Tigers Welcome Illini Sunday Afternoon

Dec. 8, 2012

Memphis (3-4) vs Illinois (4-4)
Elma Roane Fieldhouse (Memphis, Tenn.)
Sun., December 9, 2012 - 2 pm (CT) 

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Live Coverage Illinois
Radio: WUMR 91.7 FM
Video: Memphis Tiger Network
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The Last Meeting
November 15, 2011
Champaign, Ill.
Women's Basketball Comes up Short at Illinois, 62-54
Memphis (2-1) was up 49-47 with 6:33 to play before Tiger fouls turned in to Illinois (2-1) free throws and second chances, sparking a 15-5 Illinois run in a 62-54 Tiger loss Tuesday night.

The University of Memphis women's basketball team (3-4) will host Big 10 foe Illinois (4-4), Sunday, at 2 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. That game will be a Pouncer's Pals game, where all Pouncer's Pals (and one accompanying adult per Pouncer's Pal) will receive FREE admission. The Sunday game is also the annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Bring a teddy bear to toss onto the floor at halftime to try to win a prize. The collected bears will then be donated to kids at LeBonheur Children's Hospital before the team leaves for a pair of road games next week.

Tigers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
This is the fourth meeting between Memphis and Illinois and the Fighting Illini lead the overall series 2-1. Illinois won the meeting in Champaign last year, 62-54 to take the series lead. The Illini did make a coaching change from last season. Matt Bolant took over the Illinois program after spending the previous five seasons at Green Bay, where he guided the Phoenix to five straight Horizon League titles, four straight NCAA tournaments and a 148-19 record.

About Illinois
The Illini are just getting into their road act this season. After playing five home games and a pair of contests in the Bahamas in the Junkanoo Jam to start the season, Illinois is facing Texas Tech and Memphis on the road to start their 2012-13 road campaign. Off to a 4-4 record, the Illini have been led by senior forward Karisma Penn, who is averaging almost a double-double with 19.0 points and 9.6 rebounds a night. Penn is also active on the defensive end, with 19 blocks through seven games to start the season. Sophomore guard Ivory Crawford is also scoring double-digits, averaging 16.1 ppg. Percentage-wise, Crawford is Illinois’ most effective three-point shooter, hitting 36.4 percent, while teammate Amber Moore leads the team with 23 triples made through the first seven games of the season.

Memphis will be the second Conference USA school that Illinois is facing. The Illini defeated Tulsa in the opening round of the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas, 82-75, before losing to now nationally-ranked Iowa State in the championship game, 68-50. They bounced back from that loss with a 95-82 win over Wake Forest, now coached by former Tiger assistant coach Jennifer Hoover, then suffered a setback to Colorado, 69-62.

The Series With Illinois
Dec. 30, 1982 Memphis 102, Illinois 62 Memphis, Tenn.
Dec. 3, 1983 Illinois 65, Memphis 58 Champaign, Ill.
Nov. 15, 2011 Illinois 62, Memphis 54 Champaign, Ill.

Welcoming a Big 10 Team to Elma’s House

Memphis is 7-8 against teams from the Big 10 (as it is this year) and the last Memphis win over a Big 10 program was an 80-71 win at Indiana in the 2010-11 season. While the Tigers have hosted Big 10 programs in Memphis, this is the first time since the 2002-03 season that Memphis has hosted a Big 10 team in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. That last meeting was on Nov. 30th, 2002, when Memphis defeated Michigan State in the championship game of the Tigers’ Thanksgiving Classic, 59-56.

Tigers are Young in Age and Experience in McFerrin’s System
With five freshmen and eight newcomers on the roster, the Tigers’ coaching staff had its hands full to start the season. But with the loss of starting point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, the starting lineup got even younger. Memphis was already starting two freshmen (Ariel Hearn and Mooriah Rowser), when Rowser got hurt. She was replaced in the starting line-up by sophomore Lauren McGraw in the next game at UT Arlington, but then Abdul-Qaadir got hurt, and Melissa McFerrin had to look to freshman Jaymie Jackson to fill that gap. The Tigers’ starting line-up on Friday night against UALR, a three-time NCAA team and a two-time defending champion in the Sun Belt Conference featured just one player who had played more than one season in McFerrin’s system at Memphis -- Nicole Dickson. Junior Pa’Sonna Hope played at Ole Miss last season and wasn’t cleared to play this season by the NCAA until Memphis Madness. Senior guard Jamila Ajanaku wasn’t cleared by the NCAA to play this season until the day before the UT Arlington game, missing all three of the Preseason WNIT games. Those two transfers started with Dickson and freshmen Hearn and Jackson. Between all five of them, they had a combined 130 games worth of experience in McFerrin’s system -- with 105 of those belonging to Nicole Dickson.

