BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Southern Miss women's basketball team opened the second using a 14-2 run and never looked back as the Lady Eagles defeated Florida Atlantic 78-70 in Conference USA action Saturday.
Southern Miss improved to 21-5 overall and 10-3 in league play while Florida Atlantic dropped to 13-13 and 3-10.
Senior point guard Jamierra Faulkner scored a game-high 29 points to go with six rebounds, five assists and four steals while playing 36 minutes. The 36 minutes moved Faulkner into the top spot in minutes played by a Southern Miss player. She also moved into third all-time in scoring with 1,902 points. Markia Nix recorded her second double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Florida Atlantic ran out to a 17-10 lead just five minutes into the game. Southern Miss battled back to cut the lead to 22-21. The Owls regained the momentum and pushed the lead to seven using a 12-6 run for a 34-27 lead with just over eight minutes remaining before the half.
Southern Miss then scored eight unanswered points in taking its first lead of the game at 35-34. FAU ended the half on an 11-5 run for a 45-40 halftime lead.
Southern Miss led by as many as 13, 66-53 with 8:11 remaining. FAU answered with five straight points to get the margin below double digits, 66-58, at the 6:55 mark. Faulkner then found Tamara Jones and Jerontay Clemons for back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 12. FAU managed to cut the lead to seven, 71-64, but that was as close the Owls would get.
Kimberly Smith led FAU with 19 points while Shaneese Baily came off the bench for 18 points and Takia Brooks added 16.
Southern Miss held the rebounding edge, 48-28 and outscored the Owls 18-13 on fast break points. The Lady Eagles shot 53.8 percent in the second to finish the game shooting 49.1 percent from the field. This was the first time this season that Southern Miss failed to hit a three-pointer in a game.
Southern Miss returns home to close out the home portion of its schedule when the Lady Eagles host UAB on Feb. 26 and wrap up with Tulane on March 1.
Jamierra Faulkner in first on the all-time list in minutes played with 4,082 minutes
She moved into third all-time in points with 1,902
Faulkner ran her string to 36 career games with 20 or more points
Markia Nix recorded her second double-double of the season
The win marks the first time since 2008-09 that Southern Miss has had double digit conference wins
Coach Joye Lee-McNelis Quotes:
"We put in our defensive game plan and I thought it was very good and very effective. The biggest key was we didn't do two things. Number one, we didn't box out on the other end of the floor and gave them opportunity after opportunity to get second chance points. Offensively, we did not play with poise, we played in a panic mode. When we play that way, we tend to get down."
"FAU had some players to step up and shoot the three-ball today. They try to shoot 30 a game and today they shot 33. The second half was the half I thought the Lady Eagles did a tremendous job defensively. We changed our defense around a little bit to try and keep them off balanced. It worked. A lot was attributed to our defense."
"They ran some different defensive schemes at us that we had not prepared for and that was one of the reasons we had turnovers. You have to say hats off to FAU. They threw some stuff as us that got us out of sorts and we struggled during that run."
"I thought Markia Nix was phenomenal job in rebounding the basketball and scoring. She was a key rebounder for us. When Kierra Jordan came off the bench and got three charges to start the second half, that got us going. That gave us the momentum. Again, you have to credit Jamierra Faulkner for her part. She played a little panic in the first half, but played much better in the second half. Brittanny Dinkins played well again. She did some nice things for us in the first half."
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