Lady Eagle drops heartbreaker to Marshall

Published 11:20 am Friday, January 30, 2015

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – Marshall outscored Southern Miss 20-6 over the final 6:22 in defeating the Lady Eagles 67-65 in Conference USA action Thursday night.

Southern Miss falls to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in league play while Marshall improved to 13-6 and 5-3.

“We lost our focus after getting the technical foul because it gave them two free throws and the momentum shifted,” head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We did not play beyond that and we played with very little poise. You have to give Marshall credit, they played very well. Their big four stepped up, they scored and rebounded the basketball for them. We struggled again making the easy baskets. We missed a lot of layups.”

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Tamara Jones led all scorers with a game-high 20 points followed by Brooke Rhodes with 17 and Jerontay Clemons chipping in 14. Rhodes and Clemons also led the team with eight rebounds each.

Both teams came out battling from the start, trading baskets for the first 11 minutes. With the score tied at 21-21, the Lady Eagles scored 12 unanswered points over a four minutes span as Clemons hit a driving layup. Kierra Jordan hit back-to-back buckets in the paint before Rhodes connected back-to-back threes. Marshall outscored Southern Miss 7-2 over the final three minutes to close the gap to 35-28 at the half. The Lady Eagles shot 50 percent from the field.

Southern Miss quickly pushed its lead to double digits out of the half as the Lady Eagles led 44-32 at the 17:06 mark. Over the next 6:13, the Herd outscored Southern Miss 11-3 in cutting the lead to four, 47-43. The Lady Eagles answered with a 6-0 run for the 54-43 lead, and eventually led by as many as 12 points, 59-47, with 6:39 remaining. That’s when Marshall regrouped, gaining the momentum in the final six minutes. The Herd hit three straight threes in the final 2:41 to take a four-point lead (66-62). Jones then connected on a three with 13 seconds remaining in cutting the lead to 66-65. Following a Southern Miss foul, Marshall hit one-of-two with nine seconds remaining, giving the Lady Eagles a chance to tie or take the lead. However, Jones’ shot was off the mark.

Marshall placed four players in double figures led by AJ Johnson and McKenzie Akers with 17 points apiece, Leah Scott had 14 and Chukwuka Ezeigbo added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Southern Miss finished the game shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc. The Lady Eagles held the rebounding edge 38-31.

The Lady Eagles continue their two-game road swing, traveling to Western Kentucky for a 2 p.m. tip on Saturday.

BY: USM Sports Information