The Memphis Tigers women's basketball team (10-8, 1-4 American Athletic Conference) won their first AAC victory of the season 57-52 over the Southern Methodist University Mustangs (7-10, 1-4 AAC) thanks to a nine-point fourth quarter scoring output by sophomore guard Jamirah Shutes.
Shutes started the game on the bench but led the team minutes later. Shutes ended the game with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. Memphis not only broke a four-game losing streak, it was also their first home victory against SMU since March 8, 2012.
Head coach Melissa McFerrin spoke with the media after the game about the team’s win and Shutes performance.
“Feels good to get that first conference win and build on it,” McFerrin said. “Jamirah was really aggressive today, and she made plays that matter today on the offensive side of the ball.”
Memphis got off to a very rough start, committing seven turnovers SMU converted into eight points and scoring only nine points during the period. They shot 36% from the field, only making four out of their 11 shots. The Tigers tried to get the ball to the post a lot in the quarter, but the forwards could not handle the pass.
SMU’s starting guard Reagan Bradley had six points, two assists and two rebounds out the gate to lead the Mustangs, while forward Johnasia Cash put up four points and two rebounds.
The home team continued their turnover ways, adding six more in the second period to give them a total of 13 in the first half. Despite constantly losing the ball, Memphis played a close game in the second quarter as freshman forward Lanetta Williams scored four points to lead the Tigers. Five different players also put up points in the second for Memphis.
Even with the turnover bug biting the home team, the home team only trailed the Mustangs by six going into halftime by a score of 27-21. SMU’s guard, Reagan Bradley, added four more points to give her 10 points scored going into the break. She led all scorers at the half, while Memphis’ highest scorer had only six.
Memphis started the second half giving SMU wide open layups, giving the Mustangs a 31-21 lead. The Tigers came out of halftime switching their defense from a 3-2 zone to man, and the SMU pick-and-roll offense torched it. Later in the period, McFerrin's side settled back down and switched back to their 3-2 zone and cut the 10-point lead for the Mustangs to a 2-point lead. SMU’s Kayla White scored the last seven points for the Mustangs and ended the quarter leading over the Memphis Tigers 42-38.
Memphis came out to the last period flat and found themselves down 8 points with five minutes to go in the game. Aerial Wilson knocked down a three and all of a sudden, the home team went on a run to tie and eventually take the lead.
Memphis’ valiant comeback started with the three ball and great defense down the stretch forcing two shot-clock violations on SMU. Shutes had nine fourth quarter points to lead the Tigers to their first conference win of the 2019-2020 season.
After the game, Shutes spoke with the media about the team’s first conference win.
“I think first we started out messy, but a win is a win and I think toward the end we got better,” Shutes said. “I had been in a slump lately losing a very close friend of mine, but it felt good to bounce back tonight and get the win.”
This was not a pretty game by any means for the Tigers. Three crucial keys that almost gave Memphis a loss was their loss in the offensive rebound margin, the constant turnovers committed throughout the game, and a lack of field-goal attempts compared to their opponent.
Despite their flaws, a win is a win, and Memphis is headed for a two-game road trip for their next few games against UCF and ECU.