Nov. 19, 2006
Complete Game Five Game Notes in PDF Format
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The task remains tough for the Memphis Lady Tigers, who will host a 2-1 UL Monroe team in non-conference action, Monday, beginning at 7:05 p.m. The Warhawks are coming off an 80-73 win at the Lady Tigers' C-USA travel partner, UAB, on Friday, and are looking for a second win against a C-USA foe in as many attempts.
In the last meeting with ULM, Memphis was opening the 2005-06 regular season, dropping that game 80-60 in Monroe. Seven members of the ULM roster return from that game, and six newcomers dot the roster, including a significant number of junior college players who will be looking to end a four-game road trip with another win.
Memphis is still looking for a consistent fivesome to go out and put together a 40-minute effort. Against Samford in the Lady Tigers' home opener, Memphis, which had been very aggressive on offense against Louisville, came out and was very passive on offense in the opening half. Fortunately for the Lady Tigers, Samford started off on a cold shooting night, allowing Memphis to remain within reach after the Bulldogs had wrestled the lead away from the Lady Tigers midway through the first.
Senior Devin Necaise has gotten off to a solid start, averaging a team-high 12.0 ppg, while newcomer Ashley Thornton is almost averaging a double-double with 11.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Thornton also leads the team with seven steals and 13 offensive rebounds through the first four games.
Memphis needs more scoring though from the rest of the team, as the Lady Tiger bench was outscored again by Samford, the third time in four games the bench has been outscored.
Needing More Help Off the Bench
In three of the first four games, the Lady Tiger bench has been outscored, including a 31-20 margin in the Samford game as Memphis allowed two Bulldogs off the bench to score double-digits. The Lady Tigers will have their work cut out for them against UL Monroe, as nine different Warhawk players average three or more points per game and a total of four others have scored for ULM already this season.
Three Hit Double-Digit Scoring
For the first time this season, three Lady Tigers hit the double-digit scoring mark in the loss to Samford, led by Devin Necaise's 15 points. Paris Leonard, last year's Sixth Player of the Year in C-USA, came off the bench to add 11 points, but was 4-for-13 from the floor. Ashley Thornton rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points, adding 11 rebounds. Unfortunately for Memphis, three Bulldogs also hit double digit points, making the edge from bench scoring impact the game in Samford's favor.
Thornton Team Rebounding Leader
Sophomore forward Ashley Thornton is almost averaging a double-double (currently averaging 11.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. She has led Memphis in rebounding in every game, but is the lone Lady Tiger to average over five rebounds a game. Junior Aroha Jennings (4.3 rpg) and point guard Se'eerra Fantroy (4.3 rpg) are the only other Lady Tigers close to the five rebounds a night mark.
Memphis vs. UL Monroe
This is the third meeting in as many years with the Warhawks (nicknamed the Indians in previous meetings with the Lady Tigers). The Monday night game is the rubber match between the two programs, as Memphis defeated ULM in its last meeting in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, 71-67, while ULM won the game last year, 80-60, in Monroe.
Offense Is Not the Issue
After averaging 59.8 ppg last year, the Lady Tiger offense has already gotten a bit better through the first four games, averaging 68.3 ppg. But the Lady Tiger defense has yet to turn it up a notch, with just 22 steals on the season (compared to 40 for the opposition) and allowing 85.8 ppg, compared to 78.9 ppg last season.
Gooch Four Points Away
Senior center Megan Gooch is four points away from her 200th career point as a Lady Tiger. Since she came to Memphis in 2003-04, the Memphis coaching staffs have been trying to get the Georgetown, Texas, native to score more. She averaged a career-high 3.6 ppg last year, and is shortly behind that pace this season with 3.3 points per game.
Leonard 28 Points Shy of 400th Career Point
Sophomore guard Paris Leonard has scored at a little slower pace than last season, as teams have seen her on tape from last year and know more about the Wooddale HS product. After averaging 12.8 ppg last year, Leonard is averaging 9.5 ppg through the first four games this year, but is just 28 points shy of hitting the 400-career point mark. She has drawn more defensive attention from three point range, and after hitting 36.1 percent from beyond the arc last year, is shooting 26.7 percent from there this year.
Memphis Looking for Jennings to Get In the Offensive Flow
Lady Tiger fans were excited to see that junior college transfer Aroha Jennings notched 18 points in the exhibition game against Rhodes. But unfortunately, other teams saw the box score as well and have slowed Jennings down, holding her to just 7.3 ppg and to a 25.0 percent performance from three-point range.
Necaise Sneaking Up on Herron
Senior guard Devin Necaise is sneaking up on former Lady Tiger Kelly Herron's mark for career three-point field goals. Necaise has 127 threes heading in to the ULM game, needing just four more to tie Herron for fourth all-time in career three pointers. Necaise has gotten some offensive help this year, but is still attempting more threes per game. She is averaging 8.0 attempts per game from three point range through the first three games after averaging 6.8 attempts from beyond the arc last season.
Leonard Looking to Move to Ninth All-Time
Sophomore guard Paris Leonard is just one three-point field goal shy of tying Yolanda Reed (1997-2000) for ninth all-time in career three-point field goals with 48. Leonard needs five more to catch Heather Newlon (1993-1997) for 8th all-time.
Necaise Looking to be Next Lady Tiger to 1,000 Career Points
Senior guard Devin Necaise (Necaise Crossing, Miss./Hancock HS) needs 218 points to be the next Lady Tiger to hit the 1,000 career point mark. She would be the 18th Lady Tiger to pass the one-grand mark, and with 26 regular season games remaining and at least one guaranteed game in the conference tournament, she needs to average 8.4 points per game to tie Princess Swilley with 1,000 career points.
Memphis in Home Openers
Memphis is 26-9 in its home openers, following the 62-54 loss to OVC pre-season favorite Samford.
Memphis Drops Season Opener on the Road
Memphis opened its 2006-07 regular season on the road for a second straight season. Memphis dropped its season opener last year at Louisiana-Monroe,80-60. In all, Memphis is 19-16 overall in season openers and is 1-2 in season openers under Coach Savage.
Another Tough Schedule
Three top 25 teams, three Wade candidate trophy candidates on opposing rosters -- the Lady Tigers may have been obsessed with the number three when they were putting together their non-conference schedule. Memphis will face three teams that were on the CBSSportsline Pre-Season top 25, including No. 9 Georgia, No. 14 Kentucky and No. 21 Louisville. Memphis will face two of those opponents (Georgia and Louisville) on the road, and will face Kentucky at the UT-San Antonio tournament at the end of December. Memphis will also face three Wade Trophy candidates -- Georgia's Tasha Humphries (who will be sitting out a six-game suspension for the Memphis game), Louisville's Jazz Covington and Tulsa's Jillian Robbins.