Minutewomen Come Back To Edge Memphis, 51-46
Jan. 4, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts women's basketball team survived a 10:04 scoring drought in the first half as it came back to defeat the University of Memphis this afternoon in a non-conference game at the Mullins Center. Massachusetts, which trailed 14-0 midway through the first half, is now 9-3 on the season heading into Atlantic 10 Conference play, while Memphis falls to 6-5.
Massachusetts senior center Jennifer Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made four consecutive baskets for the Minutewomen to start the second half. Her fourth basket at the 14:58 mark sparked a 7-0 spurt by the Minutewomen which gave them the lead for the first time in the game. Sophomore guard Katie Nelson (Ellicott City, Md.) drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 30 and junior Judit Zsedenyi (Budapest, Hungary) hit a baseline jumper on the next possession to give UMass a 32-30 advantage and force Memphis to spend a timeout.
The rest of the second half was nick and tuck as there were three ties and five lead changes. After the Lady Tigers' Tamika Butler finished on a back-door screen at the 2:12 mark, UMass junior Cleo Foster (Toronto, Ontario) hit a jumper on the ensuing Minutewomen possession giving them the lead for good. Butler and Nelson each hit two free throws down the stretch giving UMass the non-conference win and upping its current homecourt winning streak to seven games, the longest since it ran off nine straight victories in the Mullins Center Feb. 6, 1998 until Nov. 14, 1998.
Memphis opened up the game in a full-court press which gave the Minutewomen headaches. It was 10:04 into the contest before Massachusetts got on the scoreboard courtesy of a Foster free throw, but the Lady Tigers had shooting difficulty as well and were only up 14-0. Foster then connected on the squads' first field goal 51 seconds later and the Minutewomen chipped away for the remainder of the opening stanza. The Minutewomen pulled to within four points at the half thanks to a fadeaway jumper by sophomore Monique Govan (Chicago, Ill.) as the buzzer went off signaling the end of the first half.
Butler tied for a game-high 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, recording her 10th double-double in 12 games this season. Nelson contributed with 12 points and four rebounds, while senior Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) added eight points, six boards, three assists and two steals. Govan chipped in with seven points and three rebounds off the bench.
Massachusetts will host A-10 foe Saint Joseph's in a 7:00 p.m. game on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the Mullins Center.