TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Southern Miss women's basketball team withstood a pair of furious comeback efforts in earning its first road win of the season with an 88-71 win over Florida A&M Wednesday night.
Southern Miss improved to 3-2 while FAMU dropped to 2-3.
"This was the best first half we've played all year hands down," coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "We played as a team, we shared the ball, we hit a rhythm and Tanecka Carey was shooting the cover off the ball. We were able to find her and get her some shots.
"I think we got great play in that first half from Jamierra delivering the basketball, Tanecka shooting and Jerontay Clemons was just a solid defender. She held their leading scorer and the nation's second leading scorer to just five points in the half," said McNelis. "We knew they were going to make a run in the second half and they did, but we were able to regain our poise and finish strong."
Senior guard Tanecka Carey scored a career-high 39 points on 15-of-22 shooting that included a record tying seven threes. Jamierra Faulkner recorded a double-double with 14 points and dishing out 12 assists. Jerontay Clemons chipped in 10 points.
The Lady Eagles opened the game scoring the first 11 points before FAMU got on the board scoring with a three-pointer. Southern Miss pushed its lead to 19-3 as four different players scored a basket. FAMU then used a 15-3 run over a four-minute span to cut the lead to four, 22-18. Carey then sparked a 22-7 run to close out the half. Carey hit four triples in that run and finished with six in the half. USM led 44-25 at the half on 53.1 percent shooting.
The Lady Eagles started strong to begin the second half as USM was able to push the lead to 54-30 with just over 16 minutes remaining. After extending the lead to 68-41, USM had to weather the first of two furious runs. FAMU outscored Southern Miss 13-0 over a four-minute span to get the score to 68-54 before Carey connected on a three-pointer to stop the run.
Freshman Jerontay Clemons converted on a three-point play to give the Lady Eagles a 77-59 lead at the 3:48 mark. From there, the Lady Rattlers turned up the defensive pressure and outscored USM 13-1 over 1:45 to cut the lead to seven, 78-71, with 2:03 remaining. However, Southern Miss closed out the half on a 10-0 run.
Jasmine Grice led FAMU with 25 points followed by Kimberly Sparkman with 13 and Patrice Collie had 12.
Southern Miss finished the game shooting 52.3 percent from the field and pulled down 41 rebounds.