Nov. 26, 2008
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (3-2) will host its 24th Annual Piggly Wiggly Classic, Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. against Wichita State. Stephen F. Austin will face Jacksonville State in the second game at approximately 8:30.
Memphis is carrying a perfect 3-0 mark at home in to Friday's match-up, while Wichita State is coming in with an eye toward snapping a 21-game true road game losing streak that dates back to Jan. 7, 2007. The Shockers dropped their only road contest of the year so far at Oral Roberts, 89-76, and have dropped 26-straight games away from home, including neutral site games. They last won a regular season tournament in 2004.
Both programs are in their respective first seasons with new head coaches. Memphis is 3-2 overall under new head coach Melissa McFerrin, while Wichita State is 3-1 in its first season under Jody Adams. Adams, a former player at the University of Tennessee, guided Murray State to a 27-9 record and an NCAA tournament spot in her first year of head coaching last season. She took the Wichita State job after Jane Albright was released following a 9-22 mark last season.
The Tigers have three different players averaging double-digit points heading in to Friday's game. Senior guard Paris Leonard leads the team with 17.0 ppg after scoring 24 points against both Ole Miss and Ohio in the last two games. Senior forward Ashley Thornton opened the season with three straight double-doubles, but has had some helping rebounding as of late, and has dropped to 12.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Freshman Ramses Lonlack has become a force opposing guards would rather not encounter. The freshman is coming off a career-best 18 point effort against Ohio and is now averaging 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Leonard and Lonlack both have helped power Memphis to a league-best 10.40 steals per game. Leonard leads Conference USA in the early going with 3.6 steals and 2.8 three-point field goals per game.
Wichita State is led by senior Marcy Sudbeck, who has had a double-double in each of the Shockers' previous four games. Sudbeck averages 18.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. Marisah Henderson and Val Siemens also average double-digits, with 12.3 and 11.8 ppg, respectively.
WSU has already beaten two teams that were in the NCAA tournament last season, defeating UT-San Antonio, 54-51, and Iona, 66-64.
About Wichita State
The Shockers are off to a quick 3-1 start under new head coach Jody Adams. The Shockers have already beaten two teams that went to the NCAA tournament last season, upending UT San Antonio, 54-51, and defeating Iona, 66-64, both at home.
After a 9-22 season last year, the Shockers are looking to snap a 21-game road losing streak that dates back to Jan. 7, 2007 and build some road momentum for the remainder of their schedule.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Wichita State and the Tigers. But the Shockers should be somewhat familiar to a pair of Tigers, as both Shekeira Copeland and Savannah Ellis grew up in Wichita, Kan., graduating from Wichita Heights High School.
Leonard Nearing 1,000
Senior guard Paris Leonard has scored 48 points in the last two games and now needs just 31 more points to hit the 1,000 career point mark. She would be the 19th player in Memphis history to hit the grand scoring mark. The last Tiger to cross the 1,000 point mark was Devin Necaise (2003-2007). Necaise finished her career with 1,071 points, which currently ranks 16th overall. Necaise and Leonard were teammates for two seasons.
Leonard also ranks 6th in school history in three-point field goals made (115) and attempted (352) and is approaching the career top 10 in steals with 149. She needs 30 more steals to break in to the career top 10 in that category as well.
Leonard Rolling Toward 50th Career Double-Digit Scoring Night
Leonard's 24 point night against Ohio was her 49th career double-digit scoring outing. The Memphis native and Wooddale HS graduate has now played in 87 career games with 38 career starts heading in to Friday's game. The senior is also shooting 40.5 percent from the floor, which is a career-best single season field goal percentage for her.
Memphis in the Piggly Wiggly Classic
Memphis is 36-6 all-time in the Piggly Wiggly Classic. Memphis fell in the championship game last year to Louisiana Tech, 82-77. The Tigers have won the tournament title 17 times and have appeared in the championship game 18 times in the 24 years of the tournament.
Thornton Grabs 500th Career Rebound
Senior forward Ashley Thornton passed a career milestone in the win over Ohio, grabbing five rebounds in the win, which pushed he past the 500 career rebound mark in just 66 career games. Thornton, who transferred to Memphis as a sophomore, now has 503 career rebounds and 617 career points. The Pinson, Ala., native is now one of just 16 players in school history to have over 500 career rebounds.
Lonlack Has Career Night in Ohio Victory
Freshman guard Ramses Lonlack scored a career-high 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting in the win over Ohio. The double-digit outing was the third of her five-game old college career.
Lonlack now ranks fifth in Conference USA in steals (2.6/game), 27th in scoring (10.0 ppg) and 9th in offensive rebounds (3.2/game).
