Jamierra Faulkner led the way with a team-high 15 points.
Jan. 10, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss women's basketball team had to dig its way out of a double digit second half deficit in defeating Marshall 48-46 in its Conference USA opener Thursday night.
The Lady Eagles, winners of their last four, improved to 9-5 overall and 1-0 while Marshall fell to 6-8 and 0-1.
"Marshall's record is no indicator of what kind of team they have," Coach Joye Lee McNelis said. "They are very similar to us but more athletic. When we made a defensive mistake, they took advantage of it. You have to give them a lot of credit.
"I think it's huge for us to go into the half down 10 and make the comeback," said McNelis. We started to defend and make baskets off out defense. Our defense was tremendous in the second half. "
Trailing by 10 points at the half, Southern Miss fell behind by as many as 12 points less than two minutes into the start of the second half. Marshall led 36-24 when Southern Miss began chipping away as Celmina connected on a pair of free throws. Faulkner then scored on a fast break layup from Jerontay Clemons followed by a bucket underneath from Celmina to cut the lead to 36-30.
Norrisha Victrum put the Herd up 38-30 before Clemons kick-started a 14-1 run in giving Southern Miss the lead for good when she scored after a steal. Following a Marshall free throw, Tanecka Carey canned a nailed a three in starting a 12-0 run. Celmina added a jumper from Faulkner followed by back-to-back layups by Faulkner and Clemons. Faulkner added a free throw and Nitesha Pierce hit a fast break layup from Faulkner for the 44-39 lead.
Marshall cut the lead to two on a three-pointer before Nitesha Pierce got loose again for a bucket underneath to push the lead to 46-42. Marshall added a free throw before Faulkner connected on a pair with 1:50 remaining to give the Lady Eagles a five-point cushion. Weaver was able to hit a three with 10 seconds remaining and Southern Miss ran out the remaining time on the clock.
Neither team shot very well as Southern Miss finished the game shooting 38.5 percent from the field compared to Marshall's 34.8 percent. The Lady Eagles held the rebounding edge, 34-31. Southern Miss scored 30 points off 19 Marshall miscues and came up with 15 second chance points.
Southern Miss scored the first basket of the game, but Marshall came right back with a three and a jumper in the paint for the 5-2 lead. The Lady Eagles tied the game on Celmina's three-point play, and then it was all Marshall as the Herd outscored Southern Miss 10-2 for the 15-7 lead.
Southern Miss was able to take a 20-17 lead in the half after using a 13-2 run of its own with 5:56 remaining in the half. Marshall then ended the half outscoring Southern Miss 15-2 for a 32-22 halftime lead.
Norrisha Victrum and Shay Weaver led Marshall with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Chukwuka led the Herd with seven rebounds.
Southern Miss now travels to Memphis on Sunday for a nationally televised game on Fox Sports Network in the FedExForum. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. tip.
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