After pulling off the upset against Wichita State on Wednesday, the Memphis Tigers (13-12) fell to the Eastern Carolina University Pirates (6-18), 61-57.
This game was the second meeting between the two teams this year, and the first was on January 28 where the Pirates came away with 71-65 on their home court.
They had the same success at Elma Roane Fieldhouse and started hot early. To start the first quarter, they got off on a 18-4 run. They would end up outscoring the Tigers 22-9.
What led to that was that they took 16 shots while the Tigers shot only eight times. A big part of that was that the Tigers turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter.
The Tigers struggled with turnovers throughout the game and ended with 26 giveaways. When asked about this, Tigers’ head coach, Melissa McFerrin said they were not ready for the defense that ECU played.
“I just think that studying their team and working against their trap was different than playing them,” McFerrin said. “They were just more aggressive than we could convince our kids that they were going to be.”
In the second quarter, they cleaned things up a bit and began to narrow the gap, but it was still a struggle offensively.
Through the first half, they converted on five of their 20 shots, good enough for just 25 percent from the field.
Their toughest area of shooting was from the three-point line where they missed on all 11 of their attempts. In the second half, they improved shooting 3-of-18 from three in the half.
The team’s leader in three-pointers, guard Madison Griggs, struggled in the first half to get her shots to fall, missing each of her first seven three-point attempts.
She began to get herself going in the second half where she made three shots from long range.
About her team’s long-range shooting, McFerrin said all those attempts came with good intentions.
“We don’t take bad threes,” McFerrin said. “So, every shot that we got, we thought that it was pretty good. Obviously, they’re not going to give Maddie [Griggs] a lot of space, but she almost made a three at the end to tie the game. I didn’t think that the game came down to that last three.”
To start the second half, Griggs made the team’s first three-pointer of the game and helped the team get a 15-2 run to start the third quarter and bring the score within two points.
Unfortunately, during the height of the Tigers’ run, forward Alana Davis went down after hurting her left leg. She returned in the fourth quarter and helped to keep the Tigers’ undermanned rotation intact.
Davis had 16 points, nine rebounds, one assist and two steals. She led her team in scoring.
Despite the Tigers’ best efforts, the Pirates still managed to produce offensively and ended the third quarter on a 9-0 run, which gave them the 46-39 lead going into the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter fought valiantly to keep the game within reach by continuing to outscore the Pirates 18-14, but it proved to not be enough and the Pirates walked away with the victory.
Of the team’s loss, McFerrin said that they have to put this loss behind them.
“Tonight, I’m going to tell them that they played their butts off, but we came up short,” McFerrin said. “We’re playing on too much fatigue and I’m going to tell them to get some rest and get it out of their brains.”
Following the defeat, the Tigers put themselves in the unfavorable position of dropping in the conference standings. Their next game is against Temple in Philadelphia next Wednesday.
They have just four games left in the regular season before the start of AAC Conference Tournament.