Women's Basketball Travels to Seton Hall for Final Non-Conference Road Game

Dec. 20, 2012


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Memphis (5-5) at Seton Hall (4-7)
Walsh Gymnasium (South Orange, N.J.)
Sat., December 22, 2012 - 2 pm (ET) 

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The Last Meeting
Seton Hall73
December 30, 2011
Elma Roane Fieldhouse
Dickson's 24 Points Leads Memphis Past Seton Hall, 82-73
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Nicole Dickson poured in 24 points, including 16 in the second half, to lead Memphis (10-3)past Seton Hall (7-8), 82-73. Jasmine Lee posted a double-double of 16 points and 12 boards and senior All-America Candidate Brittany Carter added 19 points, five rebounds and game-high seven assists.

The University of Memphis women's basketball team (5-5) will be looking for its fourth non-conference road win when it ventures northeast to Seton Hall (4-7) for a 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday afternoon contest.

Tigers vs. Seton Hall
This is just the second meeting between Memphis and Seton Hall. The Tigers won the first meeting against the Pirates last season, 82-73, in Memphis in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

About Seton Hall
Seton Hall is led by Anne Donovan, a name women’s basketball fans are well-familiar with. Donovan played basketball at Old Dominion and is the NCAA’s all-time shot blocker. She was a three-time Kodak All-American at Old Dominion and won the Naismith Trophy in 1983. She went on to be an Olympic gold medalist both as a participant and as a coach. She coached the 2008 women’s team to Olympic gold and has coached at multiple stops in the WNBA. She coached in college at East Carolina from 1995-1998 (before the Pirates were a part of Conference USA), then coached in the ABL for Philadelphia. After the ABL folded, she coached for Indiana, Charlotte and Seattle in the WNBA from 2000-2007 before coaching the 2008 Olympic team. She coached with the New York Liberty in the WNBA from 2009-10 and returned to the college game at Seton Hall when she took over the Pirates program in 2010.

Similar to the Tigers, the Pirates have a young roster they are bringing into the Saturday afternoon match-up. One of three seniors on the team, guard Brittany Morris leads the team with 12.0 ppg and leads the Pirates with 18 three-point field goals made, while redshirt sophomore Ka-Deidre Simmons chips in 9.7 points per night and leads the team with 42 free-throw attempts on the season. Senior forward Alexandra Maseko is the only other Pirate to have started all 11 games this season, as Donovan and her staff are trying to blend four freshmen and junior college transfer Janee Johnson into the lineup. Of the freshmen, Tabatha Richardson-Smith leads the scoring with 7.1 ppg, adding 3.3 rebounds a night. Seton Hall is 4-2 at home this season and is coming off an 82-35 win over the University of New Orleans that improved the Pirates to 4-7 on the season. That win snapped a three-game losing streak that started against South Carolina (55-42) and Wake Forest (64-63). The Pirates have also faced Temple and Michigan, both on the road, in their pre-conference slate.

December 22nd -- Historically
Memphis is 4-2 in games played on December 22nd, including last year’s 58-48 loss at Missouri.

12/22/11  at Missouri 58, Memphis 48
12/22/10  Memphis 71, Florida International 65
12/22/09  Memphis 68, UT Martin 51
12/22/86  Memphis 79, Arkansas 60
12/22/85  at Arkansas 76, Memphis 64

Bench Steps Up at Saint Louis

The Tigers’ bench was a big part of Memphis’ 65-58 win at Saint Louis on Wednesday. The Memphis bench outscored Saint Louis, 21-6. Junior post KK Harvey was a big part of stepping in during the first half to bang under the glass against senior Mallory Eggert, while Lauren McGraw drilled her first three-point field goals of the season to finish with a career-high 11 points. Sophomore post Ann Jones waited until the second half to have her go at the SLU paint. With Eggert on the bench, Jones scored eight of Memphis’ 14 points in a run that pushed Memphis up by as many as nine early in the second half.

Mack Also Adding Career Bests
Junior college transfer Devin Mack has worked her way into the Tigers’ starting line-up in each of the past two games. She played a season-high 24 minutes in the win at Saint Louis, and crashed the boards for a career-high six rebounds, including four offensive ones. She moved into the starting lineup after hitting her first two three-point field goals of the season in the loss to Illinois, where she finished with a career-best eight points. In the last three games, she is averaging 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds a night.

