Dec. 18, 2007
CANCUN, Mexico -- -
Miami (Fla.) overcame a 20-point first half deficit to defeat Southern Miss, 63-56, in the first game of the Caribbean Classic Tuesday afternoon.
"This was the tale of two halves," Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "We had a great first half. We executed offensively and our defensive scheme was very effective. We came out in the second half and missed easy buckets and had a few turnovers. We were 1-of-8 from the floor to start the second half. We got frustrated and things just kind of went down hill from there. We could not regain our composure."
Southern Miss (8-4) led 34-22 at the half, when Miami used a 20-9 run over the first 9:45 to cut the lead to two, 45-43. During that span, Miami did not allow the Lady Eagles to score over a 6:11 period. Kendra Reed finally broke the drought when she connected on 2-of-2 free throws with 7:52 remaining in the game.
The Lady Eagles were able to push their lead to seven, 52-45, before Miami went on an 11-0 run, taking a four-point lead, 56-52. The Lady Eagles cut the Hurricanes' lead to two, 56-54, when Andrea Barber made two free throws with 1:40 remaining in the game, but Miami closed out the game on a 7-2 run.
Southern Miss shot 20 percent (5-of-25) in the second half, after shooting 48.4 percent the first half. Miami won the battle of the boards, 43-35, including 17 offensive rebounds.
Reed led Southern Miss with 16 points followed by Liz Biland with 13. Pauline Love failed to score in double-figures for the first time this season, hauled in team-high eight rebounds.
LaToya Drake and LaToya Cunningham led Miami (5-6) with 18 and 15 points, respectively off the bench.
Southern Miss jumped out to an early 15-3 lead over the first eight minutes and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the first half.
The Lady Eagles return to action Wednesday, taking on Illinois-Chicago at noon.