Tigers vs. Grambling State This is the fifth meeting between the two Tigers programs. Memphis leads the overall series, 4-0, and the two teams last played on Nov. 15th of 2010, with Memphis winning, 81-59. Off the current Memphis roster, only Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir played in that last meeting. She finished with seven points and three steals in 18 minutes off the bench in her freshman campaign. For Grambling State, three of their current seniors played in that last meeting. Rachele Dobbins started in that game and scored 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Fellow GSU Lady Tigers Alexis Watson (0 points, 0 rebounds, 6 minutes) and Bianca McCowan (0 points, 0 rebounds, 7 minutes) also saw action in that last meeting.
Season Openers With the win over Saint Louis in last year's season-opener, the Tigers improved to 21-19 all-time in season openers. This will be the first time Memphis has opened its regular season in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse since 2008-09, Coach McFerrin's first year at Memphis. The Tigers won that game 64-47, then for the next three seasons, opened their respective seasons in games played at FedExForum. This is the first time Memphis will be facing Grambling State in its regular season opener.
Tigers in the Preseason WNIT This is the second time that Memphis has been invited to play in the Preseason WNIT. The last time Memphis played in the tournament as in the 1995 season, where the Tigers lost 89-81 to Drake in the one-game guaranteed tournament. The tournament format has changed since then, and all Preseason WNIT participants now are guaranteed at least three games in the tournament. The two teams in the Preseason WNIT championship game will play four games as part of the tournament. Last year's finalists were No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Notre Dame the eventual NCAA National Championship game teams. Baylor defeated Notre Dame, 94-81 in the Preseason WNIT championship game.
So, When Do We Play Again? The Preseason WNIT is a format where every participating team is guaranteed three games. The winner of Friday's game will face the winner of the Middle Tennessee vs. Kennesaw State game that is also playing Friday. That Second Round game will be played on Sunday and will be played at one of the participating team's home sites. The winner of that Second Round game plays again on Wednesday night in the semifinals (again, on one of the two participating team's home floors). The championship game for the Preseason WNIT will be on Sunday, November 18th and that game will be televised on CBS College Sports. Teams that lose in the second round will be re-seeded and will play a consolation game (to get the third guaranteed game) on either Friday, November 16th or Saturday, November 17th. Teams that lose in the first round will also be reseeded and will play two games next weekend (Nov. 16-18) to get their three guaranteed games.
Either way, you will be able to listen to all of those games (whichever schedule we end up on 91.7 FM. We will also stream the audio portion of the event on our website at www.GoTigersGo.com/AllAccess.
Two of the Top Freshman Classes in the Country on the Floor Friday Two of the top 50 recruiting classes in Division I women's basketball will be on the floor at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse Friday.
Unlike Memphis, Grambling State does have some seniors to fall back on with four seniors on the roster (compared to one for Memphis). But all of those Grambling State players are also getting used to a new head coach as Patricia Cage Bibbs took over her alma mater's Lady Tigers' program after last season. Bibbs is the only coach in both men's and women's basketball at a HBCU school to win 500 or more career games, and brings 28 seasons of collegiate coaching back to Grambling State with her. Prior to coaching at Grambling State, Bibbs coached at Hampton University and North Carolina A&T.
Dickson Named Pre-Season All-C-USA Senior forward Nicole Dickson was voted to the Conference USA Preseason All-Conference team by the league coaches. The Greeneville, Tenn., native was a second team, all-conference honoree last year and has already started working her name into the Memphis record books. She currently ranks 20th in school history with 1,064 points through three seasons and eighth in Memphis history with 112 three-point field goals made. She needs 19 more triples to move to seventh in career threes, where former Tiger Kelly Herron (1995-2001) currently sits. In the exhibition game against Rhodes, Dickson played just 23 minutes and almost had a double-double, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Tigers Picked Fifth in C-USA Preseason Poll Despite the loss of five seniors from last year's roster, including C-USA Player of the Year Jasmine Lee, C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Ramses Lonlack and three-time All-C-USA honoree Brittany Carter, the C-USA coaching pool has still has lofty expectations of the 2012-13 Memphis roster with eight newcomers, picking the Tigers to finish fifth in the C-USA Preseason Coaches' Poll. Newcomers Get Their Feet Wet If the exhibition game was any sign of what's to come for the Tigers, the newcomers could be an impressive bunch. Freshmen guards Mooriah Rowser and Ariel Hearn each tallied double-digits in the game, with Rowser finishing with a team-high 17 points, while Hearn was right behind with 16 points. Rowser also led Memphis with five steals, adding three assists and a steal in 34 minutes of play. She was also a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line and was 6-for-9 from the field. Hearn was 6-for-10 from the field (1-for-4 from three) and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. She added four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes. Off the bench, newcomers Pa'Sonna Hope and Asianna Fuqua-Bey each grabbed eight rebounds, while Courtney Powell added seven points and three rebounds. Jaymie Jackson was the final newcomer who played in the exhibition game, adding four points, two assists and two rebounds. Fellow newcomers Devin Mack and Jamila Ajanaku did not play in the exhibition game. Ajanaku is still waiting for an approval or denial from the NCAA of her waiver to play this season.
