Feb. 26, 2012
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - It certainly was fitting on Senior Day that the senior scored the game winning basket. And that's exactly what happened when Ewa Urbanowska rebounded a miss shot and put it up against the glass for the game-winning shot as Southern Miss defeated UAB, 55-53, in Conference USA action Sunday afternoon.
Southern Miss improves to 12-16 overall and 6-9 in league play while UAB dropped to 18-9 and 9-6.
"What a spectacular finish," Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "It was absolutely unbelievable. It couldn't have happened to a better person to be able to make the game-winning shot and create a life-time memory."
Urbanowska entered the game with 4.6 seconds remaining to shoot two free throws for an injured Nitesha Pierce. She missed both but Niesha Pierce was able to come up with the rebound. Pierce's shot was short and Urbanowska was there to grab the rebound for the put back.
Jamierra Faulkner led all scorers with a game-high 23 points to go with seven assists. Ance Celmina scored 10 points while Nitesha Pierce grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Sedreka Plummer added nine points and eight rebounds.
Karisma Chapman led UAB with 18 points and Amber Jones finished with 14 points, six assists and four steals.
"UAB played very well," McNelis said. "They did a great job of executing their game plan. Defensively, we struggled in defending them. They got a lot of shots and we were slow on our rotation. Offensively, when you have Tanecka Carey that don't score the ball for you at all and only take three shots, you're not going to win many of those games. With her not being in the offensive flow for us, we struggled. But, again, we stayed in there just good enough to be able to compete. I think it was the play of our post players that created a post presence for us. Then, you saw Jamierra Faulkner just step up, take over and get us an opportunity to get a victory. Overall, it was a team effort."
Southern Miss popped out to a quick 4-0 lead to start the game. Karisma Chapman put the Blazers on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws and a basket off an offensive rebound. Jamierra Faulkner found Ance Celmina underneath for a quick basket. UAB then went on a 15-1 run over 7:58 to take a double-digit lead at 19-7. During that run, UAB held the Lady Eagles without a field goal and forced the home into seven turnovers.
USM finally ended the drought when Hannah Fletcher connected on a three-pointer. UAB led by as many as 14 in the half, but USM was able to get the lead down to 11 just before the half as UAB led 27-16.
The Black and Gold used an 11-2 run to open the second half in cutting the lead to 29-27. Chapman hit a three for the Blazers, but Faulkner answered with a three followed by a Niesha Pierce basket to tie the game at 32-all. Chapman then converted three of four free throws to put the Blazers up by three. After Celmina hit a bucket underneath, the teams traded free throws. Plummer then converted a three-point play to tie the game again. UAB came right back to score back-to-back layups for the 43-39 lead with 5:18 remaining.
UAB was able to keep a four-point cushion for the next three minutes. LaShaunda Pratt hit a pair of free throws at the 1:57 mark to put the Blazers ahead, 51-47. Faulkner came back and hit a three to cut the lead to one, but Pratt got loose and hit a jumper in the paint for the 53-30 lead. Faulkner then hit one of two from the line. Jones somehow broke away for an uncontested layup, but missed and Niesha Pierce grabbed the rebound. Faulkner was fouled and this time, made both to tie the game 53-53 with 38 seconds remaining.
UAB turned the ball over on its next possession allowing USM a chance to win. As time was winding down, Faulkner got the ball to Nitesha Pierce who was fouled and went down hard with 4.6 seconds remaining. Urbanowska entered the game to shoot for Pierce.
After shooting only 28.6 percent in the first half, the Lady Eagles finished the game shooting 38.3 percent after shooting 46.2 in the second half. USM held the rebounding edge, 41-24. UAB did score 22 points off 20 USM turnovers.
The Lady Eagles will now close out the regular season on the road when USM travels to East Carolina on Mar. 1 for a 6 p.m. central tip.