The Charlotte Lady 49ers snapped the Lady Eagles six game win streak with a 83-72 victory. The loss puts Southern Miss at 18-8 overall and 11-4 in Conference USA. The Lady 49ers are now 11-5 overall and 7-7 in C-USA play.
Brooke Rhodes led USM in scoring with 17 points. Tamara Jones was second on the team in scoring, finishing the game with 13 points, coming off the bench Jerontay Clemons finished with 11 and Brittanny Dinkins added ten.
Charlotte scored the first basket of the game with a three-pointer and the Lady Eagles answered back with a three point basket of their own. That is how most of the first half was played. It was a back-and-forth affair.
Southern Miss took control of the first half with a 17-2 run. Dinkins found Jones open for a mid range jumper to start the run. Dinkins was the biggest contributor for the Lady Eagles during the 4:12 stretch. Dinkins had two assists, ten points and a steal.
The Lady Eagles were up 24-12 after the run and looked like they were in full control of the game. Southern Miss held on to its lead for the remainder of the half. The Lady 49ers were down by 13 points, but ended the first half on a 5-0 run to cut into Southern Miss’ lead and go into halftime down 42-34.
The Charlotte Lady 49ers shot 43.8 percent from the floor, 23.1 percent from behind the arch, shooting 3-13 and 100 percent from the free throw line in the first half. Southern Miss finished the first half shooting 55.2 percent from the floor, 63.6 percent from behind the arch and 75 percent from the free throw line.
Charlotte came in the second half of the game determined to fix up its mistakes that were committed in the first half on the defensive end of the ball. Charlotte displayed a never-quit demeanor throughout all 40 minutes.
The 49ers used a second-half opening possession 3-pointer by Hillary Sigmon to carry the momentum they started with the 5-0 run to close the first period.
Lefty Webster cut the deficit back to a single possession, 44-41, knocking down an open mid range jump shot, for the first time in nearly 15 minutes of game clock.
Webster’s shot initiated a16-8 run the Lady 49ers went on in the opening five minutes of the second half. Rhodes found an open Kierra Jordan at the rim to stop the run and give Southern Miss a two-point, 52-50, lead.
Southern Miss and Charlotte traded baskets for most of the second half. The game had five ties and 12 lead changes.
The Lady 49ers took full control of the game with 10 unanswered points with 1:36 left in the game. The Lady Eagles were only able to convert on two baskets in that time span leading to a 83-72 point loss.
“We struggle on getting the ball inside today and to finish,” said head coach Joye Lee- McNelis. “They shot the cover off the ball. We tried switching defenses and neither of them worked, particularly, in the final eight minutes of the game.”
“We now have to lace up our boot straps and get better. We have to regroup and get ready and get back on track starting at UTSA and UTEP. Today we played in a panic mode and not poised like we have in every other close game. Again, our defense normally generates our offense but our defense was not very good today.”
The Lady Eagles travel to Texas to play UTSA on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m., and UTEP on Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m.