Women's Basketball Hosting Two-Time Defending Sun Belt Champs Friday Night

Dec. 6, 2012

Memphis (3-3) vs UALR (7-1)
Elma Roane Fieldhouse (Memphis, Tenn.)
Fri., December 7, 2012 - 7 pm (CT) 

Memphis Tiger Logo

Live Coverage UALR
Radio: WUMR 91.7 FM
Video: Memphis Tiger Network
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Military Appreciation Night: Anyone with a valid Military ID will receive FREE Admission.

Camper Reunion Night:Welcome back Melissa McFerrin Hoops School Campers!

The University of Memphis women's basketball team (3-3) will face a stiff challenge on Friday night when two-time defending Sun Belt Champs and three-time NCAA participants UALR (7-1) comes to town for a non-conference clash at 7 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

Tigers vs. UALR Trojans
This is the eighth meeting between Memphis and UALR and the Tigers lead the overall series, 7-0.

The two teams have met in each of the past two seasons. Memphis won the game in Little Rock last season, 81-66, with four Tigers scoring double-digit points, including 22 from Nicole Dickson, 17 from Jasmine Lee, 15 from Brittany Carter and 13 from Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.

For UALR, Taylor Gault finished that last meeting as the Trojans' only double-digit scorer, finishing with 22 points. She kept driving at the Tigers' defense, sending both Brittany Carter and Ramses Lonlack to the bench in the first half with foul trouble. She continues to blaze the trail this season for UALR, leading the Trojans with 18.7 ppg and shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range and 42.9 percent from the field.

Senior Janette Merriex also averages double-digits for UALR, with 10.0 ppg and a 40.5 percent clip from three-point range. Junior point guard Taylor Ford quarterbacks the offense, and leads UALR with 36 assists this season against 23 turnovers. She also chips in 7.6 ppg and averages 5.1 rebounds a game.

The Series History With UALR
1978-79 Memphis 103, UALR 45   Little Rock, Ark.
1978-79 Memphis 85, UALR 48 Memphis, Tenn.
Dec. 16, 1999     Memphis 92, UALR 53 Memphis, Tenn./Elma Roane FH
Dec. 9, 2000 Memphis 72, UALR 64 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 20, 2003 Memphis 61, UALR 48 Memphis, Tenn./The Pyramid
Dec. 11, 2010 Memphis 64, UALR 47 Memphis, Tenn./Elma Roane FH
Dec. 10, 2011 Memphis 81, UALR 66 Little Rock, Ark.

About UALR

UALR is 7-1 on the season and already has wins over four Conference USA foes this season, two of those on the road. The Trojans won at Tulsa to open the season, 73-64, then suffered their only loss of the year to Missouri State, the team that eliminated Memphis in the second round of the WNIT last year. The Trojans then ripped off six straight wins, including a 47-43 road win at SMU to start a six-game winning streak that they carry into the Bluff City Friday. A 76-48 win over Rice is included in that streak, as are two Sun Belt wins. The Trojans downed Southern Miss, 64-45, on Wednesday night.

The Tigers will have to take care of the ball against the Trojans. UALR has 60 steals in eight games and has 52 blocks through eight games (6.5 blocks/game).

The Trojans have been to three straight NCAA tournaments and have won back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championships.

On This Date: December 7 (5-6 record)
2005 -- at Memphis 73, UT Martin 50
2004 -- Arkansas 59, at Memphis 53
2002 -- Tennessee Tech 67, at Memphis 64
1999 -- No. 2 Tennessee 92, Memphis 69 (The Pyramid)
1993 -- at No. 25 Ole Miss 78, Memphis 64
1991 -- No. 6 Vanderbilt 75, at Memphis 50
1990 -- Southeast Louisiana 90, at Memphis 86
1985 -- at Memphis 77, Tennessee Tech 63
1984 -- Memphis 89, UAB 54 (Ruston, La.)
1981 -- Memphis 90, at Austin Peay 59
1979 -- Memphis 83, MUW 70

Dickson 17th in Career Scoring and Rebounding

With her 30-point effort at East Tennessee State, senior forward Nicole Dickson leapfrogged up to 17th on the all-time scoring ledger at Memphis, passing former teammate Ramses Lonlack (1,166 pts) and Lynn Enzweiler (1,185 pts). Dickson now has 1,204 career points and needs 95 more points to tie Victoria Crawford's (2002-05) mark of 1,299 points, which is 16th all-time.

