The Memphis Tigers, to say the least, were not pleased with their performance against the University of Connecticut last week.
The Tigers (12-11, 3-7 AAC) suffered a 94-55 defeat at the hands of the No. 5 ranked Huskies, a game in which the Tigers trailed by almost 30 points at the half and never really made competitive. They look to bounce back and pick up a key win in conference play versus the Wichita State Lady Shockers (13-10, 5-5 AAC). The game will be available on ESPN3 via the ESPN app, and starts at 6:30 p.m.
Here are a few players from both teams that will certainly play a key part in the outcome of Wednesday’s contest.
Dulcy Fankam-Mendjiadeu, Memphis: The 6’4 junior forward was named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll after averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds in three conference games. During that stretch, the Tigers went 2-1, defeating Tulsa and Tulane while falling to the aforementioned Huskies of Connecticut.
Not only has Fankam-Mendjiadeu been a force in the paint, she’s also provided a spark on the defensive end as well, as she blocked a season-high 3 shots against UConn. For the Tigers to win, it will take a big night from Fankam-Mendjiadeu, who has taken a larger part of the scoring load after Jamirah Shutes season-ending injury.
Madison Griggs, Memphis: Griggs, the team’s best three-point shooter at 41%, also has averaged nearly 10 ppg. as well. In the loss against UConn last Saturday, she knocked down 5 of 11 three-pointers, while hitting four against Tulane on Feb. 4. Griggs has shown the ability to force turnovers the last three games, with five steals during that span. This includes her three steals against Tulsa that helped score a double-digit victory for the Tigers. Griggs’s shooting ability provides the Tigers with the opportunity to have a potent inside-outside tandem with her and star forward Fankam-Mendjiadeu.
Seraphine Bastin, Wichita State: The 5-8 guard averages 8 points and 5 rebounds for the Shockers, including a 20-point performance earlier in the season against Louisiana Tech. In terms of conference play, the sophomore has been nothing short of consistent. She has averaged 9 points and 6 boards, while also being a pest on defense, grabbing at least one steal in 20 of the 22 games this season. For the Tigers to defeat the Shockers, it is essential for them to harass Bastin on defense and throw her off her game.
Shyia Smith, Wichita State: While Bastin has been the model of consistency for the Shockers, Smith has been steady all season. Smith has averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds this season, and the sophomore forward has developed nicely as the season progresses onward. Rebounding and steals show her value on the court, as she is second on the team in boards per game and fifth in steals. Smith’s breakout game occurred against Temple on January 19th, when she scored 12 points on 4-6 shooting from the field.
Aerial Wilson, Memphis: Wilson has been a reliable force for the Tigers from Day One. While her averages may not reflect on that, Wilson’s impact on the team goes far deeper than just numbers. She plays around 25 minutes per game, and the freshman guard has taken advantage of the trust that head coach Melissa McFerrin has bestowed in her.
While not being dominant in any one area, Wilson prides herself on the defensive end of the floor, where she serves as a lockdown, pesky defender that fails to give up anything easy on the court. For the Lady Tigers to gain a 4th victory in conference play, Wilson must step up even more and fill up the stat sheet even more than normal.