Lady Eagle hoops come up short, fall to Michigan 69-60

Lady Eagle hoops come up short, fall to Michigan 69-60

This is a news release from Southern Miss athletics

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Lady Eagles' 2014-15 season came to an end Sunday. Despite another spirited attempt at a second-half comeback, Southern Miss succumbed to Michigan 69-60 in the Elite 8 of the Women's NIT.

History was made in this contest as Southern Miss played before a crowd of 5,480, a number that not only met the school's goal of 5,000 or more fans in attendance but was also the largest home crowd in women's basketball history.

It was the end to a magical run in which the Lady Eagles (25-11) overcame double-digit deficits in back-to-back-to-back wins before meeting a Michigan team (20-14) that hit just enough timely shots to stave off a second-half surge.

The Lady Eagles trailed by 19 in the first half but manage to pull to within 32-22 of the lead after a late run highlighted by five points in the last 37 seconds before the break.

That run started when senior Voche Martin chased down a long rebound and saved the ball as it was going out of bounds by tossing the ball backwards and overhead to fellow senior Tamara Jones. The ball eventually found its way around the horn and into the hands of sophomore Brittany Dinkins, who sank a 3-pointer.

After a Wolverine turnover, junior Jerontay Clemons raced the length of the court and found Martin for a bank-in jumper at the buzzer, a play that took in 3 seconds to complete.

All signs pointed to another Southern Miss comeback, however, the Lady Eagles were never able to pull within one possession of the lead in the second half thanks to perfectly timed baskets by the likes of Michigan's Katelynn Flaherty.

The closest Southern Miss got was within five, 59-54, with 2:24 to play in the game. However, Michigan's Shannon Smith hit a jumper to extend the lead and the Wolverines hit enough free throws to secure the win.

Four Lady Eagles scored in double figures on the night. Clemons led the way with 18 points. Martin was good for 13, Kierra Jordan 11 and Dinkins 10. Jones pulled down 10 rebounds.

Michigan's top performer was Cyeshia Goree with a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double. Nicole Elmblad had 14 points, Siera Thompson and Shannon Smith added 13 and 11 points, respectively, and Katelynn Flaherty chipped in 10 points.