Nov. 25, 2006
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Memphis had four players in double-digit scoring and got points from 10 of the 11 players who played while weathering a 90-86 win in the first round of the Lady Tiger Classic presented by Piggly Wiggly, Friday night.
Memphis led 46-36 at the half, its most first-half points of the season. Memphis, which had been held without a three in the first half against UL Monroe, used the area beyond the arc to break open the double-digit half time lead, as Memphis hit 8-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes, including four treys from Devin Necaise, two from Alysse Davis and one from both Paris Leonard and Aroha Jennings.
The balance also applied to the defensive side of the ball, as Memphis had a game-high eight blocks and had four different players with five or more rebounds, including seven from point guard Se'erra Fantroy and seven from Aroha Jennings.
Now the Lady Tigers must quickly prepare to face Lipscomb, a team that Memphis edged in Nashville last year when Paris Leonard hit a shot with nine seconds left, giving the Lady Tigers their first win of the season. The loss is not likely one Lipscomb has forgotten, as the Lady Bisons had the game in hand, leading by as much as 18, when a mid-court collision for a loose ball resulted in Catie Woods missing the remaining minutes of the game after playing a major role in breaking any Lady Tiger full-court pressure.
This championship game will be the fifth in Memphis history. Memphis leads the overall series 4-0, but all four games have been close, with Memphis never winning by more than 10 points (2003-04). The other three previous match-ups have been decided by a combined 10 points, including the 76-74 Memphis win last season.
This is Memphis' 17th appearance in the championship game of the Lady Tiger Classic. Austin Peay's first round win over Memphis last year snapped a streak of 13 straight Lady Tiger classic titles.
Leonard 16 Points Shy of 400th Career Point
Sophomore Paris Leonard bounced back from her first career scoreless night with 12 points off the bench in the win over Central Arkansas, Friday. Leonard was 2-for-11 from the field, but had her best career night at the free-throw line, going 7-for-7.
Memphis Making 17th Championship Finals Appearance
Saturday's match-up featuring Lipscomb and Memphis will be the Lady Tigers' 17th appearance in the championship game of their home tournament. The Lady Tigers are looking to start a new streak of consecutive tournament titles, as a first round loss to Austin Peay last year snapped a streak of 13 straight Lady Tiger Classic titles for Memphis. This is Lipscomb's first-ever appearance in the Lady Tiger tournament, and their first tournament finals appearance.
Memphis vs. Lipscomb
This is the first meeting between Memphis and Lipscomb, and Lipscomb is probably not likely to just let the last game lie. Memphis trailed 38-36 at the half last season, and got down by as many as 18 in the second half before mounting a come-back. In the process of applying full court pressure to the Lady Bisons, a scramble for a loose ball at center court resulted in Lipscomb's Catie Woods having to leave the game, forcing Lipscomb to lose a good ball-handler against the Lady Tiger pressure. The result was Paris Leonard hitting a jumper with nine seconds left and when a Katie Rollins jumper was ruled not to have counted at the buzzer, Memphis had escaped Nashville with its first win of the season.
Pair of Freshmen Make First Career Starts
The winning line-up for Memphis Friday included a pair of freshmen making their first-ever start, as Hope Adams and Robin Jones each posted her first Lady Tiger start. Adams finished with four points and four rebounds, adding an assist in 18 minutes, while Jones scored six points with an assist and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
Necaise Moves to Fourth All-Time in Three-Point Field Goals
With her five three-point field goals against Central Arkansas, senior guard Devin Necaise has moved to fourth all-time in that category at Memphis. She passed former Lady Tiger Kelly Herron and is now just three three-point field goals shy of tying former teammate Tamika Butler (2002-2006) for third all time with 137 threes.
Balance Powers Memphis to First Win of Season
10 of the 11 Lady Tigers who played in Friday night's win over Central Arkansas scored, and 10 of the 11 had a rebound. That kind of balance is what the Lady Tiger coaching staff hopes to build on for the rest of the season. Memphis had four players in double-digit points for the first time this season, and while no Lady Tiger had double-digit rebounds, four Lady Tigers had five or more rebounds during the game. Devin Necaise was the game-high scorer with 25 points, her season-best effort, which also saw her add a team-high three steals. The senior from Necasie Crossing, Miss., also was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Memphis Goes to Work From the Charity Stripe
Memphis had its best night of the young season from the free-throw line Friday night. Memphis was 23-for-25, both season highs, and five Lady Tigers were perfect. Paris Leonard was 7-for-7 from the line, while Devin Necaise was 6-for-6. Three freshman were perfet at the line, as Robin Jones and the two point guards were 2-for-2. Jazmyn Green and Se'erra Fantroy both hit clutch free-throws in the last minute of play to help Memphis hang on for the win.
Gooch Hits 200th Career Point
With her second jumper from the free-throw line, senior center Megan Gooch scored her 200th career point against Central Arkansas, Friday night. She also added five rebounds, tying her season-high.The senior has now gone two straight games without an offensive rebound, after averaging two a game through the first four games.
Needing More Help Off the Bench
The UCA win marked the first time in five games that the Lady Tiger bench outscored the opposition. Memphis' bench accounted for 39 points, while UCA managed 21 points from its bench players.
Leonard Ties Reed for Ninth in Career History
Sophomore guard Paris Leonard tied Yolanda Reed (1997-2000) for ninth all-time in career three-point field goals with 48. Leonard needs four more to catch Heather Newlon (1993-1997) for 8th all-time. The sophomore has struggled with her shot this year as other team's have her on the scouting report after her 43 threes in her freshman campaign.
Necaise Looking to be Next Lady Tiger to 1,000 Career Points
Senior guard Devin Necaise (Necaise Crossing, Miss./Hancock HS) needs 181 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 23 regular season games remaining and at least one guaranteed game in the conference tournament, she needs to average 7.5 points per game to tie Princess Swilley with 1,000 career points.
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.
Playing 30 regular season games
Memphis will suit up for 30 regular season contests this season. The four-team tournament at Louisville will be an exempt tournament, meaning all three contests count against just one competition date for all the teams involved. The tournament will feature some stiff competition, as Winthop, Memphis' regular season opening opponent, was picked to finish third in the Big South, while Dayton was picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic Sun after finishing sixth last season. Host Louisville was listed on the cbssportsline.com Pre-Season top 25 at No. 21 and features Wade trophy candidate Jazz Covington. The 30 regular season games is the longest regular season schedule since 1980-81.