By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Southern Miss 79-Rice 60 (PDF Box Score)
HATTIESBURG, MS - Rice redshirt sophomore Nicole Iademarco registered a career-high 26 points but it wasn't enough to help the Owls run their C-USA win streak to five straight, suffering a 79-60 loss Thursday evening at Southern Miss.
The Owls (16-10, 7-8) dropped their first C-USA road since their 81-66 loss at Old Dominion back on Jan. 26 by allowing Southern Miss (18-9, 10-5) to shoot an opponents' season-high 58.0 percent from the floor. The victory was the Lady Eagles' 11th straight at Reed Green Coliseum while Rice fell to 8-6 on the road this season.
Iademarco backed up a 23-point performance last Saturday at UTEP with 26 more points on Thursday, making 10-of-22 shots from the floor, which included a season-high tying five made three-pointers. Junior guard Shani Rainey also scored in double-figures (12 points) while senior guard Maya Hawkins (372 career assists) moved past Yalonda Stiner (1990-93) for seventh place on the school's all-time assists list.
Rice managed to hang close in the opening half, thanks in part to an offensive explosion from Iademarco. After Southern Miss grabbed a 16-14 lead after the opening quarter, the Lady Eagles extended their advantage to 33-22 with 2:36 left in the second quarter. Iademarco responded in a big way over the final 1:15 of the period, scoring eight of her team-high 18 first half points to close the half and pulling the Owls to within 35-30 at the break. During that stretch, Iademarco converted a three-point play, made one of her five three-pointers, and scored on a putback with a floater as time expired.
However, that would be as close as Rice would get the rest of the night after Southern Miss outscored the Owls 19-9 in the third quarter and 25-21 in the fourth.
The Lady Eagles outscored Rice in points off turnovers (28-4) and held a 34-15 advantage in points off the bench. Keri Jewett-Giles led Southern Miss with 23 points while Brittanny Dinkins added 16 points and Lashyra Cotton chipped in 14 points.
The Owls will look to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to Ruston, LA to face the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (16-11, 11-5) at 7 p.m.