The Southern Miss Lady Eagles competed in their final road contest against UTEP Sunday and came away with the victory, 66-60. The game was tightly contested as there were nine lead changes in the ball game.
The win improved the Lady Eagles’ record to 20-8 on the year and 13-4 in conference play. The Lady Eagles used a 25-point game from Tamara Jones and a 12-point, nine-rebound game from Jerontay Clemons to overpower UTEP.
Voche Martin led the Lady Eagles with 10 rebounds and as a whole, USM dominated on the glass, 48-39.
The first half was a war between both teams, each team trading the lead throughout. UTEP shot a miserable 34 percent from the field in the first half compared to Southern Miss’ 51 percent.
Despite their shooting woes, the Lady Miners led at the half 37-35 and USM’s Conference USA championship hopes were in danger. With the start of the second half, the contest remained much of the same.
USM stormed back in the middle of the second half and used an 8-0 run, led by Tamara Jones, to gain the lead. The Lady Eagles led 54-45 before UTEP went on a 7-2 run of their own before a media timeout helped the Lady Eagles to refocus.
The Lady Eagles could not shake the pesky Lady Miners late as they had done with previous opponents. UTEP kept the score within two with less than a minute left.
The Lady Miners could not stop the Lady Eagle offense down the stretch and had to resort to playing the foul game. Clemons came through and nailed the first free throw. She missed the second.
Alex Coyne earned a defensive rebound on the other end and she was also sent to the line. She hit the first and missed her second.
Clemons then came away with her ninth rebound and earned her second trip to the line in the span of 30 seconds. She sank the first free throw, but again missed the second and gave the Lady Eagles a 63-60 lead with 25 seconds left.
UTEP missed the ensuing three pointer and it all but sealed the game for USM.
On the defensive end, Martin picked up key rebounds and a couple of blocks and stifled the Lady Miners down the stretch and held them to just eight points through the last four minutes in the game.
The Lady Eagles will conclude the regular season at home next Thursday against Louisiana Tech. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.