Lady Eagle basketball holds off Rice 65-54

Lady Eagle basketball holds off Rice 65-54

This is a news release from Southern Miss athletics

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Junior Jerontay Clemons was one rebound and two assists shy of a triple double in leading a quartet of Lady Eagles in scoring with 16 points as Southern Miss held off Rice 65-54 in Conference USA action Thursday night.

Southern Miss improved to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in league play while Rice dropped to 6-11 and 1-5.

"A huge hats off to player of the game Jerontay Clemons," head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "She rebounded and shot free throws well. She has worked hard on that. Defensively, she played a solid game.

"A couple of things to look at is, one, our 23 baskets to our 20 assists," McNelis said. "It's showing that we played very well as a team. Also the assists to turnover ratio was positive. The unsung hero tonight is Voche' Martin. She did a great job of driving them under the basket and the hook shot she made was good, but Rice did a great job of doubling on her and took that away."

In addition to Clemons' 16 points, Tamara Jones and Brittanny Dinkins added 12 points apiece and Brooke Rhodes chipped in 11 points. Dinkins also dished out five assists while Jones came up with five steals and three assists.

Rice opened the game with a deep three before Clemons got free for an easy layup that started a back and forth affair over the first 11 minutes. With the score knotted at 18-18, Clemons sparked a 14-4 over a nine-minute span that pushed the Lady Eagles' lead to 32-22. Rice ended the half outscoring Southern Miss 4-2 over the final three minutes as both teams hit a cold shooting spurt. Southern Miss led 34-26 at the half.

Rice came out of the locker room and promptly outscored the Lady Eagles 6-0 in cutting the lead to 34-32. The Lady Eagles responded with a 17-0 run in pushing the lead to 19 points, 51-32, at the 9:54 mark. However, Rice did not go quietly as the Owls outscored Southern Miss 16-5 over 5:29 that included a trio of threes as the close got the lead to single digits, 56-48 with 3:35 remaining. Dinkins then connect on a three-pointer in the right corner to give the Lady Eagles another double digit lead. Southern Miss hit 4-of-6 free throws in the final 1:10 in sealing the win.

Fifteen Rice players played and 11 players scored at least two points with Jasmine Goodwine, Maya Hawkins and Megan Shafer scoring a team-best nine points. Christal Porter pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

The Lady Eagles outscored Rice 28-16 on points in the paint. Rice outscored the Lady Eagles 14-10 in points off turnover and 12-2 in second chance points.

Southern Miss concludes its homestand on Saturday with a 4 p.m. tip-off against North Texas.