March 23, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Southern Miss Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis and her staff handed out several awards to players at the annual awards banquet on Thursday night.
Sophomore Niesha Pierce came away with the top honor, the Lady Eagle Award, for her leadership, academics, community service and willingness to go the extra mile. Pierce finished the season averaging 7.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 70.5 percent from the free throw line. She also had 39 assists and 42 steals while playing 27.5 minutes per game. Pierce also received the most improved player award. Over the final 10 games, Pierce averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 81.3 percent from the line.
Jamierra Faulkner was awarded the team's Most Valuable Player Award as she received Conference USA first team honors. Faulkner averaged 17.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.0 steals per game. She finished third in the league in scoring while leading the league in assists and second in steals. Her season totals ranked her 54th in scoring, third in assists and in steals nationally. Faulkner scored in double figures in 26 games including 12 games with 20 or more points.
Junior Tanecka Carey received the team's offensive award. She finished the season with a 15.1 point per game average. She scored in double figures in 27 of 31 games including seven games with 20 or more points. Carey set a new season record in three-point field goals attempted. She ranked among league leaders in points, rebounds, free throw percentage, three-point field percentage, three-pointers made and minutes played.
Faulkner and Carey received a couple of additional awards at the conclusion of the season. The duo was named to the 2012 College Sports Madness Conference USA all-conference teams. Faulkner also was named to the NetScouts Basketball All-Conference Team and was tabbed the Player of the Year as well.
Redshirt freshman Nitesha Pierce collected the Iron Woman Award after battling most of the season with knee problems. Over the final 10 games, she drew 23 charges including a game-high five against UCF. Pierce was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team while averaging 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. She was one of three freshmen to rank in the top 30 in scoring and rebounds among the league leaders.
The Lady Eagles also played tribute to the senior Ewa Urbanowska, presenting her with a framed jersey and her own Cabbage Patch doll in uniform.
The staff also handed out statistical awards for team leaders in the various categories.
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