Lady Tigers Win at Missouri - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Lady Tigers Win at Missouri

Memphis Gets McFerrin a Win at Missouri, 75-74

COLUMBIA, Mo. - After trailing 41-24 at the half, Memphis (1-2) outscored Missouri 51-33 in the second half to give Melissa McFerrin a 75-74 win in her first-ever return to the visiting team bench at her alma mater Wednesday night.

"It is special for me because I am in a locker room where this means a lot for this team," McFerrin said. "I'll give our kids credit, it wasn't easy to stay in the game mentally."

Memphis, which had gotten off to slow defensive starts in the first two games, came out with better effort defensively, but turnovers and rebounds quickly swung Missouri's way, as Memphis had eight turnovers and was being out-rebounded 10-5 at the under 12 minute media timeout to trail 19-6.

The Tigers cut the deficit to 10 down at 26-16 by forcing Missouri turnovers and giving some-one-and-done looks before the under eight minute media timeout at 7:58. But Missouri head coach Cindy Stein called a timeout to adjust to the Tiger defense before the halftime break, and her team responded with a 15-4 run that just about doubled up the Memphis team, 38-20. Missouri kept attacking the paint and the glass, out-rebounding Memphis 30-20, including 13 offensive rebounds, while shooting 43.6 percent from the field to build a 41-24 halftime lead. Carter, Bullard and Kelsey were a combined 11-for-22 from the field in the opening half, while the remainder of the team with 0-for-9.

Memphis opened the second half on a 10-4 run with a pair of three-point field goals from Winchell and an opening bucket. The run forced a Mizzou timeout with Missouri up 45-34.

"I thought Alex Winchell hit two huge shots at the beginning of the second half and Brittany Carter just hit shot-after-shot," McFerrin said. "She has some moxie and some confidence about her."

Brittany Carter followed Winchell's threes with a steal and layup and a jumper from the wing to cut the deficit to single digits at 47-38 at the under 16 minute media timeout. The Tigers kept on the defensive pressure, using a 21-6 run to cut the score to 47-45 with 11:59 to play, but McFerrin had to give Carter and Kelsey a breather, and without the duo in there, Missouri gave themselves some breathing room with an old-fashioned three point from Shakara Jones to pull back ahead by five 50-45. Once Memphis got back in its offensive flow, they again pulled out of the hole, tying the game at 60-60 with 5:13 to play when Bullard hit the second of two free-throws. Missouri answered quickly back to re-take the lead, and Memphis didn't lead again until Bullard again hit a layup in the lane to push Memphis back in front 73-72 with 38 seconds to play.

But Mizzou quickly went back inside to Jones, who scored eight of Mizzou's 11 points in the mid-second half to retake the lead off a pair of made free-throws, 74-73.

Memphis came down and called a timeout, and set up a play for Carter. The sophomore guard drained a 12 foot jumper from the top of the key to push the Tigers back in front 75-74 with 13 seconds remaining.

Mizzou called another timeout to set up their final possession, but a RaeShara Brown layup hit the bottom side of the backboard and the long rebound was corralled by Carter to seal the 75-74 Memphis victory.

"It wasn't pretty," McFerrin said. "We didn't play lock down defense like I had hoped we would, but when we had to play defense for 12.1 and 3.1 seconds left, we did it and got a win."

Carter finished with 30 points, the first Tiger since Tamika Butler in 2005 to score 30 in a game. She added nine rebounds in 33 minutes of play, while Bullard finished with 15 points and a team-high four assists in the win.

"What you are seeing is LaToya Bullard starting to get comfortable in our system," McFerrin said. "She hit some huge shots there at the end and when I pulled her to the sideline during a timeout, she executed the play perfectly."

Savannah Ellis finished with nine rebounds while battling foul trouble.

Memphis will return home for its final home game of the month of November, Sunday, to host UT-Martin at 2 p.m. at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

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