WICHITA, Kan. – Rangie Bessard collected a double-double to lead Wichita State past Memphis, 69-61, Wednesday night in Charles Koch Arena for the program’s first-ever win in the American Athletic Conference.
Wichita State (6-12, 1-3) snapped a four-game losing skid and improved to 1-2 all-time vs. Memphis with the victory.
Bessard was one of three Shockers in double-figures with 22 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The double-double is her sixth of the season and 20th career. Keke Thompsonadded 10 points and five rebounds and Diamond Lockhartadded 10 points, four assists and three rebounds.
The Shockers were held without a three-pointer (0-11) for the fourth time this season, but shot 44.6 percent overall. Memphis finished the game at 47.2 percent overall, including 5-of-18 from beyond the arc. Wichita State also cashed in 19-of-22 from the free throw line, including 14-of-15 in the second half.
WSU dominated the rebounding battle, 39-25, including 15 offensive.
Brea Elmore scored 20 of her team-high 23 points in the second half to lead Memphis. Cheyenne Creighton added 19 points and six boards.
A 9-0 Shocker run gave Wichita State an early 13-6 lead behind five Memphis turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the field. Tompkins (6) and Bessard (5) would combine to score 11 of the team’s first 17 points overall.
Wichita State took a 17-12 lead into the second quarter thanks to six offensive rebounds.
Tompkins made an immediate impact for the Shockers after checking in at the 5:11 mark. She scored six points in five minutes of action. Cheyenne Creighton scored eight of the Tigers’ 12 points to lead all scorers.
The Shockers missed their first five shots to open the second allowing Memphis to tie the game at 17.
Wichita State answered right back with a 9-2 run behind four points from Jaleesa Chapel and scores inside by Bessard and Lozada-Cabbage. A three-point play from Bessard then put the Shockers up 29-22 with 30 seconds to go.
That would be the score at the half, as Bessard led all scorers with 11 points. Creighton led the Tigers with 10.
The Shockers had the lead at halftime despite hitting just 4-of-16 shots in the period. For the half, WSU finished at 36 percent, while Memphis connected on 43 percent of its attempts. Both teams struggled from deep, shooting a combined 1-of-17 with the Tigers knocking down the lone make.
Following a Memphis miss, Tompkins whipped a perfect pass to a cutting Cesaria Ambrosio who scored and drew the foul to make it 36-28 near the midway point of the quarter.
A steal and score from Lockhart then gave Wichita State its first double-digit lead at the 4:20 mark, 40-30. The Tigers cut it back to seven, 46-39, as time expired in the period. Wichita State made seven of its 10 field goals in the third to keep Memphis at bay.
The Shockers spread the wealth in the quarter with no player scoring more than four points.
Memphis would not go away. The Tigers cut the Shocker lead to just one with 5:15 remaining during a 7-0 run in which Wichita State went nearly four minutes without a score.
With the lead at just three, a huge block and coast-to-coast score from Bessard put the Shockers up 56-51 with only 1:40 left on the clock.
Bessard then converted inside and got the foul to make it a seven-point game and just 1:01 remaining. Elmore came right back for Memphis and swished a three-pointer to cut it to four. Two Keke Thompson free throws followed by a Tiger turnover gave Wichita State possession with 42.8 seconds left and a 61-55 lead.
Wichita State would sink four more free throws to ice it, two each from Thompson and Lockhart, giving the Shockers a 65-55 lead.
Wichita State makes its first trip to the Big Easy (New Orleans, La.) as a member of The American to face Tulane on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2:30 p.m. CT.