Memphis head coach Katrina Merriweather: “We’re going to be a no-excuses team. We’re going to be a no-excuses program and we’re going to have to fight through things a lot better than we did today.” (Screen capture)

by Liaudwin Seaberry Jr. —

Katrina Merriweather, confident her University of Memphis Tigers squad had taken steps forward in last Saturday’s gritty win against Houston, was looking for the team to continue that progress with a win against Tulsa.

Playing on the road Wednesday night, the Tigers (11-6, 2-4) did not deliver the result Merriweather envisioned, falling to the Golden Hurricane 80 to 68.

“It seems like every time we take three steps forward, we take two steps backward,” Merriweather said. “I will get it figured out, and we will be better going forward in the season.”

Tulsa led early and often, stretching the lead to 18 points at one juncture. They forced 20 turnovers, grabbed more rebounds and dished more assists than a Memphis team committed to avenging an earlier 3-point loss to the Golden Hurricane.

“They moved the ball really well, and we were a little slow today,” Merriweather said. “You can’t be behind on screens, you’ve got to make plays and you’ve got to be there on the catch.”

Point guard Emani Jefferson paced the Tigers’ offense, scoring 22 points on an efficient 8 of 13 shot attempts from the field. Maya Stovall contributed 14 points.

The primary issue for Memphis was on the defensive end. While the Tigers shot 48 percent from the field, they allowed Tulsa to connect on 50 percent of its shot attempts, including 43 percent from three-point range.

Against Houston, the Tigers put on one of their best defensive performances of the season, limiting the Cougars to 36 percent shooting from the field and 18 percent from beyond the three-point line as they earned a 57-53 victory

With the setback against Tulsa, Memphis now falls to 0-3 on the season in games in which the opposing team scores over 70 points.

Merriweather said the Tigers must become tougher in spots, aches and pains notwithstanding.

“We’re going to be a no-excuses team. We’re going to be a no-excuses program and we’re going to have to fight through things a lot better than we did today.”

Next

The Tigers square off against Temple (9-7, 4-1 AAC) at Elma Roane Fieldhouse on Saturday (January 29) at 2 p.m. It is the only regular-season matchup scheduled against the Owls.

A PlayStation 5 will be among the planned giveaways to students, with that announcement coming at halftime. A chance to net $3,000 by hitting on a three-point will go to a student in the break between the third and fourth quarters.

And, students are to receive pint glasses after the game.