This is news release from Southern Miss athletics
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Southern Miss women's basketball team outscored WKU 12-7 in the final five minutes and connected on a pair of free throws under 40 minutes in defeating the Lady Toppers 63-61 in Conference USA action Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Eagles improved to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in league play while WKU fell to 18-4 and 7-2.
“We stayed true to the course even though they made that run just before the half,” head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We felt like we were right where we needed to be. This team played well in both halves of the basketball game. What made this so special was that in different segments of the game, it was different players. We made some great adjustments today and we kept feeding the hot hand. This team was more aware today of who had the hot hand.
“Brittany Dinkins comes off the bench and gives us big minutes,” McNelis said. “Megan Brown gave us some big minutes off the bench. The one aspect of the game was that we remained poised today. They went up, but we didn't panic and we made some great decisions. I think we executed and stayed poised on both ends. This was a huge win for us.”
Tamara Jones led the Lady Eagles with 14 points followed by Brooke Rhodes with 13 and Voche' Martin added 10 points to go with a team-best eight rebounds. Southern Miss finished the game shooting 54.2 percent from the field including 57.1 percent in the second half. The Lady Eagles also connected on 7-of-16 from behind the arc.
WKU held a 54-51 lead against the Lady Eagles when Brittanny Dinkins hit her second field goal to spark the final run. Dinkins then found Voche' Martin for an easy basket underneath to put the Lady Eagles up 55-54. Jones added a basket with the assist from Rhodes to give Southern Miss a three-point advantage. WKU then scored on back-to-back baskets to regain the lead, 58-57.
On the Lady Eagles' nest possession, Alex Coyne found a streaking Jones for a layup for the 59-58 advantage with 1:39 remaining. WKU missed a field goal on its next possession and the Lady Eagles got the ball back after the ball went off a WKU player. Jones then hit Clemons on a long pass for the layup and a 61-58 lead with 1:07 remaining. After another defensive stop for Southern Miss, WKU had to foul and Clemons converted one-of-two with 38 seconds remaining. The Lady Toppers' three was off the mark and again, WKU had to put the Lady Eagles on the line. Rhodes made one-of-two from the line in giving the Lady Eagles a five-point lead with 24 seconds remaining for the 64-58 lead. WKU hit a three with 00.4 seconds remaining. Southern Miss held on for the 65-63 win.
In spite of shooting 50 percent in the first half, Southern Miss trailed 31-25 at the half. Both teams battled for much of the first half, exchanging leads throughout the first seven minutes of the game. WKU used a 10-4 run in taking an 18 -13 lead. Southern Miss answered by scoring five straight to tie the game at 18-18. WKU quickly pushed its lead to eight points with an 8-0 run, 26-18. Megan Brown then connected on a three from the left side before WKU added a basket. Kierra Jordan made one-of-two from the line before Rhodes hit a three to cut the lead to 28-25, with nine seconds to go before the half, but WKU's Kendall Noble hit a three just past half court as time expire for the 31-25 lead at the half.
Chastity Gooch led all scorers with 17 points and Alexis Govan added 15 for WKU. Govan also pulled down a team-best nine rebounds.
Southern Miss held a 30-28 advantage with points in the paint and a 14-4 in fast break points. The Lady Eagles also outscored WKU 13-11 from the bench.
The Lady Eagles return home to host Middle Tennessee on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. tilt on Saturday against UAB.