Dickson also passed former teammate Jasmine Lee's rebounding mark of 597 to move to 17th all-time in rebounding with 603 career boards. She needs just eight more rebounds to tie Wanda Dillard's (1984-88) mark of 611. Dillard was the most recently inductee from women's basketball into the M Club Hall of Fame.

Looking to Snap a Streak
While UALR is looking to snap a seven game losing streak to Memphis in the overall series, the Tigers are looking to snap a streak of their own, a two-game losing streak. Memphis has not lost three games in a row since the 2010-11 season when Memphis suffered losses to Rice, USM and Tulane when Brittany Carter went down with an injury. That Tiger squad had started the season with an 18-6 mark and then went 3-7 in their last 10 games to finish with a 21-13 record.

Hearn Taking Over the Point
With the Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir suffering a hand injury in the win at UT Arlington, the weight of running the Tigers' offense has fallen to freshman point guard Ariel Hearn. Hearn had been starting as one of team's other guards prior to Abdul-Qaadir's injury, and was also spelling the red shirt junior at the point. But Hearn is now quarterbacking the Memphis offense with Abdul-Qaadir forced to try to help from the Tigers' sidelines. Hearn, a graduate of Arlington High School, has 30 assists on the season against 24 turnovers and is trying to balance ball distribution with her own ability to score. She average 11.3 points per game and is one of the better rebounding guards on the team with 5.2 rebounds a game. She is also one of the team's better free-throw shooters, shooting 78.6 percent, which is good for her ability to get to the rim. She and teammate Nicole Dickson are tied for the team lead in free-throw attempts with 28 through the first six games of the year.

Dickson Goes for 30, Again, On the Road
For the third time in the last four games, senior forward Nicole Dickson had a number greater than 29 in her total points column at the end of a game. At East Tennessee State, in front of a sizeable home crowd that came to watch the Greeneville, Tenn., native, Dickson finished with 30 points, six rebounds and four steals in 38 minutes. That marked the third time in four games that Dickson has gone for at least 30 points (a career-high 36 at Illinois State in a win, 30 at UT Arlington in a win, and 30 at East Tennessee State in a loss). She becomes the first Tiger since Brittany Carter to score 30 or more points in three games in a season (Carter did it as a sophomore in 2009-10). She also becomes just the second Tiger in school history to tally 30 or more points in three of four games. Tamika Whitmore accomplished the same feat two times, once as a junior in 1997-98 and once as a senior in 1998-99.

Dickson's scoring average is a little higher on the road (26.8 ppg) than at home (16.5 ppg), although Memphis has only played two home games this season. Memphis has played four of the last five games on the road, and fell to 2-2 on the season on the road with the Friday night loss at East Tennessee State.

Hope Joins the Double-Double Club
Junior center Pa'Sonna Hope became the second Tiger to post a double-double this season, finishing with a career-best 13 points and 12 rebounds in the loss at ETSU (11/30). She joins Dickson in the double-double club. Dickson posted 30 points and 13 rebounds in the win at UT Arlington (11/21).

Keep It Down
Memphis held its season-opening opponent, Grambling State, to just 42 points, but the opponent's scores have gone up since then. The Tigers are 4-1 when holding the opposition to under 76 points, but are 1-2 when the other team scores 80 or more points.

National Rankings
Senior forward Nicole Dickson enters Friday's game as the seventh-leading scorer in the country with 23.3 points per game. She is tied atop Conference USA players in scoring with Tulsa's Taleya Mayberry in scoring. Freshman point guard Ariel Hearn is ranked No. 57 in the country in assists per game with 5.0 and ranks No. 185 in the country with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.25.

As a team, Memphis ranks 27th in the country in points per game (76.0) and 24th in field goal percentage (45.5). Memphis also ranks in the top 100 in rebound margin (74th with +5.5), assists per game (97th with 14.2), blocks per game (90th with 4.0), and steals per game (69th with 11.0).

With the Loss at East Tennessee State
- The Tigers suffer back-to-back losses for the first time this season. Memphis suffered back-to-back losses just once last season and hasn't lost three straight games since the 2010-11 season.
- Nicole Dickson posted a third game with 30 or more points in four tries. She scored 36 pts in the win at Illinois State, 30 in the win at UT Arlington and 30 in the loss at East Tennessee State.

