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Southern Miss Thrashes Nicholls State 101-41 in Women's Basketball Action

Dec. 30, 2008

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Junior Pauline Love recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 28 points, 22 in the first half, and 10 rebounds to lead Southern Miss to a 101-41 women's basketball victory over Nicholls State here Tuesday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

The Lady Eagles (7-6) won for the second straight time as they reached the 100-point plateau for the first time since a 107-63 decision over Farleigh Dickinson on Dec. 13, 1997.

"I would like to say congratulations to this team," Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "I thought we were able to accomplish several things tonight. A lot of players got a lot of quality minutes and stepped up and made a difference. They were able make plays offensively and defensively, and gain a lot of confidence."

Ten of the 11 Lady Eagles that played scored as Candace Rucker and Brittany Johnson tallied 12 points, while Erin Gatling contributed with 11.

Southern Miss forced 35 Lady Colonel turnovers which led to 47 points and the Lady Eagles dominated inside with 66 points in the paint.

"Ashley Martin has not had the opportunity to play a lot of minutes before tonight," McNelis said. "She struggled a little bit early, but then got into a groove and finished with nine points and nine rebounds. I think that is a huge plus for her. Brittany Johnson got some minutes; Tanesha Washington who has been out sick, got some minutes. With out injured players out, Kendra Reed, Robin Murphy, Andrea Barber and Lauren Pittman, it gave a lot of opportunity for the players on the bench to get some quality minutes and that was the great thing about it."

NSU (0-11) got 11 points from Portia Washington and 10 from Christie Bryant.

"I thought everybody played hard," Love said. "This was a great opportunity for everybody to play and have fun. Now, we have to get ready for our conference schedule. We have to work hard in practice the next couple of days to get ready for UCF."

The homestanding Lady Eagles scored the game's first eight points and 14 of the first 16 over the first 3:40 of the contest to take a 49-16 advantage into intermission.

"We were able to accomplish several things in this game," said McNelis. "We were able to work on our different defenses, work offensively against a matchup zone that we've not gone against all year. Knowing with our upcoming opponents, we are going to face some zone defenses and we have to be prepared for that."

The Lady Eagles finished the game shooting an impressive 62.3 percent, including 68.6 percent in the first half, and pulled down 48 rebounds. The 26 steals was a school record, passing the previous mark of 25 set in 1995.

Southern Miss returns to action Saturday when they open Conference USA play at UCF. Game time is set for 1 p.m., CT. The Lady Colonels open Southland Conference play in their next outing, Jan. 10, at Northwestern State.

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