Opponent Check-Up Grambling State (15-16): Will have a new head coach at the helm of the program as Patricia Bibbs takes over the program; incoming freshman class was ranked No. 44 in the country by ESPNHoopGurlz.com; opens season at Memphis, Friday. Texas-Arlington (7-21): Won their exhibition opener, 65-53, against Wayland Baptist. Center Desherra Nwanguma had a double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds' opens season at George Washingto, Friday. Prairie View A&M (17-16): A 2012 NCAA tournament team; senior forward Latia Williams was named the SWAC Preseason Player of the Year while Kiara Etienne was named first team all-conference; opens season at Rice, Friday. East Tennessee State (8-22): Picked to finish in a tie for fourth in the Atlantic Sun preseason coaches' poll; junior Destiny Mitchell named to the pre-season All-Atlantic Sun team; won both exhibition games and opens season Saturday at Chattanooga. UALR (20-13): Picked to win the West in the Sun Belt and had three pre-season all-conference honorees; opens season at Tulsa on Monday. Illinois (11-19): Won their exhibition opener under new head coach Matt Bollant, 89-37; opens regular season against Evansville on Sunday. Alabama A&M (17-12): Won exhibition game, 64-62, over Montevallo; opens season against C-USA foe UAB on Monday. Saint Louis (11-20): Has a new head coach as former Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone has taken over the Billiken program; opens the regular season at Missouri, Friday. Seton Hall (8-23): Opens their season on Friday by hosting New Jersey Institute of Technology. Missouri (13-18): Won exhibition game against Lincoln, 75-50; opens the season against Saint Louis, Friday. Tennessee Tech (17-17): Picked to win the Ohio Valley East Division under new head coach Jim Davis; opens season against Tennessee Wesleyan on Saturday. Wright State (21-13): Picked to finish third in the Horizon League and sophomore guard Kim Demmings was named the preseason Player of the Year in the Horizon League; hosts Indianapolis in an exhibition game, Nov. 1st, then hosts Cedarville in a second exhibition on Sunday. Houston (3-26): Senior guard Porsche Landry received a fifth year of eligibility after an injury last season and will be joined by the No. 40 ranked recruiting class for the upcoming season; Houston was picked to finish 10th in the preseason coaches' poll; opens the season at Mississippi State on Friday, Nov. 9th. Southern Miss (13-18): Picked to finish seventh in the C-USA Preseason Coaches' Poll; junior point guard Jamierra Faulkner named to the preseason team; hosts Hampton in season opener Friday. East Carolina (12-19): Picked to finish 11th in the C-USA Coaches' Poll; opens season at William & Mary on Friday. Tulane (23-11): Preseason favorites to win Conference USA; senior guard Olivia Grayson named preseason all-conference; opens season by hosting Louisiana Tech, Friday. UAB (19-11): Won exhibition opener, 75-29, over Brewton-Parker, with 17 points from senior guard Amber Jones; hosts Alabama-Huntsville in final exhibition game on Monday before opening season against Austin Peay on Friday. UCF (12-17): Picked to finish ninth in preseason coaches' poll; opens exhibition season Friday against Lynn College, then opens season hosting Georgia State on Nov. 9th. Rice (16-16): Led by the preseason Player of the Year, junior forward Jessica Kuster, Rice was picked to finish fourth in the league standings; opens season against Prairie View A&M on Friday, Nov. 9th. Marshall (16-14): New head coach Matt Daniel takes over the Thundering Herd program; hosts Concord in an exhibition game on Thursday, then Kentucky State on Sunday before opening the season against Radford, Nov. 9th. SMU (14-17): Picked to finish eighth in C-USA preseason poll; junior Akil Simpson named to preseason all-conference team; opens season against Alcorn State, Nov. 10th. UTEP (29-4): Picked to finish second in preseason coaches poll; junior forward Kayla Thornton named preseason all-conference; hosts St. Mary's (Texas) Saturday in an exhibition game, then opens season against Loyola Marymount, Saturday, Nov. 10th. Tulsa (13-15): Won exhibition game, 88-50, with 20 points from Taleya Mayberry; plays one more exhibition game against Mid-America Christian on Sunday before opening the season at cross-town foe Oral Roberts, Friday, Nov. 9th.