Focus on Stronger Starts
To say the starting line-up got off to a rough start in the first half of the Prairie View A&M game might be an understatement. The five starters (Ajanaku, Hearn, Jackson, Jones and Dickson) were a combined 1-for-19 in the entire first half of the game. Dickson will held to just one first half point on 0-for-6 shooting, while Ann Jones was 1-for-7.

The game at East Tennessee had a better start for about five minutes, with the Tigers leading 9-2, but then they embarked on a 9 minute and 39 second spell where the Tigers could not score a point. and fell behind 27-9 before Nicole Dickson snapped the scoreless spell with two of her 30-points.

Tigers' Stats Offensive
Two Tigers are leading Conference USA in offensive stat categories early in the 2012-13 season. Senior forward Nicole Dickson leads the league in scoring (22.3 ppg) and three-point field goals made (2.8), while freshman Ariel Hearn leads the league with 5.0 assists a night. Dickson also ranks 7th in rebounding (7.4) and field goal percentage (49.4), 4th in three-point shooting (42.4 percent) and is tied for fifth in blocks (1.2). Hearn also ranks 14th in the league in scoring (12.1 ppg) and 10th in free-throw percentage (77.8).

As a team, Memphis ranks first in Conference USA with 76.6 ppg and ranks 26th in the NCAA in scoring offense. But that number came with Mooriah Rowser and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir in the line-up for the first three games of the season. The 58 points the Tigers scored against Prairie View A&M was the lowest offensive output of the season for Memphis, as was the 30.2 percent shooting clip from the field.

Opponent Check-Up
Grambling State (1-6): Picked up first win of the season with a 64-63 victory over Stephen F. Austin in their home opener; plays at Florida State, Saturday, Dec. 15th.
Middle Tennessee (5-3, 1-0 Sun Belt): Bounced back from a road loss at South Dakota State with a 70-56 win over Austin Peay; hosts Xavier, Thursday.
Illinois State (4-3): Lost to Michigan, 56-45; hosts another Big 10 team, Northwestern, Friday.
Texas-Arlington (1-7): Lost to UT-Pan American, 59-57; breaks for exams before playing at North Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 18th.
Prairie View A&M (2-4): Picked up a second straight road win, 63-31, at Northwestern State; plays at Kansas, Dec. 16th.
East Tennessee State (2-2): Picked up a second straight win, 57-53, at Morehead State; plays at LSU, Thursday, Dec. 13th.
UALR (7-1): Downed Southern Miss, 64-45; plays at Memphis, Friday.
Illinois (4-4): Fell at Texas Tech, 75-56, for a second straight loss; plays at Memphis, Sunday.
Alabama A&M (1-3): Lost at Kansas, 76-59; plays at Memphis on Dec. 14th.
Saint Louis (4-4): Evened their record at 4-4 with a 58-49 win over Illinois-Chicago; plays at UT Martin, Thursday.
Seton Hall (3-5): Lost to No. 24 South Carolina, 55-42; plays at Wake Forest, Saturday.
Missouri (6-2): Defeated UT Martin, 82-71; hosts Missouri State, Thursday.
Tennessee Tech (3-4): Lost at Vanderbilt in first road game, 77-50; hosts Samford, Thursday.
Wright State (2-4): Lost at Miami (Ohio), 72-54; plays at Akron, Saturday.
Houston (4-5): Fell just short of upending TCU, 60-5; hosts Creighton, Saturday.
Southern Miss (4-3): Had four-game winning streak snapped with a 64-45 loss at UALR; plays at UL Monroe, Saturday.
East Carolina (7-2): Defeated North Carolina Central, 65-28; plays at VCU, Dec. 16th.
Tulane (6-1): Bounced back from first loss of season with a 73-58 win over UNC Wilmington; plays at LSU, Sunday.
UAB (7-2): Lost at George Mason, 58-55; hosts Morehead State, Dec. 18th.
UCF (3-6): Defeated Bethune-Cookman, 64-43; plays at FIU, Dec. 13th.
Rice (3-4): Defeated McNeese State, 60-51; hosts Chicago State, Dec. 13th.
Marshall (4-4): Lost to in-state foe West Virginia, 64-48; plays at Southern Illinois, Saturday.
SMU (6-2): Downed UT-Pan American, 71-35; hosts UL Monroe, Dec. 17th.
UTEP (7-1): Downed New Mexico State, 66-44; hosts Eastern New Mexico, Saturday.
Tulsa (2-5): Picked up second straight win, 49-48, at Nebraska-Omaha; hosts Colorado State, Saturday.



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