Lady Eagles down UAB to advance

Published 11:15 am Friday, March 13, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southern Miss women’s basketball team eliminated UAB in a thrilling quarterfinal battle that saw the Lady Eagles make nearly 54 percent from the field to hold off a Blazers squad that drilled 12 3-pointers in an 80-66 win.

Senior star Tamara Jones led the way as she dropped 18 points and gathered in seven boards. Alex Coyne scored a career-high 16 points to go with seven assists and four steals. Voche’ Martin chipped in 14 points. Seven players scored six or more points in the victory.

Southern Miss owned the first half against the host Blazers, shutting down top UAB scoring threat Janae Smith in the block, while pouring in 41 points on 61 percent shooting.

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The Lady Eagles scored nine straight points over a span of 1:12 in taking a five-point advantage and never trailed again. Brittanny Dinkins ignited the run scoring four straight on layups before Ashley Folsom’s two free throws put the Lady Eagles up 16-14. Megan Brown then added a three-point play for the 19-14 lead. The Lady Eagles led by as many 14 in the half, but UAB was able to trim the lead to eight, 38-30 with 1:02 remaining in the half. Alex Coyne then connected a three as time was winding down to end the half. Southern Miss led 41-30 at the half.

UAB woke up in the second half, hitting four of its first six three-point attempts to cut the Southern Miss lead down to four with 12 minutes remaining in the frame and stayed within striking distance of the third-seeded Lady Eagles cutting the difference down to two points with the last coming with 4:08 remaining in the game.

In the face of elimination, Southern Miss rose to the challenge to stifle the furious Blazer comeback attempt using a 9-0 over 1:23 in taking a double-digit lead, 74-63, just under two minutes. UAB got the lead under 10, but the Lady Eagles used a strong performance from the free throw line to seal the win.

UAB’s Chelsee Black knocked down six treys, which was tied for fourth-most in single-game championship history, in scoring 20 points while Janae Smith led all scorers with 21 points and eight rebounds. Miranda Burroughs chipped in 12 points.

Southern Miss outscored UAB 32-16 in the paint and allowed no second chance points. The Lady Eagles also had 24 points off 18 UAB turnovers.

Southern Miss will play Middle Tennessee in the first semifinal game of today, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Legacy Arena at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center.

USM Media Relations