Memphis Tigers vs. Temple Owls Takeaways
In the Tigers’ final regular season game of the season, they were bested by the Temple Owls 84-53. This loss brings their regular record to 10-19, their straight season with just 10 wins. This ends Memphis’ season on a four-game losing streak and will give them a lower seed in the American Athletic Conference after posting a 5-12 conference record.
Offensive struggles haven’t lessened throughout the season
Possibly the worst-kept secret of the season has been the Tigers’ inability to find consistent scoring from their scorers. The issues are team wide and has made it difficult for them to capitalize on the opportunities their defense gives them.
In the first half of the game, their offense kept things interesting, putting the score at 36-34 by halftime, down by just two points. Jada Stinson ignited her offense by making five three-pointers and scoring 15 points in the half.
In the second half, it was a different story and the group was unable to get much momentum going and were outscored 48-19 in the half. They shot 20.7 percent from the field and they were able to drain just one three-pointer after hitting seven in the first half.
Tigers’ head coach, Melissa McFerrin, spoke with the media about her feelings about her team’s effort in the second half and said that it was a result of Temple making necessary adjustments.
“They started coming out on Jada [Stinson] pretty hard,” McFerrin said. “So, we tried to make more plays in the post, which we did. They had a double team on Alana [Davis] which normally isn’t a big deal, but she got swallowed up tonight. We turned it over and missed shots, we just didn’t have much of an inside presence.”
Seniors given the opportunity to shine
In addition to tonight being the last home and regular season game, it was also senior night. Prior to the game, McFerrin and Memphis athletic director, Tom Bowen recognized the team’s three seniors: forward Ashia Jones, forward Brianna Porter and forward Jasmine James.
Each senior got the start in today’s game and combined for 12 points, eight rebounds and one assist. Jasmine James led the trio in minutes and points with 29 of the former and 10 of the latter.
Porter spoke with the Daily Helmsman after the game to express how much her final home game meant to her.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Porter said. “But one thing I can take away from this is that I’ll always bleed blue and I’ll always have that Tiger spirit.”
Tigers are walking into the AAC tournament shorthanded
The changes to the Tigers’ roster have been highly publicized after the departures of forward Manaya Jones, forward Kiana Coomber and guard Taylor Barnes.
Those absences, especially that of veteran Barnes, has left a significant hole on the team, but guards Jamirah Shutes and Gazmyne Herndon have done their best to step up in her place.
As they prepare for this season’s AAC Tournament, they have just nine players on the roster, forcing them to give each player significant minutes to preserve each player’s energy.
This year, they’re projected to be between the ninth and twelfth seed. They’ll have until March 8 when the tournament begins to rest their players and await their first opponent.
Had the Tigers been able to maintain the high-octane energy they had in the first half and translated it to the second, the story of this game could have been very different. The Tigers’ seemed dialed in during the first half and were playing some of their best basketball of the season. Unfortunately, things went askew in the second half and fans and spectators were reminded why the team is finishing the season with a sub .500 record.
There aren’t many expectations for the team as the AAC Tournament approaches, but the Tigers still have to play each game with maximum effort. When tournament play begins, it’s essentially a clean slate from the regular season and that’s exactly what Memphis needs.