The freshman showed no nerves in her first game-winning situation, going to the free-throw line to break a tie by hitting one of two free-throws to give Memphis a one-point lead with 41 seconds remaining. After getting the outlet off a defensive rebound by Jessica Jackson, Lonlack was fouled again and stepped to the line and hit another free-throw to push the Tigers in front 71-69, forcing Ohio to call their last time-out. But the break didn't ice the shooter, as Lonlack knocked down her second free-throw, with three seconds remaining, to ice the win for Memphis. The freshman was 3-for-4 from the line down the stretch, improving to 9-for-12 from the line for her five-game old career.
Jackson Grabs Big Defensive Board
Senior center Jessica Jackson came off the bench and struggled in the early going against Ohio, picking up three fouls in three minutes of play in the first half. But the Collierville native came up big down the stretch, grabbing a defensive rebound as Ohio missed the front end of a one-and-one. Jackson then outlet the ball to Ramses Lonlack, allowing Memphis to head back to the line and to pad a one-point lead to the final 72-69 score.
Ellis Makes First Career Start
Sophomore center Savannah Ellis made her first career start for the Tigers against Ohio. She finished with six points, four rebounds and one blocked shot in 22 minutes of play.
Ellis now ranks 13th in Conference USA in blocked shots per game with 1.2/outing.
Fellow sophomore Alex Winchell also made her first start of the season against Ohio, but it was the point guard's 12th career start. Winchell finished with three points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 34 minutes of play.
3-0 at Home
The win over Ohio pushed Memphis to 3-2 on the season and to 3-0 in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The last time Memphis was 3-0 at home to start the season was 2004-05 when the Tigers defeated Mercer in their season opener, then downed Lipscomb. That Memphis team opened the season 4-0, all home games before falling at No. 14 Vanderbilt.
About Our Opponents:
Here is a look at how our past and upcoming opponents have fared as of late:
Northern Arizona (1-4): Snapped a four-game losing streak with a 68-51 win over Santa Clara, Monday; plays Bradley, Friday, in its own home tournament.
Belmont (2-1): Fell 49-48 at Austin Peay, Tuesday; plays Michigan at USM
Louisiana Tech (1-2): Fell at Tennessee, 94-59; hosts Nicholls State, Wednesday.
Ole Miss (5-0): Defeated Alcorn State, 63-40; hosts Nicholls, Saturday.
Ohio (2-2): Plays South Carolina at Cancun, Friday.
Wichita State (3-1): Defeated Iona, 66-64; faces Memphis, Friday.
Stephen F. Austin (3-1): Defeated fellow C-USA member Tulsa, 59-55; plays Jacksonville State, Friday.
Jacksonville State (0-4): Fell 59-56 at in-state foe Troy, plays Stephen F. Austin, Friday.
Arkansas (4-0): Defeated Northwestern, 60-44; plays Oregon State, Friday.
South Alabama (4-0): Defeated Mercer, 96-82; plays at George Washington, Friday.
Mississippi State (3-0): Defeated Mississippi Valley State, 69-46; plays at UL Lafayette, Friday.
UT Arlington (2-2): Fell at Texas Tech, 72-57; hosts Midwestern State, Wednesday.
Georgia Tech (3-1): Defeated Mississippi Valley State, 72-37; hosts Georgia State, Wednesday.
Winthrop (2-2): Fell at Clemson, 76-68; plays at Xavier, Friday.
Tennessee Tech (1-3): Fell to Drake, 69-58; plays at Florida Atlantic Tournament, Friday and Saturday.
UAB (1-2): Fell at Charlotte, 79-57; hosts Auburn, Wednesday.
UCF (1-2): Fell to Florida Atlantic, 68-63; plays Wisconsin, Friday.
Southern Miss (2-1): Fell at South Alabama, 66-64; hosts Alcorn State, Friday.
Rice (2-1): Lost to No. 9 Baylor, 83-58; plays at UALR, Saturday.
Houston (3-1): Won at Miami (Fla.), 70-64; plays at North Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 2nd.
East Carolina (3-0): Defeated Presbyterian 61-28; hosts N.C. Central, Friday.
Marshall (3-1): Lost to UL Monroe, 69-67; hosts Texas-Arlington, Tuesday, Dec. 2nd.
UTEP (2-2): Defeated Savannah State, 103-46; hosts Monmouth, Friday.
Tulane (1-3): Fell at LSU, 63-47; plays at UL Monroe, Saturday.
SMU (0-3): Fell at Eastern Illinois, 71-65, in overtime; hosts Sam Houston St., Friday.
Tulsa (2-2): Fell at Stephen F. Austin, 59-55; hosts Marist, Friday.