December 30, 2008

Memphis pulls out last-second victory over Golden Eagles, 63-61

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Memphis Tigers led only once all night, but it came at the final buzzer to claim a 63-61 non-conference victory over Tennessee Tech Tuesday night in women's basketball action in Eblen Center. Junior Tehani Goldsmith took advantage of a late whistle after missing her shot with 2.9 seconds to play in a tie game. She stepped to the line and made both free throws to put the Tigers ahead by two.

Blair Bowens launched a 3-pointer from near midcourt at the buzzer than narrowly missed. Tech's record slipped to 3-9 overall, while Memphis improved to 7-6.

Bowens led all scorers with 17 points, while Meagan Lyons finished with 13. Jasmine White had right points, six rebounds and a career-high six steals.

Four players reached double digits for Memphis, led by Alex Winchell with 16 including 5-for-6 shooting from outside the arc. Paris Leonard had 14, Goldsmith finished with 12 and Ashley Thornton added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Bowens popped a 3-pointer to break a 4-4 tie at the 16:43 mark and Tech led the rest of the half. Tech's lead grew to nine points, 28-19, on another Bowens 3-pointer with 4:16 to play, before the Golden Eagles took a seven-point advantage into halftime, 36-29.

Bowens hit a 3-pointer to open the second half, building Tech's lead to 10 points, 39-29, but the Golden Eagles got a little sloppy after that. After having only six turnovers in the first half, Tech lost the ball on turnovers on four consecutive possessions and Memphis took advantage to pull within two, 39-37.

Once again, Bowens came through with a 3-pointer to stop the Tigers' 8-0 run and provide some cushion for the home team.

A layup by White with 2:51 remaining made it a 61-53 Tech lead, but Winchell canned a 3-pointer to make it 61-56. With 1:55 to go, Leonard hit a jumper to pull Memphis within three, 61-58, and Winchell tied the game with 55 seconds left with another 3-pointer.

Memphis had the ball with 20 seconds to play, and called timeout with 13.6 remaining. Goldsmith missed a layup with 2.9 seconds left, but a late foul call put her at the free throw line and she made both.

The Lady Tigers controlled the boards with a 42-26 advantage in rebounds, helping to overcome 28 turnovers. After shooting 37 percent in the first half, Tech cooled off to 34 percent in the second half, finishing the game with 41.3 percent accuracy.

Memphis shot 38 percent in the first half and improved to 53.8 percent in the second for a game mark of 46.2 percent. The Tigers finished 7-for-13 from long range for 53.8 percent.

Tech now turns its full attention to the Ohio Valley Conference with all 17 games remaining on the schedule in league play. Tech is 1-0 in the OVC, and will host Southeast Missouri Saturday night and Eastern Illinois Monday.

Both games are the first contest in doubleheaders with the men's team. The women's games tip off at 5:30 p.m. each night. Tickets for the games are available at the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center, which will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, and reopen Friday.

Golden Nuggets: The game was the final contest in the 2008 portion of the schedule for Tech...Tech now owns a 15-6 lead in the all-time series with Memphis...with one steal, Lyons passed Janet Holt and moved into eighth place for career steals...seniors Meagan Lyons and Blair Bowens are inching their way closer to membership in the 1,000-Point Club...Lyons now has 958 points, while Bowens has lifted her career