This is a news release from Southern Miss athletics
LAKE CHARLES, La. - The Southern Miss women's basketball team battled McNeese State on the road at Burton Coliseum, but fell just short as the Lady Eagles were edged 57-55 on Sunday afternoon. The Cowgirls used a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining to break a tie, but Southern Miss' potential game-tying shot lipped out at the buzzer.
The Black and Gold led by as many as 14 in the game, but allowed the Cowgirls to remain within arm's reach. McNeese State was able to close the gap at the free throw line and with second-chance baskets. The Cowgirls finished the game 13-for-16, including a 6-for-6 performance in the second half. Conversely, the Lady Eagles shot just 10 free throws, converting only four. MSU outscored Southern Miss 20-to-2 in second-chance points. The game was tied six times and the lead changed on three different occasions.
Jerontay Clemons led the team with 15 points, while Kierra Jordan followed closely with 12. Clemons finished the game with a team-high seven field goals. Jordan added five goals under the basket and added a team-best two free throws. Brooke Rhodes finished the game with nine points, connecting on three triples in the first half.
Jordan paced the team with five rebounds, while Clemons and Tamara Jones each added four apiece. Clemons and Jones led the team in assists with five and four, respectively. Three different Lady Eagles finished the game with a block and three other players added steals.
For McNeese, three players finished in double figures with Victoria Rachal leading the way with 13 points. Talisa Boyd and Allison Baggett each added 12. Boyd added 16 rebounds, including seven offensive boards to complete the double-double.
Southern Miss trailed 6-2 before early a 23-5 run by the Lady Eagles put the visitors in front 25-11 - the largest lead of the day for either team - with 7:42 to play in the first half. The two teams traded baskets to end the half and the Lady Eagles entered intermission with a 37-24 advantage.
In the second half, McNeese State chipped away at the Southern Miss lead, slowly creeping back into the game. The Cowgirls cut the Lady Eagle advantage to 10 with a three to start the second half.
With USM leading 45-37, McNeese rattled off six straight points to trim the lead to just two. Ashley Folsom extended the lead back to four with a layup but back-to-back jumpers by the Cowgirls knotted the score at 47-47 with 7:14 to play.
Jordan put Southern Miss back out in front 49-47 with a jumper and once again 51-49 with back-to-back free throws, but the home team responded to tie the game each time. After a Jordan layup gave the Lady Eagles a 53-51 advantage, Boyd tied the game with a layup with 3:40 remaining. The layup would be the last field goal allowed by the Southern Miss defense in the final four minutes of play. Markia Nix made a layup with 2:59 to play to give the Lady Eagles a two-point edge at 55-53.
Neither team was able to score over the next two minutes as the defense for both teams stiffened. With 53 seconds remaining, McNeese State used a pair of free throws by Jaylin Johnson to tie the game for the sixth time.
With six ticks left on the clock, Baggett was fouled and sent to the free throw line. She connected on both freebies, giving the home team its first lead since the 16:03 mark in the first half.
Following a timeout, the Lady Eagles dribbled the length of the floor, but a layup attempt lipped out, preserving the two-point victory by the Cowgirls.
Southern Miss returns home to host the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 28-29. Teams included are Austin Peay, North Carolina A&T and Oral Roberts. The Lady Eagles open with Austin Peay at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 followed by Oral Roberts and North Carolina A&T at 5:30 p.m. The consolation game is set for 11:00 a.m., with the championship game slated for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29.