Women's Basketball Opens Road Schedule at Illinois
Go Tigers! Memphis is 2-1 in road openers since McFerrin came to Memphis. The Tigers have won two straight road openers (at Missouri and at Indiana) over the last two seasons.
Go Tigers!
Memphis is 2-1 in road openers since McFerrin came to Memphis. The Tigers have won two straight road openers (at Missouri and at Indiana) over the last two seasons.
Go Tigers!

Nov. 14, 2011

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- This is the third meeting in history between Memphis and Illinois. The overall series is tied at 1-1. The last meeting between the two teams was in 1983-84 when the Illini defeated then-Memphis State 65-58 in Champaign. Memphis State won the first meeting 102-62 in 1982-83.

- Memphis has won its last two road openers under Melissa McFerrin. The Tigers are 2-1 in road openers since McFerrin took over the team in 2008-09. In her first year at Memphis, the Tigers lost at Belmont, a loss they avenged with a 79-40 victory on Sunday. The team then won at Missouri (11/18/09) and at Indiana (11/18/10) last season in road openers.

- The win at Missouri gave McFerrin her first career win versus her alma mater and the win at Indiana gave the Tigers their first win over a Big 10 foe since a 59-56 win over Michigan State in the championship game of the Lady Tiger Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 30, 2002.

- This road game will be the lone road trip of the month for the Tigers. Memphis is playing seven of their first eight games of the year at home. That home stretch ends against UT Martin, the first of four straight NCAA tournament teams from last season on the Tigers' non-conference slate.

- Big Ten Background: Memphis head coach Melissa McFerrin and associate head coach Danielle O'Banion both have Big 10 backgrounds. McFerrin was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 1990-1997 and then served as an Associate Head Coach at the University of Minnesota in 2002-2004, helping the Golden Gophers to the Sweet Sixteen in 2003 and the Final Four in 2004. Beginning in 2003, McFerrin worked with an assistant coach on the Minnesota staff named Danielle O'Banion. O'Banion worked at Minnesota until 2007.

Preseason Honors & Expectations -- Ready to March
The pressure is on the Tigers this season. The Conference USA coaches' poll was headlined by the Tigers in the No. 1 preseason pick slot and seniors Brittany Carter and Jasmine Lee each earned pre-season honors. Carter, a two-time first-team all-conference honoree was picked as the preseason Player of the Year, while Lee, the team's leading rebounder and second leading scorer, was picked as a pre-season all-conference honoree. The pair also picked up pre-season honors from the College Sports Madness blog. Carter was named a Preseason All-American Second Team and the C-USA Pre-season Player of the Year, while Lee was named to the C-USA Pre-season Second team.

The Tigers also return two-time C-USA All-Defensive team honoree Ramses Lonlack at the guard spot and will have junior forward Nicole Dickson, a 2009-10 all-freshman team honoree, back in the front court.

Lonlack Passes 900 Point Mark
With her 10 points in the win over Belmont, Ramses Lonlack moved past the 900 career point mark. The senior guard, known in Conference USA for her defensive pressure, is now just 99 points shy of becoming the 21st player in Memphis history to score 1,000 or more career points. Teammate Brittany Carter was the last to cross that mark in the first round game of the Conference USA championships last season.

Back-to-Back Post Seasons
The Memphis women's basketball team has appeared in back-to-back post-season tournaments in the past two seasons. In McFerrin's second year at the helm of the program, the Tigers advanced all the way to the finals of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) tournament in 2009-2010. The team then battled an injury-plagued 2010-11 season, managing to make it to the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament for the first time since 1997-98. The Tigers, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, upended No. 3 seeded Rice in the quarterfinals, getting Memphis to the 21 win mark and helping the team qualify for a WNIT at-large berth.

Memphis' appearance in the 2010-11 WNIT was its first since the 2003-04 season and the back-to-back post-season berths were the first for the program since it made three straight WNIT tournaments (1999-2001).

Tigers Sign Six for 2012-13
With a five-player senior class, the Memphis coaching staff had some work to do in preparation for next year. The staff's hard work paid off with six signed NLIs on the first day of the early signing period. The class was already called the No. 2 recruiting class by what ESPN.com's Hoopgurlz classifies as Mid-Major programs, and that did not count the addition of junior college signee Devin Mack.

University of Memphis Early Signees
Asia Fuqua-Bey, 6-2, Center, Chicago, Ill./Marist HS
Ariel Hearn, 5-7, Guard, Memphis, Tenn./Arlington HS
Jaymie Jackson, 5-10, Guard, Toledo, Ohio/Start HS
Devin Mack, 5-10 Forward, Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic/Kishwaukee College
Courtney Powell, 6-1, Forward, Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline HS
Mooriah Rowser, 5-8, Guard, Rockville, Md./St. Johns College HS

Tigers' Associate Head Coach Honored Online
The Tigers' entire staff recruits, scouts and coaches a position at the University of Memphis. The cumulative effort of the coaches resulted in back-to-back 20-win seasons and post-season berths, but Associate Head Coach Danielle O'Banion was recognized by www.collegeinsider.com as one of the top 25 high major assistant coaches in the country.

