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Memphis Women Lose to ECU in Heartbreaking Fashion at AAC Tournament

Alasia Smith warms up before the Tigers' game against ECU.
Alasia Smith warms up before the Tigers' game against ECU.

The Memphis Tigers fell to the East Carolina Pirates 65-63 in the second round of the American Athletic Conference tournament. Memphis, seeded 8th, split with ECU, seeded 9th, in the regular season.

The loss eliminates the Tigers from NCAA tournament contention, but they may still be able to secure an invitation to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

The Tigers opened the game aggressively, controlling the contest for the entirety of the first half. A Madison Griggs three-pointer helped propel Memphis to a 34-26 halftime lead.

The third quarter ultimately proved to be the Tigers' downfall. The Pirates doubled up Memphis in the third, 26-13. Memphis saw their eight point halftime lead turn into a five point deficit.

The Tigers continued to fight in the fourth quarter, as they briefly regained the lead with less than five minutes to play.

The Pirates responded, but Memphis had multiple chances at the end of the game. With seven seconds to go, Alasia Smith had her layup attempt blocked, and, after an ECU missed free throw, the Tigers had another chance down two with three seconds left. ECU stole the inbound pass to clinch their victory.

The Pirates advance to play the top seeded Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.

In her first season at the helm, Coach Alex Simmons finished 13-17 with a 9-9 record in conference play. Memphis got better as the season progressed, but they will lose the majority of their offensive production this offseason.

Four starters, Ki'Ari Cain, Madison Griggs, Alasia Smith, and Kai Carter, have used up all of their NCAA eligibility. Memphis has two prospects signed for next season, and they will likely need to work the transfer portal to fill the roster.

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