Double-Digit Dickson
Nicole Dickson has scored double-digit points in all 10 games for Memphis this season. Her double-digit scoring streak is now 11, dating back to the second round loss in the WNIT last year at Missouri State, where she scored 29 points. Dickson scored 20 or more points in four of the first six games for Memphis this year, but with the injuries to point guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir and Mooriah Rowser, the other two of the team’s top three leading-scorers, Dickson has drawn a lot of defensive attention. The emergence of freshman point guard Ariel Hearn and now points off the bench against Saint Louis helped open up some opportunities for the senior, and she finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and four steals on Wednesday afternoon. She is now shooting 42.1 percent from the field for the Tigers.

That’s Foul
Out of 343 ranked NCAA Division I teams in the country, Memphis ranks No. 332 in personal fouls per game with 20.8 whistles a night. Getting to the free throw line is a part of the Tigers’ plans, but so far this year, the Tigers are giving up almost four more attempts at the line to the opponents (22.6 tries for Memphis, 18.8 for the opponents). In order to get the points back on the right side of the scoreboard, Memphis will need to stop sending shooters to the line with the clock stopped.

Changing on the Fly
The Tigers’ coaching staff knew with eight newcomers on the roster, that finding this team’s identity would be a work in progress. But just as the pieces started falling in place, Mooriah Rowser, then Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir were lost to injury. Rowser had season-ending knee surgery, while Abdul-Qaadir is waiting for her hand to be healed to return to the lineup. The loss of the team’s starting one and two guards meant the Tigers embarked on a four-game skid while trying to retool the offense. The Tigers’ coaching staff had to try to find ways to get Nicole Dickson some space to operate in and had to ask freshman guard Ariel Hearn to move over from her starting two guard spot to the point. In the latest Conference USA statistics, Hearn is the only freshman listed in the top 15 in the conference in assists per game. She ranks fourth in the league with 4.3 assists a night, behind junior Southern Miss guard Jamierra Faulkner, senior East Carolina guard Celeste Stewart and Tulane sophomore guard Jamie Kaplan. She is also the only freshman listed in the top 10 in assist/turnover ratio (8th with a 1.1 ratio). Hearn also is one step removed from ranking in the top 10 in Conference USA in scoring (11th with 13.3 ppg) and is in the top 10 in minutes played with 32.4 minutes a night. She also ranks third in the league in free-throw percentage (81.5) and 15th in defensive rebounds (4.1/night).

Another Tiger Passes 100th Point
With a young team, the benchmark points are starting over, but another Tiger passed the 100 career point mark one game after freshman point guard Ariel Hearn posted her 100th point. Sophomore guard Lauren McGraw passed the 100 point mark with her 11-point night at Saint Louis in the win. Ole Miss transfer Pa’Sonna Hope could be the next Tiger to 100, she has 76 points in her first 10 games in the blue and gray.

Tigers on the Block
Memphis had three different players post a blocked shot in the win at Saint Louis on Wednesday, including a career-high pair of blocks from Jamila Ajanaku. Memphis finished with six blocks on the night. The Tigers have active hands in the paint and defending in transition. They rank 81st in the country in blocked shots with 4.2 a night. Pa’Sonna Hope leads the Tigers with 15 blocks, while Nicole Dickson used a three-block performance at Saint Louis to improve to 12 blocks on the season. The double-digit blocks this early in the season is a new wrinkle to Dickson’s game. She had six blocks as a freshman, 12 as a sophomore and just 15 last season. She is just three behind her season career best just 10 games into her final year at Memphis. Of the 11 Tigers who will suit up on Saturday, eight of them have a block already this year.

Tigers are Young in Age and Experience in McFerrin’s System
The Tigers’ starting line-up on Wednesday 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. Junior college transfer Devin Mack is in her first season at Memphis after playing at Kishwaukee Junior College the past two seasons and the other two starters were freshmen Ariel Hearn and Jaymie Jackson. The Tigers’ bench isn’t much older. Senior guard Jamila Ajanaku transferred to Memphis from Middle Tennessee this summer, but wasn’t cleared by the NCAA to play until the day before the UT Arlington game, missing all three of the Preseason WNIT games. Junior Krishunda Harvey is a third year player for Memphis, but spent most of her freshman season recovering from a knee injury she suffered as a high school senior, then played behind Conference USA Player of the Year Jasmine Lee last season. Sophomore Lauren McGraw also played behind a couple of solid upperclassmen -- three-time all-conference honoree Brittany Carter and C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Ramses Lonlack as a freshman last year. Ann Jones looked like she was going to emerge as Lee’s back-up last year as a freshman, but she suffered a knee injury just minutes into the Tigers’ C-USA opener, and missed most of the conference slate. The entire starting line-up for McFerrin on Wednesday night had a combined 80 collegiate starts at Memphis -- with 58 of those belonging to Nicole Dickson.