With the Loss to UALR
- The Tigers suffer back-to-back-to-back losses for the first time this season. Memphis has not lost three in a row since the 2010-2011 season
- Nicole Dickson moved to 16th on the career rebounding chart, surpassing Wanda Dillard’s mark of 611 and moving to 16th all-time with 613 rebounds in her fourth season.
- Pa’Sonna Hope set a career high in points one game after breaking the mark. She finished with 14 points and three blocks against UALR.
- Freshman Jaymie Jackson tied a career-high with 25 minutes played. The loss of both Rowser and Abdul-Qaadir has meant that Jackson has been taking on a bulk of the minutes in one of those guard spots. She finished with two steals Friday night, her first multiple steal game since the season-opening win over Grambling State.
- Memphis suffers its first-ever loss to UALR, dropping to 8-1 in the series history.
- The Tigers suffered back-to-back home losses for the first time since the 2009-10 squad lost home games against Indiana and Murray State to open the season. The Indiana game was played at FedExForum downtown. So the last time Memphis has lost back-to-back home games in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse was 2008-09 when the Tigers dropped back-to-back games to UTEP and Tulane.

On This Date

Memphis is 8-2 in games played on December 9th. The last time the Tigers played on Dec. 9th was in a road win at South Alabama under then second-year head coach Melissa McFerrin.

December 9 (8-2 record)
12/9/09 -- Memphis 55, at South Alabama 50
12/9/06 -- Creighton 89, Memphis 79
12/9/01 -- Memphis 67, UMass 56 (Pyramid)
12/9/00 -- Memphis 72, at UALR 64
12/9/98 -- Memphis 82, Mississippi State 73
12/9/94 -- Memphis 84, Syracuse 70
12/9/87 --  Memphis 81, Arkansas State 65
12/9/86 -- at No. 12 Ole Miss 69, Memphis 65
12/9/82 -- Memphis 73, Jackson State 69
12/9/80 -- Memphis 98, Louisville 87

Dickson Finding Tough Sledding in December

Senior forward Nicole Dickson drew all sorts of attention in Friday night’s game against UALR. The senior spent a lot of time on the floor, literally, as team’s are getting more physical with her in the absence of starting guards Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Mooriah Rowser. Until a couple of Dickson’s teammates get in the groove on the offensive end, the senior will continue to draw attention. She may be finding some help with the emergence of junior center Pa’Sonna Hope in the last two games. Hope, who made her first career start in Friday night’s game, followed her first career double-double up with a career-best 14 points, adding eight rebounds and a game-high three blocks, against UALR. The Tigers’ starting guards on Friday night were 3-for-18 from the floor and Dickson was forced to take a lot of contested shots as Memphis tried to trim a six-point deficit in the waning minutes of the game.

Theme for December -- Opponents With New Coaches
December is a month for the Tigers to face programs with new head coaches, starting with Sunday’s match-up against Illinois. Memphis will also face a program with a new head coach when they play at Saint Louis on Dec. 19th. Former Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone has taken over the Billiken program. The Tigers’ final opponent of the month, Tennessee Tech, also has a new head coach. Jim Davis has taken over the Golden Eagles program. Davis spent 18 years as the head coach at Clemson University, advancing his team to the Sweet 16 four times.

Looking to Snap a Streak
Memphis is looking to snap a couple of streaks on Sunday. The Tigers have lost two in a row to Illinois and have lost three straight games coming into Sunday’s non-conference match-up. 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. Memphis has not lost four games in a row since Melissa McFerrin’s first season (2008-09).

Double-Double Dickson Returning?
Nicole Dickson had to work hard for it, but she posted her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss on Friday night. That is her 12th career double-double and the third the Tigers have posted this season.

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.

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 (6-3, 1-0 Sun Belt): Downed Xavier, 63-48; plays at No. 7/6 Kentucky Sunday.
Illinois State (5-3): Picked up a win over Big 10 member Northwestern, 64-46; hosts Ball State, Dec. 16th.
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 (8-1): Downed the Tigers, 56-44; hosts Tulsa, Dec. 18th.
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 (4-5): Lost at UT Martin, 78-62; plays at Evansville, Sunday.
Seton Hall (3-5): Lost to No. 24 South Carolina, 55-42; plays at Wake Forest, Saturday.
Missouri (7-2): Blew past Missouri State, 91-77; hosts Arkansas-Pine bluff, Saturday.
Tennessee Tech (4-4): Evened their record with a 65-56 win over Samford; opens a six-game road slate at the St. John's tournament, Dec. 15th against host St. John's.
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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