|Shirley Hill, Associate Director of Athletic Communications
Hattiesburg, Miss. - The Southern Miss women’s basketball team used a balanced scoring attack, placing five players in double figure scoring in defeating FIU 82-55 in Conference USA action Saturday.
Southern Miss improved to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in league play while FIU dropped to 2-13 and 0-5. “I was quite concerned with the matchups against FIU today,” Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. “I was concerned with the matchups with Tianah Alvarado and Taylor Shade. I thought our team responded to the challenges, however, Alvarado did have her way with us. As a team, I thought we played well defensively. I thought we controlled the defensive glass and we were able to get some things going in transition. It just so fun to watch us when we can get the ball out and run the court.”
Caitlin Jenkins netted a double-double with a team-best 16 points and 11 rebounds followed by Jayla King and Jerontay Clemons with 13 points apiece. Brittanny Dinkins and Brittny Norris added 11 points each. Jeri Jewett-Giles dished out seven assists while Dinkins had five assists and four steals.
The Lady Eagles finished the game shooting just under 50 percent at 48.5 while FIU shot 44 percent after starting the opening quarter shooting 89.9 percent. Southern Miss scored the first points of the game before FIU answered with a basket. From there, the Lady Eagles ran off 11 straight points to take a 13-2 lead. FIU then used a 13-5 run to cut the lead to 18-15. The teams traded baskets before Southern Miss scored six unanswered points in building a 16-17 lead. FIU opened the second quarter with a three-pointer to cut the lead to four. After a pair of Norris free throws, FIU added another triple as the Panthers closed the gap to 28-25. For the next 1:20, the Lady Eagles added six straight points. For the final five minutes, the teams traded buckets until the Lady Eagles ended the quarter scoring the final four points in taking a 42-31 lead into the intermission.
Southern Miss scored the first nine points in opening the third quarter, pushing the lead to 51-31. FIU’s Tianah Alvarado provided all five points in the third quarter for the Panthers as the Lady Eagles put 22 points on the board in the period. After three periods, Southern Miss led 64-36. Southern Miss was able to maintain the 20-point advantage for the remainder of the game. All nine players who saw action scored at least three points. Alvarado led FIU with a game-high 22 points and Kristian Hudson added 11 points.
Southern Miss will hit the road beginning at Louisiana Tech on Jan. 24 for three straight road games. The game at LA Tech will be televised on ASN beginning at 12 p.m.