HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Senior point guard Jamierra Faulkner led a balanced scoring attack with 22 points to go with 11 assists in her final appearance in Reed Green Coliseum as the Lady Eagles defeated Tulane 79-67.
Southern Miss, winners of 10 straight, improved to 23-5 overall and 12-3 in league play while Tulane fell to 20-8 and 11-4. Southern Miss finished the season with 17 home wins, the most in a season.
Four other Lady Eagles scored in double figures with Kierra Jones, Jerontay Clemons, Tamara Jones and Voche' Martin all scoring 10 points each. Martin also pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. Faulkner also set a single-season record for the most assists in Conference USA.
The teams got off to a slow start with only five points scored in the game by the first media timeout. Southern Miss was 0-11 from the field with the only points coming at the free throw line. The Lady Eagles scored their first points from the field at the 14:23 mark.
Southern Miss used an 8-0 run in taking a 10-7 lead, but it didn't last long as Tulane came right back using a 9-2 run for an 18-14 lead. The home team battled back to tie the game at 18-18 after Southern Miss Faulkner and Jones converted a pair of free throws each and Jones added a basket in outscoring Tulane 6-2. Tiffany Dale put the Green ahead on two free throws, but Faulkner answered with a three-pointer for the one point advantage. The Green Wave then converted three of six free throws for the 23-21 lead. Over the next four minutes, there were five ties and three lead changes. With the score tied at 33-33, Southern Miss outscored Tulane 6-1 over the final 2:34 in taking a 39-34 lead into the half.
The teams traded baskets to start the second half. With the score tied at 41-41, Southern Miss then scored seven unanswered points in a span of 1:03 in taking a 48-41 lead. Tulane quickly whittled the lead to one as three different Green Wave players accounted for the 6-0 run. After the teams traded baskets for three minutes, the Black and Gold put together a 13-3 run to take a double digit lead at 66-55. During the run, four different Lady Eagles scored points. Tulane was able to get the lead under 10, but it was short-lived as Faulkner was able to find Martin inside on back-to-back baskets.
Southern Miss shot 51.7 percent in the second half and finished the game shooting 42.9 percent from the field. Tulane held the rebounding edge, 47-38. The Lady Eagles scored 24 points off 20 Green Wave miscues and their bench added 29 points.
Tiffany Dale led Tulane with a game-high 21 points followed by Jamie Kaplan with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Danielle Blagg added 12 points.
Southern Miss wraps up the regular season on the road with a game at North Texas on Mar. 5 at 7 p.m.
Jamierra Faulkner recorded her ninth double-double of the season
Faulkner set a new Conference USA single-season assist record with the 11 assists in pushing her season total to 238
Southern Miss has won 10 straight games
The 17 home wins is the most by any Southern Miss team
Southern Miss has had four or more players score in double figures in 13 games, including five in four games
The 12 conference games is the most in a season
Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis Quotes:
"In the first half, I thought it was huge that two freshmen stepped up and made big plays. Alex Coyne and Brittanny Dinkins hit back-to-back threes to give us some momentum going into the half. Lashyra Cotton game off the bench the second half and played really well and hit some shots for us. They kind of gave us some energy off the bench."
"The second half we felt like we could come out and get a couple of defensive stops. Unfortunately, we didn't and that gave them some momentum coming out of the half. This Lady Eagle team was resilient. We traded basket for basket, but you never saw our team really lose concentration or play with a defeated attitude at all."
"Around the eight-minute media timeout, you could see things start to jell and click. One of the things we did today was make the extra pass. I thought that was a major reason why we were able to get a win today. We shared the ball. Jamierra was definitely a star, but we had five players in double digits."
On missing the first 11 shots from the field to start the game:
"We could not buy a shot. Again, it goes back to the makeup of this team. They get mad and frustrated with themselves because it's the bunny shots that they are missing. They never get the feeling that it's not going to work. That feeling is never an emotion. They just have found a way to win."
"Jerontay Clemons was key for us down the stretch. She hit a driving shot against their zone and she hits some layups in transition and some free throws. Again, she struggled very early. She rebounded in the second half and played well.
"I think Voche' Martin played well in the second half too. She altered a lot of shots, kept things out of the paint. Tamara Jones played well. There are so many players who made big plays. When you look at it down the stretch, our defense created offensive opportunities for us."
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