Taking the Tigers' Message Overseas
The Tigers took their game overseas this summer, venturing to Italy for a 10-day tour. On the tour, the team visited Rome, Venice, Pisa and Como and played four games, going 4-0 on the trip against professional teams based in Germany and Italy. That 10-day tour in August meant this team got 10 days of practice early in August in order to prepare for the tour. The games were played with international rules, and an international three-point line, and gave the three freshmen a chance to get some early reps in the Memphis system. The coaching staff will now work to keep the team from burning out too early since they started workouts so much earlier, something to watch for in January and February when the conference slate starts.

Fortieth Season
The is the 40th season that women's basketball has been a varsity sport at Memphis. It's been a bitter sweet celebration, as Elma Roane, the women's athletic director who returned women's sports to varsity status at the university, passed away in September at the age of 93. The Tigers enter the 2011-12 season just 20 wins away from the 700th win in program history. The program's current record heading in to the Illinois game is 682-503.

In school history, 18 Tigers' teams have won 20 or more games. In the last 10 years, Memphis has just three 20-win seasons, but two of them are the back-to-back seasons under McFerrin.

Looking for a Grand
Senior guard Ramses Lonlack and junior forward Nicole Dickson are looking to be the next Tigers in to the 1,000 career point club. Lonlack enters the season with 901 total points (99 shy of 1,000), while Dickson enters with 630 points (370 shy). Teammate Brittany Carter became the 20th player in school history to hit the grand mark last year. Carter reached the 1,000 point mark in 60 career games, making her the third-fastest Tiger in school history to 1,000 points.

Season Openers
With the win Friday night over Saint Louis, the Tigers improved to 21-19 all-time in season openers, snapping a two-game losing streak in openers in FedExForum.

Host City for Conference USA Tournament
Memphis will host both the men's and women's Conference USA Championships in March. Both tournaments will run March 7-10th. The first two rounds of the women's tournament will be played in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, before the semifinals and finals move down to FedExForum. This is the first time the women's C-USA Championships have been in Memphis since 2003.

ome Court is Busy in November
The Tigers have two home courts in Memphis, and will be busy on both of them to start the season, playing seven of their first eight games in the Bluff City in either the friendly confines of the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, where the team had an 18-game home winning streak before a loss to UTEP last year, or at FedExForum, where Memphis will open the season against Saint Louis. Memphis played four games at FedExForum last year, finishing with a 3-1 mark there following a season-opening stumble against Missouri.

Carter Named Candidate for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
Senior guard Brittany Carter was named one of 30 candidates from across the country for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award, which is given to senior student-athletes who stay for their final year of eligibility, is based on excellence in the classroom, on the court, in the community and on strong character.

Carter has been a team captain at Memphis since her sophomore season and received her college diploma last December after just 2 1/2 years at Memphis after transferring from Georgia following her freshman season. After a possible professional basketball career, Carter wants to become an FBI agent. She participated in an FBI job-shadowing experience last year and last summer went to work for Morgan Keegan after learning that most FBI agents start their work at the desk doing research.

The senior guard had to battle some adversity last year. She suffered a stress fracture in her foot that eventually required her to miss five games. With Carter out of the line-up, Memphis fell from top quarter of the conference standings to sixth place by conference tournament time (1-4 in the five games she missed). Carter returned to the line-up at the conference tournament, scoring her 1,000th career point in her first game back, a win over Southern Miss, and then leading the team in scoring off the bench in the quarterfinal game to help Memphis to its first conference semifinals appearance since 1997-98.

Dickson Looking to Move Into Career Top 10 in Triples
In the final regular season home game last year, Tiger fans got to see now-graduated senior point guard Alex Winchell set the Memphis career record with five three-point field goals. But while Winchell was working on the top part of the career record list, then-sophomore forward Nicole Dickson is looking to start some work on the bottom half of the list.

Now a junior, Dickson, in 66 career games, has hit 59 career triples. She needs just six more threes to move into a tie for 10th with former Tiger Jessica Hall (2004-05, 2007-08).

Carter Garners Second C-USA First Team Honor
She missed over a quarter of Memphis' Conference USA games, but junior guard Brittany Carter became just the fifth player in Tiger history to earn multiple all-conference first team honors when she was voted to the 2010-2011 All Conference USA First Team last year.

Memphis Multiple First Team All-Conference Award Winners
Tamika Whitmore, Conference USA -- 1997, 1998, 1999
Keeta Matthews, Great Midwest -- 1993, 1994, 1995
Brittany Carter, Conference USA -- 2010, 2011
LaTonya Johnson, Conference USA -- 1996, 1998 -- Great Midwest 1995
Regina Street, Metro Conference -- 1984, 1985

Lonlack Repeats Defensive Team Honor
The Conference USA All-Defensive Team was in existence for four seasons before a Tiger got her name etched into the history books as one of the league's best defenders, but guard Ramses Lonlack made sure that Memphis was represented again last year with her second straight All-Defensive Team award. Lonlack and Courtney Taylor of Houston were the only repeat recipients on the team from 2009-10.

Through three seasons at Memphis, Lonlack already ranks sixth in school history in steals with 239 steals through 98 career games. She will move into the career top five sometime this season, as she is 42 steals back from fifth place Kim Duppins (1978-82).

 

 

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