe Florida, 74-71, in that last game.
But maybe the Tigers' Saturday luck will offset that one loss. Memphis is 4-0 in games played on Saturdays so far this season.
Erasing the Biggest Deficit of the Season
Memphis looked like its season was going to come to an end early in the game with Chattanooga. The Tigers couldn't buy a basket and found themselves down 25-9 with 10:01 remaining in the first half. It took 13:45 off the clock over the first and second halves to erase that deficit, but Memphis erased the 16 point deficit, the largest of the season. The previous biggest deficit was a 13-point half time deficit at the half at SMU. Memphis erased that deficit with a 15-0 run. The Chattanooga deficit took much longer to erase and the Tigers needed a 13-5 run to start the second half to get the game knotted up with 16:15 left in the second half.
Single Digit Outcomes
For the 14th time this season, the Tigers' game on Thursday night came down to single digits. Memphis picked up the one point win, its smallest margin of victory this season, to improve to 10-4 in single digit decisions. Memphis improved to 8-1 in games decided by five or fewer points. In the last 10 games, Memphis has gone 8-2. Six of those games were single digit games and everyone one of those six games was a victory.
Back on the Road
After hosting the Conference USA Championships and then playing the first round of the WNIT at home, Memphis is pulling out the suitcases for the first time in awhile. Memphis' last road game was a come from behind win at Rice on March 1st. Prior to that, Memphis split a C-USA road swing, losing at Marshall on Feb. 16th, then winning at UCF on Feb. 19th.
After going 3-1 on the road in non-conference play with losses at Illinois (62-54), Missouri (58-48) and St. John's (64-60) and a win at NCAA participating team UALR (81-66), Memphis bounced back to go 6-2 on the road in Conference USA play.
A Link Between the Two
There aren't many ties between Memphis and Missouri State, but there are still a couple. The Bears have a Memphis product on their roster in sophomore forward Desiree Phillips, who attended Manassas High School. Phillips has played in 24 of 31 games for the Bears, averaging 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.
Going back a little ways, a member of the Tigers staff has some Missouri State ties. Director of Basketball Operations Donease Smith played one season at then Southwest Missouri State, appearing in 24 games and averaging 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game before transferring to Central Missouri State as a sophomore.
Lonlack Zips Past 300 Steals Mark
With four steals in the win over Chattanooga, senior guard Ramses Lonlack, the 2012 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, passed the 300 steals plateau, becoming just the third player in Memphis history to have 300 or more steals for her career. Lonlack, Melissa McFerrin's first recruit at Memphis when she took the job in April of 2008, also tied the Tigers' all-time career games played record with her play Thursday night. She now holds the school record for career starts (122) and minutes played (3,923) and is tied with former teammate Alex Winchell (2007-2011) with 128 career games played.
Lonlack passed the 1,000 point mark in Memphis' second C-USA game of the season (at UTEP) and now has 1,158 points, 635 rebounds and 301 steals in her four-year career. Of the five seniors on the Tiger roster, she is the lone four-year senior on the roster.
Advancing in the Post Season
In Melissa McFerrin's four seasons at Memphis, she has guided the Tigers to a post season bid in three straight seasons. First it was a berth in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) in 2010, where Memphis advanced all the way to the finals of the 16 team tournament. Then, last year, Memphis returned to the WNIT for the first time since 2004, falling in the first round to SEC foe Alabama. Now, the Tigers have taken the next step, winning its first round WNIT game, also a first since the 2004 team defeated Tulsa in their opening round, then lost on the road at Western Kentucky, 104-87.
With Thursday's win over Chattanooga, the Tigers improved to 6-5 in the WNIT. Memphis' deepest ever run in the WNIT was to the semifinal round, where they lost at host Wisconsin, 92-73, in 1999.
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 win over Chattanooga Thursday for double-double number 16 on the season. The 16 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 24 career double-doubles, which is the fourth-best career total in Memphis' 40 year history.
Regina Street 65
Keeta Matthews 36
Kim Duppins 27
Jasmine Lee 24
Dickson Moves In to Single Season Top 10
Junior forward Nicole Dickson was just 1-for-6 from three-point range on Thursday night, but that one triple moved her to 50 on the season and in to a tie for 10th in the single season charts. She is now tied with Tamika Butler's mark from the 2005-06.
Abdul-Qaadir Books Another Double Digit Night
Sophomore point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir scored double-digit points just three times all of last season. In the first 19 games this year, she scored double-digits twice while learning how to be the Tigers' starting point guard. But as the sophomore has gotten more comfortable at the point, she has added another dimension to her game, scoring double-digits in seven of the next 13 games, including two of the last three.
On Thursday night, she also did something for the first time in her career. She connected on multiple three-point field goals for the first time in her young Tiger career.
Lee Named WBCA All-Region Nominee for All-America Team
Senior forward Jasmine Lee already picked up one piece of hardware, being named the Conference USA Player of the Year. She has also appeared on a post-season award list, being named to the Region 4 list of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) list. The entire list (consisting of eight regions), is made up of 52 candidates. That list will be whittled to 40 finalists and the 10-member WBCA All-America team will come out of that list of 40 players.
Lee is the lone player from Conference USA on the list, and is joined in the Region 4 list by Courtney Osborn (Miami University), Tavelyn James (Eastern Michigan), Alexis Rogers (Bowling Green State), Ebony Rowe (Middle Tennessee) and Jerica Coley (Florida International). The WBCA All-America team will be announced on Saturday, March 31st.
Dickson Plays Another Complete Game
Nicole Dickson stepped in to the starting lineup this season for Memphis after coming off the bench in her freshman and sophomore campaigns. The Greeneville, Tenn., native has gone from minutes off the bench, to playing entire games with little to no break. Against Chattanooga, Dickson played her second complete 40 minute game of the season. Dickson is just 29 minutes shy of playing 1,000 minutes this season. The 971 minutes she has already played this season is just shy of the single season top 10 (996). Both games where Dickson has played 40 minutes were Tigers victories (UAB, Chattanooga).
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.
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. Memphis is 11-2 when scoring 60-69 points and is 14-0 when scoring over 70.
On the reverse side, Memphis needs to keep opponents from reaching the 60-point mark. Memphis is 14-1 when the opposition scores 59 or fewer points.
Changing Leagues in 2013-14
Memphis has been a founding member of Conference USA dating back to 1995-96, but the Tigers will have some new league mates come 2013-2014. Memphis will join the BIG EAST in 2013-14, rejoining the team with former foes DePaul, Marquette, Cincinnati, Louisville and USF.
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.