Blazers beat Marshall but fall to Memphis

By on February 19, 2013
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Memphis grabbed an early lead and never trailed in a 64-57 win over the UAB women’s basketball team Thursday evening at UM’s Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

Head coach Audra Smith looks to coach the Blazers to prepare for the C-USA tournament<br /><p class=which is just five games away. Sarah Adkins/Staff Photographer" width="300" height="244" class="size-medium wp-image-20835" /> Head coach Audra Smith looks to coach the Blazers to prepare for the C-USA tournament
which is just five games away. Sarah Adkins/Staff Photographer

The Blazers fall to 14-9 overall and 5-5 in Conference USA play with the loss, while Memphis snaps a two-game losing skid to improve to 14-10 and 5-5 in C-USA play.

UAB committed 23 turnovers on Thursday – one shy of a season-high 24miscues the Blazers committed in the first game of the year against Austin Peay State (Nov. 9).

Like they did in the first meeting between the two teams, the Tigers were strong at the free-throw line, knocking in 20-of-25 (80 percent) for the game, while UAB hit 11-of-18 at the charity stripe (61 percent).

Memphis took the early lead in the first half and built as much as a nine-point advantage on two different occasions before establishing a 33-26 halftime lead. 

UAB junior Ashley Grimes continued her strong shooting from last week with 16 first-half points. In fact, Grimes made six of her team’s nine made field goals in the first 20 minutes.

The Blazers closed the gap in the second period, going on a 7-0 run to get within one, 40-39, with just over 13 minutes to go. Memphis then reeled off six unanswered points to build the lead back to seven.

UAB fought back once again to get as close as three, 60-57, with just over two minutes to go, but for every Blazer run the Tigers had an answer in the 64-57 win.

Grimes scored just one second-half point and finished with team-high 17 on the night, while Amber Jones, Kelsie Weynand and Khalilah Watson each scored eight points in the loss.

The Tigers had three players in double figure scoring, including a team high 16 from Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.

The Blazers headed back to Birmingham on Sunday to return to the court to take on Marshall. Three UAB players scored in double figures and the Blazers’ women’s basketball team forced 20 Marshall turnovers in a 61-43.

In a game that was similar to UAB’s 61-45 victory at Marshall on Jan. 27, the Blazers (15-9, 6-5 Conference USA) used a strong defensive effort and post presence to stop the Herd (8-16, 2-9 C-USA). The Green and Gold outscored Marshall in the paint, 32-18, and tallied 18 points off of Herd miscues.

UAB junior Ashley Grimes scored a game-high 19 points in the win, while teammate Karisma Chapman finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine boards.

“This was a good win at a crucial time for us,” UAB head coach Audra Smith said. “We are entering the most critical part of the season and it is important that we compete like we did today.”

Marshall scored the first basket of the game but failed to grab the lead the rest of the way. The Blazers built an early 10-2 lead before the Herd came back to close the gap to three, 12-9, with just over 12 minutes to go before the break.

From that point on, UAB finished the first half on an 18-7 run to claim a 30-16 advantage going into the locker room.

Blazer guard Kelsie Weynand led all scorers at the half with eight points, while Chapman added six.

In the second period, Grimes heated up for the Blazers with 10 of her team’s first 12 points to open the frame as UAB built a sizable 42-23 lead with 14:35 remaining in the game.

The Green and Gold’s lead would swell to as much as 26 with just over 11 minutes remaining before UAB rolled to the 61-43 victory.

Part of the Blazers’ success on Sunday was the support off the bench, with 22 points coming from non-starters.

“It was good to see players like Kayla Anderson, Schenia Battle, Brittany Winborne and Dy’Mann Webb get to play today,” added Smith. “Those girls are improving every day and will play a large part in our success this season.”

UAB returns to Bartow Arena on Thursday to face Tulane at 7 p.m. CT. 

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