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Roundtable: Helmsman sports staff recaps women's basketball season

The 2017 Tigers women’s basketball regular season ended Monday after they squeaked out a road victory against Temple. With the season’s conclusion, The Daily Helmsman’s sports staff, consisting of editor Jeremiah Graham and reporters Caleb Hilliard, Christian Fowler, Abigail Warren and Patrick Graziosi, gathered to discuss the Tigers’ performance this year.


How would you grade the Tigers’ season? Why?

Jeremiah Graham: I would give them a C-. This was obviously a tough season due to the numerous injuries they’ve had over the course of the year.

Caleb Hilliard: I would give them a D. I know injuries were a huge factor, but they were still almost 10 games under .500.

Christian Fowler: I would grade the season for the Tigers as a D+. They started the season off with two wins, but there was not much to see after that. They went on two separate eight-game losing streaks, but the accomplishments of Brea Elmore and Cheyenne Creighton raise the grade slightly.

Abigail Warren: C+. It wasn’t their fault. They lacked depth due to many season-ending injuries. They had a short lineup early in the season.

Patrick Graziosi: I’m going to throw head coach Melissa McFerrin a bone here and give the season an incomplete grade. McFerrin could barely field eight players after injuries ravaged the roster.


Who do you think has been the most consistent player for the Tigers this season?

Graham: I’ll go with Cheyenne Creighton. I like the strides she made going from her junior to senior season. She added range to her shot and became their most dangerous weapon offensively, not to mention what she does for them rebounding-wise.

Hilliard: It’s Brea Elmore for me. She has been a vocal leader as a senior, and she’s been consistent offensively. When they struggle to score, they often go through her to create something.

Fowler: It is a toss-up, but I will go with Elmore. She leads the Tigers in points, steals and assists. She goes out every game and competes very hard.

Warren: Elmore has been consistent and agressive. She puts up big numbers but is also effective at getting the ball to the rim. She was their best player offensively.

Graziosi: Creighton ends up with 14 points and seven rebounds just by falling out of bed, and she has done it on efficient 50 percent career shooting.


Do you believe Melissa McFerrin deserves to stay after this season?

Graham: I think she deserves another year. She got dealt an extremely bad hand this year with the numerous injuries. I thought this team, if healthy, could’ve been top four in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). I think she deserves at least one more chance to show what she can do with a healthy roster.

Hilliard: I think she will stay, but the seat will be hot next year. The injuries derailed this season, but if they struggle next year with a healthy roster, she will be gone.

Fowler: I honestly do not think she should be here next year. Ever since the switch to the AAC, she has only had one time with a winning season, even with two star players.

Warren:  At Memphis Madness, McFerrin said her team added depth. When I spoke to her before the season, she said she expected to be an NCAA Tournament team, despite the fact her added depth was hurt. By the numbers themselves, McFerrin does not deserve another season. However, when you look at what she had to deal with, namely injuries, she deserves one more season to guide the Tigers.

Graziosi: McFerrin deserves to stay. Let’s be honest here, there isn’t a whole lot of pressure on the program, and as long as they keep improving their graduation success rate, which increased from 71 percent to 81 percent in 2017, then McFerrin should earn a reprieve.

How will you remember Creighton and Elmore, with this being their senior season? Also, who do you think is next in line to be the leader of the team?

Jeremiah Graham: I'll remember them as the glue that held together the team during some tough seasons. They were so consistent. Every night you could count on them to have a productive outing. As far as who is next in line, I would have to say Taylor Barnes. She really made strides as a vocal leader on the court and I see an improvement in her outside shot. She's going to be the go-to player for them next season.

Caleb Hilliard: I remember last year when the Tigers were in a conference skid and Creighton led the team in an important matchup to break the streak. It was always a pleasure to watch Elmore offensively. I like watching her create off the dribble. To piggyback off of Jeremiah’s point, I like watching Taylor Barnes. She averages eight points per game, and with the two seniors leaving, she's next in line to become the leader.

Christian Fowler: I will remember them as the two centerpieces for a Tigers team that has struggled over the past few seasons. Even though they were not on great teams, they played hard and will leave a legacy here. I think the new leader next year will be Taylor Barnes. She should be the best player on the team next year, and it will be her junior season.

Abigail Warren: I will remember both Creighton and Elmore as the 24th and 25th Tigers to score 1000 points in their careers. Both were extraordinary athletes that played all 40 minutes in many games this season. I think Taylor Barnes and Jada Stinson are the next Memphis greats for the Tiger program. They won't have Creighton and Elmore to rely on, so they will have the ball in their hands more and will take the shots. However, with a healthier team next season, Memphis may see others excel.

Patrick Graziosi: I will remember them for carrying the load day-in and day-out for the last two seasons, despite the mounting losses. It's too early to tell who the next leader will be, but freshman forward Alana Davis' 23 point and 12 rebound performance at Temple this past Monday proved she has the potential to fill Creighton's shoes.

Jeremiah Graham

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