MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Senior Rodneysha Martinscored a game-high 25 points and freshman Ashlyn Lockard provided a season-high 10 points for North Carolina Central University in a 77-56 non-conference road loss at University of Memphis on Saturday.
The Tigers used a decisive 16-2 run to finish off the second quarter and then a 15-7 run to close the game to seal to improve to 5-7 overall.
Martin made half of her field goals (7-14) and all but one free throw (10-11) to finish just two points shy of her career-high point total with 25 points. Lockard scored her 10 points on 4-of-6 accuracy from the field and 2-of-3 precision from the free throw line. Freshman Dasmine Kasey added six points by making both of her 3-point attempts.
That trio shot 52-percent (13-250 from the floor. However, the rest of NCCU’s squad went 6-for-27 (22.2%). Memphis was much hotter at 47.1-percent.
Martin scored NCCU’s first 10 points. A 3-pointer from the left wing, a 12-footer in the paint and three consecutive made free throws by Martin staked the Eagles to an early 8-6 edge. Memphis scored the next nine points to pull ahead, but NCCU responded with an 8-2 run to close the opening quarter to only trail by one, 17-16. Martin scored four more points during that rally to score a dozen in the first 10 minutes and Lockard added two baskets.
Two consecutive treys by Kasey gave NCCU its last lead at 26-23 with 5:18 to go in the second quarter. However, the Eagles would not make another field goal in the first half. The Tigers went on a 16-2 run over that span to build up a 39-28 advantage at halftime.
Martin led all players at the intermission with 16 points on 4-of-6 precision from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 execution from the free throw line.
Memphis engineered its double-digit cushion at the midway point by shooting 48.5-percent and holding the visitors to 31-percent. The Tigers also dominated the backboards 39-28.
The hosts maintained a sizable lead throughout the third quarter. NCCU pulled to within 11 twice on two more hoops from Martin at 41-30 and 52-41, but Memphis responded each time to stay ahead by double figures and lead 58-43 after 30 minutes.
The Eagles started the final frame on a 6-0 run to pull the deficit to single digits for the only time in the second half. After Martin and Lockard both made two free throws around a short driving hoop from junior Shontai Totten, NCCU was only down nine at 58-49.
However, the Tigers used an ensuing 11-3 response before pulling away to the 21-point win.
Freshman Jamirah Shutes and senior Jasmine James led the victors with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Sophomore Alana Davis added a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Junior Paulina Afriyie paced NCCU with nine rebounds, despite the maroon and gray being outrebounded by 14 (43-29).
NC Central will conclude non-conference play when the Eagles host Wilberforce University on Wednesday on Wednesday at 3 p.m.