HATTIESBURG, Miss.– Southern Miss rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit in defeating Texas Southern 79-69 Thursday night in the first round of the WNIT.
Southern Miss improved to 23-10 while Texas Southern dropped to 19-10.
Tamara Jones led all scorers with a game-high 26 points to go with 11 rebounds. Jerontay Clemons added nine points while six other Lady Eagles scored six or more points.
Southern Miss shot an impressive 59.4 percent in the second half. The Lady Eagles finished the game outscoring TSU 44-16 on points in the paint.
Southern Miss also outscored TSU 19-8 on second chance points. The Lady Eagles came up with 30 points off 18 TSU turnovers.
Southern Miss took a 7-1 lead to start the game, Texas Southern then used a 19-6 run over 5:25 in taking a 22-15 lead.
The Tigers continued to hit timely shots and pushed the lead to 29-20 with 5:05 to go before the half. Kierra Jordan hit a basket underneath, but TSU answered with a basket and free throw to push the lead to double digits, 32-22. Southern Miss fought back to cut the lead to 34-30, but TSU hit three straight three-pointers for the 43-30 lead with under a minute remaining in the half.
Megan Brown hit a three to draw Southern Miss within 10 at the half, 43-33.
Southern Miss opened the second half outscoring TSU 14-3 in taking a 47-46 lead just four minutes into the second half.
Jones did most of the damage eight of the 14 points, including the completion of a four-point play.
With that four-point play, Jones became the 24th member of the 1,000 point club and more importantly, put the Lady Eagles ahead for the first time since 11-10 in the first half.
The teams traded baskets over alternating possessions before the Lady Eagles scored 10 straight points for the 59-50 lead.
TSU managed to cut the lead to 59-57 using a 7-0 run, but Southern Miss got back-to-back threes from Brooke Rhodes and Clemons to push the lead to eight, 65-57. Over the final eight minutes, Southern Miss led by as many as 16, but TSU hit a pair of threes and free throws to get within 10 in the final minute.