The Memphis women's basketball team received a heavy loss at home in their lone regular season match to USF.
The Tigers (13-14, 4-10 American Athletic Conference) fell under a .500 win percentage after the 68-47 loss to South Florida (16-11, 8-5 AAC). Assistant Coach Jessica Bogia said the team needs to be reminded of their strength and their goals towards future games.
"Even though things are stacked against us we have to battle," Bogia said. "We have to fight, we have to grind to the end. No matter what the outcome is we want to lay it all on the court and represent Memphis."
Similar to the 2017-2018 season, the Tigers played a roster with only six players. Three of the six healthy Memphis players stayed in the game for more than 36 minutes.
The Tigers had trouble all game being so understaffed with just enough players to compete. Assistant Coach Bogia said the remaining uninjured, eligible players have to just keep their mind and health as fresh as they can.
"These six right now, they battle every day," Bogia said. "They work hard, they are bought in and they want to win.
The Tigers applied early pressure to the USF and it was a close game in the early half of the first quarter. Memphis shot 22.2 percent from the field goal range. However, the Tigers were 4-13 from the three-point line for 30.8 percent.
Despite being better than South Florida from the three-point range, the Bulls surpassed Memphis in free throws. USF nearly doubled the Tigers' field goal percentage at 45.2 percent efficiency.
South Florida kept a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. The Bulls took the lead to start the game and never lost it. The Tigers got close to changing that, but could not.
Memphis fought to stay explosive on offense, but they had only one substitute they could put in. The other players had to stay on the court for the majority of the game. Towards the end of the game, fatigue took effect and the Tigers tried to keep it close.
Bogia said the team just needs to have pride going into their last few games.
"We are Memphis," Bogia said. "We are grit and grind. We have to go out there and play like that."
Junior forward, Keke Hunter led the Tigers with playing time, totaling exactly 38 minutes. Aerial Wilson and Gazmyne Herndon played the full 20 minutes of the first half. Wilson also spent the second largest amount of time in the game with 37 minutes and 53 seconds.
Wilson said the team is still trying to get wins and finish the season the best they can.
"It has been hard but we are going to keep on fighting," Wilson said. "I think we have a good idea of what we need to do. We just need to bring in our focus for these next few games."
Wilson held the highest percentage of field goals for the Tigers at 28.5 percent. Wilson also spent the second largest amount of time in the game with 37 minutes and 53 seconds.
The Tigers' final home game is against UCF on the 29th. The Knights (16-9, 8-5 AAC) returned to Orlando after a loss to conference leading UCONN. Central Florida beat the Tigers 82-66 in late January.
Aerial Wilson dribbling the ball near the end of the game against USF on Feb. 22, 2020. The Tigers lost 68-47 against the USF Bulls this past Saturday.
Keke Hunter looking for a teammate on the inbounds pass. Hunter played the most minutes on an injury-plagued Memphis team in a 68-47 loss against USF last Saturday.
Madison Griggs going for a contest bucket in the paint. The Memphis Tigers face UCF Saturday afternoon in their last home contest of the regular season.