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Memphis Outlasts Southern Miss 63-57

Freshman Jerontay Clemons scored 15 points and came up with five steals.

Jan. 13, 2013

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Southern Miss women's basketball team put together a furious comeback effort in the second half, but it was enough as Memphis held on for the 63-57 win in Conference USA play Sunday in the FedExForum.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak, dropping Southern Miss to 9-6 overall and 1-1 in league play while Memphis improved to 10-6 and 1-1.

"We have struggled coming out of the starting blocks these last few games," Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "We did it again today. We didn't get back in transition defense, we didn't execute like we should gave on either end. We just didn't get into a flow during the first half. It was a poor first half.

"I felt like we were confident coming out of the locker room. We had to make some defensive adjustments. We talked about offensive flow and playing with intensity. I think we did a much better job in the second half. We can't play one half of basketball. Right now, we're only playing a half. We won the second half," McNelis said.

Tanecka Carey scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the second half to lead the Lady Eagles in scoring and grabbing a team-best seven rebounds. Jerontay Clemons finished with 15 points to go with five steals.

After trading baskets and free throws for the first five minutes of the game before Memphis used an 8-1 run to go up 15-8. Nitesha Pierce connected on a layup from Jamierra Faulkner to cut the lead to 15-10 as Memphis then outscored the Lady Eagles 11-1 for a 26-11 lead. Southern Miss was able to cut the lead to 10 with just 2:44, but Memphis put together another run in pushing the lead to 19 points before Carey scored the last five points for the Eagles. Memphis led 37-21 at the half.

Southern Miss opened the second half outscoring Memphis 19-4 over the 6:25 in cutting the lead to 41-40. Carey and Clemons scored back-to-back baskets off offensive rebounds to start the run. After Memphis scored a bucket, Faulkner found Ance Celmina underneath for a basket. Carey then followed with a three-pointer and a three-point play the old fashion way to cut the lead to six. Clemons then hit one-of-two free throws just before Teri Berry scored on a perfectly executed backdoor play from Faulkner. Carey added another basket and Clemons got a steal and layup as the Lady Eagles trailed 41-40.

Memphis answered by scoring five straight points before Carey hit a deep three to keep the Lady Eagles within two. The Tigers pushed their lead to eight again as four different players scored for the 51-43 lead. Tiarra Pollnitz converted a three-point play before Memphis turned a steal into a layup in keeping a seven-point advantage. Carey then hit a deep three from well beyond the arch as the shot clocked expired to cut the lead to 53-49.

Southern Miss was able to keep within striking distance while trailing only three points late in the game before Memphis got a big three to put the Tigers up 61-55 with 1:51 remaining. Each team managed to score only two points for the remaining minute as the Tigers held on for the 63-57 win.

Ariel Hearn led Memphis with 17 points while Asianna Fuqua-Bey added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Memphis held a big rebounding edge, 47-31, but Southern Miss managed to outscore the Tigers in the paint, 28-26.

Southern Miss returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17 when the Lady Eagles host SMU at 7 p.m.

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