Ashley Clark scored a career-high 21 points and three players scored in double figures for Tulsa, but it wasn't enough as Southern Miss claimed a 91-73 win on Saturday afternoon at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg, Miss. TU fell to 10-12 on the season and 4-7 in Conference USA, while USM moved to 19-5 overall and 8-3 in the league.
"I was pleased with the way we shot the ball and the way we handled their pressure," coach Matilda Mossman said. "Offensively we stayed composed and I thought we did a lot of good things. Jamierra Faulkner worked us down defensively. She found the open guy every single time. When you are working so hard to guard her, you forget about the people around her, and she makes the people around her better."
Tamara Jones had 40 points and 10 rebounds to lead all scorers and rebounders, while Jerontay Clemons scored 13, and Faulkner and Voche' Marin both had 11 for Southern Miss. Faulkner had 14 assists and Jones recorded four blocks.
TU had a three-point lead four times to start off the second frame, including a 55-52 lead at the 14:05 mark, but the Golden Eagles went on an 18-1 to claim a 14-point advantage (70-56) with 9:03 remaining in the contest. USM climbed to a game-high 20-point lead with 1:26 on the clock and captured an 18-point victory.
TU shot 48 percent from the field, 57 percent from behind the arc and 55 percent (11-of-20) from the charity stripe, while USM shot 53 percent from the field, just 30 percent from 3-point range, and 94 percent (17-of-18) from the free throw line.
Clark had 21 points, Kelsee Grovey added 17 points and Mariah Turner posted 13, while Kadan Brady tallied seven points and had a team-best six assists for TU.
The Golden Eagles had a 56-15 lead in points off the bench, a 48-28 advantage in points in the paint and a 20-12 lead in points off turnovers.
Southern Miss had a 34-31 lead in rebounds, a 22-19 advantage in assists, a 6-2 lead in blocks and a 6-2 advantage in steals.
Both teams got off to a slow start, missing a combined seven shots to begin the game, but Ashley Clark scored on a layup and added one on a free throw with 17:13 on the clock. Clark scored again before the Golden Eagles scored their first basket at the 16:27 mark, and TU took a 9-5 lead with 5:05 ticked off the clock.
Clark continued to lead the Golden Hurricane as she scored her 10th point at the 13:41 mark in the first half, giving Tulsa a 14-7 advantage. TU climbed to a 13-point advantage twice, including a 25-12 lead at the 9:51 mark and a 27-14 advantage with 9:04 on the clock, but Southern Miss inched back and tied the game at 42-all with 53 seconds remaining in the half. Clark hit a free throw with 25 seconds left to give TU a one-point lead (43-42) at the break.
The Hurricane shot 57 percent in the first half, including 62 percent from behind the arc, and was 6-of-8 from the charity stripe for 75 percent, while the Golden Eagles were 51 percent from the field, just 33 percent from 3-point range and hit 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
Tulsa will return to action on Wednesday, February 19th against LA Tech. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.