Lady Eagles Drop 78-65 Decision to Mississippi State
Jerontay Clemons led the team with 24 points in loss to the Bulldogs.
STARKVILLE, Miss.- Jerontay Clemons and Brittanny Dinkins combined for 42 of the team's 65 points, but it wasn't enough as the Lady Eagles fell to No. 9 Mississippi State in a midweek non-conference game, 78-65.
Southern Miss had its five game winning streak snapped, fell to 6-3 on the season while Mississippi State improved to 8-1.
"Obviously they are a very good basketball team and they are bigger than us, they are stronger than us and they are faster than us," Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "But I tell you what, I thought the fight that this Lady Eagle showed is something that words can't describe. I proud of this team because we could have thrown the towel in. We fought and we fought hard. We had that never say die attitude."
Clemons finished with a game-high 24 points with Dinkins scoring 18 points and Jayla King chipping in 10 points. King also led the team with six rebounds.
"Brittanny Dinkins carried us in that first half," McNelis said. "They did a good job of nosing her up in the second half and she didn't get as many shots. Jerontay Clemons played big in the second half and was truly a difference maker. Jayla King finally came alive right in the last quarter. This was a learning game as well as a believing game that we can get to the next level. Once again, I'm proud of the fight and we must continue to learn."
The teams opened the game trading a pair of baskets before State ran off 11 straight points in taking a double digit lead 16-4. Southern Miss then used an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 18-12 at the end of the quarter.
Mississippi State scored the first two points to start the second quarter, but Clemons came right back to keep the margin at six. State added another bucket before the Lady Eagles outscored the Bulldogs 14-7 over four minutes in whittling the lead to just one, 28-29 at the 4:19 mark. Dinkins sparked the run with a three while Clemons ended the run completing a three-point play. State regrouped and closed out the quarter with a 14-6 run for a 43-34 lead at halftime.
State got a pair of threes to start the third quarter in putting some distance between the teams. The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 17, 59-42, before Southern Miss was able to cut the lead 59-49 in using a 7-0 run. Over the final 1:32, the Bulldogs outscored Southern Miss 6-2.
Mississippi State led by as 20 points midway during the fourth quarter. During that stretch, Southern Miss struggled from the field as the only points came from the free throw line. After State pushed the lead to 73-53, the Lady Eagles outscored the Bulldogs 12-3 to cut the lead to 76-65. State added a pair of free throws for the 78-65 win.
Southern Miss finished the game shooting 43.8 percent from the field and went 20-of-24 from the line. Mississippi State won the battle of the boards 36-24. The Bulldogs scored 28 points off turnovers and added 18 second chance points.
Five players scored in double figures for Mississippi State with Ketara Chapel and Morgan William scoring 17 points followed by Dominique Dillingham with 15, Chinwe Okorie 13 and Victoria Vivians with 10.
Southern Miss: Clemons was two points shy of tying her career high set a season ago against Florida International. She has scored 17 or more points in each of the last three games.
Southern Miss stays on the road, traveling to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Carolina Challenge where the Lady Eagles will take on North Carolina at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday, Dec. 20. The game will nationally televised on ASN.