Strong second half helps McNeese State defeat USM

Strong second half helps McNeese State defeat USM

Caption: Senior Voche’ Martin goes for the basket during the home game against West Florida on Nov. 8. – Courtesy Photo/ Joe Harper,

Coming off a strong win against Mississippi Valley State and sitting at 3-0 for the season, the Southern Miss women’s basketball team could not finish strong on the road in a nail-biting loss to McNeese State, 57-55.

The Golden Eagles (3-1) controlled the game in the first half, shooting an impressive 62 percent from the field while the Cowgirls shot a dismal 23 percent.

Both teams went back and forth for the first five minutes of the game, tied at 6-6. However, after Markia Nix completed a layup in the paint, Southern Miss went a 14-3 run to take a commanding 20-9 lead with 9:40 remaining in the first half.

The Cowgirls managed to cut the deficit to nine points with 4:09 left in the first half, trailing 29-20. Then, the Golden Eagles went on a 6-4 run to end the first half with 37-24 advantage.

The second half brought struggles offensively for Southern Miss. On the other hand, the Cowgirls shot 42 percent from the field in the second half in comparison to the Golden Eagles shooting 29 percent.

McNeese State opened in the second half with a three pointer from Allison Baggett. From there, both team scored evenly for the next 12 points of the game with Southern Miss leading 43-33 with 14:18 remaining in the game.

Southern Miss began to reach its rocky point of offensive troubles though. McNeese State was able to get in a offensive groove with five McNeese State players scoring in a 14-4 run for the Cowgirls, tying the game at 47-47 with 7:14 remaining in the game.

Then, it took one minute and 19 seconds for either team score. Kierra Jordan converted on a layup in the paint but then Frederica Haywood answered in return with a layup of her on for McNeese State.

As the game winded down, the two teams scored back and forth and were tied three times within the final five minutes of the game.

With 30 seconds remaining in the game, Jerontay Clemons missed a jump shot, forcing the Golden Eagles to foul to stop the clock.

Baggett converted on both free throw attempts to give McNeese State (3-1) the 57-55 victory.

For the game, Southern Miss shot 46 percent from the field, won the points in the paint battle 26-20 and points off turnovers 18-9. However, McNeese State won the battle of second chance points with 20 in comparison to Southern Miss with two.

Jerontay Clemons led all scorers for the Golden Eagles with 15 points followed by Kierra Jordan with 12 and Brooke Rhodes with nine.

For McNeese State, Victoria Rachal scored 13 points to lead the Cowgirls in scoring, followed by Allison Baggett and Talisa Boyd with 12 points respectively.

The Golden Eagles will host the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday. The teams in the tournament include Austin Peay, North Carolina A&T and Oral Roberts. Southern Miss will play its first game Friday at 3 p.m. against Austin Peay.