"First of all, I can truly say that I was proud of this team in the second half," coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "We tied Mississippi State 29-all. Congratulations to Mississippi State because they ate our lunch in the first half. They took control of the game in the first half and that's when this game was won. Hats off to them because they are a good pressure defensive team."
Jones netted a game-high 27 points while Clemons added 17 points off the bench. Clemons also grabbed a team-best six rebounds.
"Tamara has the ability to score the basketball," McNelis said. "She is very poised with her offense and is not going to do anything crazy."
State ran out to a 10-3 lead but Southern Miss (6-2) was able to cut the lead to 16-14 using an 11-6 run as Jones scored eight straight points. The Bulldogs then scored 12 unanswered points in pushing the lead to 28-14. The Lady Eagles answered to get within 28-24 with Jones sparking a 10-0 run. However, for the remainder of the half, Mississippi State outscored Southern Miss 14-8 over the last eight minutes in taking a 42-32 lead into the half.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the second half as the teams combined for only 15 points in the first 10 minutes. The teams traded baskets over a three minutes span, but Mississippi State was able to push ahead 63-50 with 6:29 remaining. Southern Miss then cut the lead to 63-56 after scoring six straight points. The Bulldogs sealed the win by connecting on 6-of-6 from the line down the stretch.
Martha Alwal led Mississippi State with 19 points and nine rebounds followed by Kendra Grant with 13, Dominique Dillingham had 12 and Breanna Richardson chipped in 11. State held the rebounding edge, 39-31. The Bulldogs also scored 27 points off 28 USM turnovers and got 21 second chance points.
Southern Miss continues its road swing traveling to Central Arkansas for a Monday contest with the tipoff set for 5 p.m.
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