Southern Miss (20-9, 13-5) ended their regular season on Saturday with a loss against Louisiana Tech (15-4, 10-8) at Reed Green Coliseum. The loss ended the Lady Eagles regular season en route to the conference tournament.
Jerontay Clemons recorded her 1,000 point in her career at UTEP. Clemons is only the sixth girl in Lady Eagle history to record over 1,000 points. Her coach, Joye Lee-McNelis, is also one of the six Lady Eagles to reach the milestone.
Tamara Jones, Voche’ Martin and Brooke Rhodes started their last home game of their careers. After the game, the three players were honored in a senior night ceremony.
Southern Miss started the game off with 4 turnovers in their first 8 possessions and scoring only four points. In the same span, Louisiana Tech got off to a 8-4 start.
Over a stretch in the first quarter, the Lady Eagle went on an 11-2 stretch. In the same stretch, the Lady Eagles came away with three steals in their zone defense. Southern Miss finished the game with 15 steals.
Tamara Jones finished the game with 17 points shooting 45 percent from the field and making 3-of-6 shots from the arc. She also paced the Lady Eagles with seven rebounds and making four out of her six free throws.
“You want your best players to be able to take the shots,” said coach Joye Lee-McNelis. “I think we got the person we wanted to the free throw line.”
Kelia Shelton and Brandi Wingate both finished with 19 points each and shooting a combined 17-of-28 from the field for the Lady Techsters.
USM trailed Louisiana Tech 33-31 going into the second half. Southern Miss finished the first half with 12 turnovers on 35 possessions.
The Golden Eagles got minor contributions from the bench. The bench combined for 16 points and 11 rebounds. Combined, the bench shot 5-of-12 from the field with five turnovers.
Southern Miss went into the bonus and shot six free throws after the 7:53 mark in the second half, and converted five of the looks from the line.
Southern Miss ended the game on 0-of-6 shooting and a traveling violation by Tamara Jones in their second-to-last possession. Tech finished the game shooting 4-of-5 from the field in the game.
Jones took two bonus free throws to tie the game but only made one of them, making the score 64-65 in Louisiana Tech’s favor. After an inbounds foul by Coyne, Techster Chrisstasia Walter was sent to the line for two free throws and made both. Jones brung the ball down the court and passed to Coyne for the game-tying three in the right corner. Coyne missed and the game was over with a final score of 67- 64.
“I really didn’t run the play right,” Jones said. “I think losing a game like this, is going to motivate us and … go from there Friday and Saturday.”
Louisiana Tech finished 4-of-5 shooting and had one crucial turnover in the last thirty seconds of the game. The Lady Techsters finished 3-of-11 from three-point land also in the game.
“In the final four minutes of the game, everything went (Louisiana) Tech’s way,” Lee-McNelis said. “One (team) out-executed the other under the final medium.”
Southern Miss secured a No. 3 seed in the upcoming C-USA Tournament, which starts on March 10 in Birmingham, Alabama.