Quick thinking, dominant defense, collective ball handling and back-to-back scoring were all plentiful as the University of Memphis Women's Basketball team started its regular season with an opening-round route of Grambling State University (Nov. 9) at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
Out-rebounding Grambling 49-31, the Tigers played fast and furious in bringing home a 92-42 victory.
Mooriah Rowser, one of two freshmen in the starting lineup, led all scorers with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds followed by Nicole Dickson with 20 points and seven rebounds. The 12-for-20 shooting performance for Rowser was the sixth-most field goals scored by a Memphis freshman in school history.
Memphis forced 34 turnovers on Grambling, with 21 in the first half and held them to 22.7 percent scoring from the field.
Pa'Sonna Hope scored double figures with 10 points off the bench. Freshman Ariel Hearn led Memphis with 12 assists.
Dayla Threatt led Grambling State in scoring finishing with 11 points, including eight from the free-throw line.
The win over Grambling State advanced Memphis to the second-round of the WNIT at Middle Tennessee State University, where they fell 82 to 68 to the six-time NCAA tournament-goers, the Blue Raiders.
"I'm proud of this team. Middle Tennessee is a very good program and this is a very tough place to play as the visiting team," said head coach Melissa McFerrin. "We had some mistakes that we can work out in practice. We only got out-rebounded by one on the road, but we gave up some stuff in transition defense that we will need to work on."
Memphis cut the score to 10 with just a couple of minutes to go. "And then fatigue kind of got us," McFerrin. "That comes with experience, getting some endurance late in the game, but I'm not at all disappointed in this effort."
The 37 points scored by the Blue Raiders in the second half all came in transition and from the line.
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir tied her career-high, leading Memphis with 16 points. Hearn added a career-best 13 points, while Dickson (11) and Rowser (10) each added double-digits. Dickson led the Tigers with five rebounds, while Abdul-Qaadir added four steals.
Middle Tennessee had four players in double-digits. Icelyn Elie led the Blue Raiders with 30 points and five rebounds. Ebony Rowe added 19 points and Kortni Jones finished with 14.
NEXT: Memphis travels to Illinois State (1-1) for the Preseason WNIT Third Round consolation game on Sunday (Nov. 18).