With the Win Over Saint Louis
- The Tigers are assured to finish non-conference play with at least a .500 record on the road. The win at Saint Louis, paired with wins at Illinois State and UT Arlington, improved the Tigers’ record to 3-2 in road games. Memphis’ road losses -- at Middle Tennessee and at East Tennessee State. The Tigers have three non-conference games remaining after the Seton Hall game: Missouri, Tennessee Tech and Wright State.

- Memphis had two freshmen in the starting lineup for the ninth time in 10 games. The only game that Memphis did not start two freshmen was the win at UT Arlington. Freshman Ariel Hearn has started all 10 games this season, while Jaymie Jackson has six starts and Mooriah Rowser had three starts before her season-ending knee injury.

- Junior guard Devin Mack posted a career-best six rebounds, including four offensive and extended her scoring streak to five straight games.

- Lauren McGraw hit her first three-point field goal of the season. McGraw was 0-for-6 on the season, but was 2-for-3 from three in the Saint Louis win.

- Memphis out-scored the opposition in fast break points for just the fourth time in 10 games. After giving up more points in transition than it scored in the six of the first seven games, the Tigers have started to find their stride on the run, out-scoring the last three opponents in transition 24-6.

Opponent Check-Up

Grambling State (1-8): Lost at LSU, 90-59; hosts Tulsa, Saturday.

Middle Tennessee (6-4, 1-0 Sun Belt): Lost at No. 7 Kentucky, 68-46; hosts FIU, Thursday.

Illinois State (6-4): Lost to Princeton, 67-50; plays at Illinois, Friday.  

Texas-Arlington (2-7):  Won at North Texas, 59-50; hosts No. 14/15 Oklahoma State, Saturday.

Prairie View A&M (2-5): Lost at No. 21 Kansas, 72-60; plays Hampton at the Toledo tournament, Thursday.

East Tennessee State (2-2): Picked up a second straight win, 57-53, at Morehead State; plays at LSU, Thursday.

UALR (9-1, 2-0 Sun Belt): Went 6-0 against Conference USA schools with a 78-51 win over Tulsa; steps back into league play with a Saturday game at South Alabama.

Illinois (6-4): Defeated Oregon, 80-62; hosts Illinois State, Friday.

Alabama A&M (1-6): Lost to No. 5 Notre Dame, 100-39; plays host UNLV, Thursday.

Saint Louis (5-6): Lost to the visiting Tigers, 65-58; plays at Drake, Friday.

Seton Hall (4-7): Defeated the University of New Orleans, hosts Memphis, Saturday.

Missouri (9-2): Won fifth straight game, with a 110-47 win over Southern Illinois; hosts Morgan State, Tuesday.

Tennessee Tech (5-6): Went 0-2 in the St. John’s Tournament, falling to host St. John’s and to St. Mary’s; plays at Marshall, Saturday.

Wright State (5-5): Lost to Western Kentucky, 84-67; plays St. Francis, Friday.

Houston (4-6): Lost to Creighton, 75-54; hosts Texas State, Saturday.

Southern Miss (5-5): Dropped second straight road game, 73-55, at UL Monroe; hosts Loyola (La.) College, Saturday.

East Carolina (8-3): Hung with No. 17 North Carolina, but fell short, 76-67; hosts Elon, Saturday..

Tulane (7-2): Lost in overtime to UL-Lafayette, 65-64; hosts North Texas, Saturday..

UAB (7-3): Lost to Morehead State, 57-50; hosts UT Martin, Saturday.

UCF (4-8): Came back to edge South Alabama, 55-54; plays at Florida Gulf Coast, Saturday.

Rice (5-4): Defeated Chicago State; hosts UT San Antonio, Thursday.

Marshall (5-5): Downed Furman, 52-46; hosts Tennessee Tech, Saturday.

SMU (8-2): Defeated UL Monroe, 76-56; hosts Wright State, Saturday.

UTEP (9-1): Handed Kansas State their first loss of the season, holding on for a 52-50 win on the road; hosts New Mexico, Thursday.

Tulsa (3-7): Lost at UALR, 78-51; plays at Grambling State, Saturday.



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