Tigers Need Overtime to Get Past Southern Miss, 80-74

Feb. 21, 2013


HATTIESBURG, Miss. - - Ariel Hearn scored 10 of Memphis' last 12 points in the final four minutes of the game, but it took overtime for the Tigers (15-11, 6-6 C-USA) to get past Southern Miss (12-13, 4-8 C-USA), Thursday night. Hearn finished with 22 points, with all but two of those coming in the second half and in the overtime session.

"We are absolutely in control of our own destiny with that win," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We talked about it before the game in the locker room that this is not where we wanted to be in the C-USA standings and that a win tonight would put us right back up there in the thick of things. I got to hand this to our team. We challenged them to become rebounders and they came out and out-rebounded our opponents by 25, led by 16 from Nicole Dickson."

The Tigers got off to a slow start, hitting 2 of their first 10 shots while USM went a perfect 5-for-5 on their first looks to open up to a quick 9-0 lead that forced a Tiger timeout before the game even got to its first media timeout. But senior Nicole Dickson had seen enough and scored 11 straight points to help the Tigers cut their double-digit deficit to 18-13 with 11:54 to play.

Memphis kept pulling within a bucket of USM, only to be answered by points in transition from USM guard Jamierra Faulkner, who had 12 first half points to hold off the Tigers. But Dickson checked in after the under eight media timeout, and the rest helped her legs, as she slipped the zone and hit a runner in the paint to tie the game for the third time at 26 with 3:39 to play. But that was the final Tiger bucket of the half. Both teams would miss opportunities to build any lead until Southern Miss finally connected on a three-point field goal from Tanecka Carey with 55 seconds left in the half. Memphis would have chances to get up the floor to work on that 29-26 lead, but Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir could not connect with Pa'Sonna Hope in transition and the Tigers hit the locker room down at the break despite out-rebounding USM 28-16 in the first half.

But after just four Tigers scored field goals in the first half, they balanced out the offense in the second half, starting a see-saw that saw seven ties and 11 lead changes. Memphis took a 65-60 lead as Hearn was in the midst of scoring 10 of Memphis' 12 points to retake the lead. But the Tigers missed some chances to ice the game as the shot clock ran down and the Tigers didn't get a shot off, and Faulkner slashed right up the court and went across the paint to lay it in with one second left on the clock to tie the game for the seventh time.

"We got some big buckets from multiple players tonight," McFerrin said. "Pa'Sonna Hope came in and gave us big minutes, Asianna Fuqua-Bey hit some big shots, we certain missed Ann Jones (who remained in Memphis due to a family illness), but we got big contributions from everyone tonight."

USM went up early in the overtime session with an uncontested look at the rim off the tip, but Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who had struggled shooting in regulation, drained her first and only triple of the night to retake the lead at 69-68. Faulkner answered back with another drive to the rim and a Nitesha Pierce layin pushed the home team up 72-69 with 3:39 to play in overtime, but again, Abdul-Qaadir hit a jumper off an offensive rebound and another offensive putback, this one from Hearn, put Memphis in front again with 2:42 to play at 73-72.

USM again had an answer, this one from Jerontay Clemons who was left wide open and converted for the 74-73 USM lead, but Memphis went back inside and found Asianna Fuqua-Bey for a bucket to retake the lead for good at 75-74 with 1:03 to play in the extra session. The Tigers then went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line to ice the win, 80-74.

Dickson finished with a double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Hearn added 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Pa'Sonna Hope came off the bench and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds while Abdul-Qaadir finished with 10 points and six assists in 39 minutes of play.

The Tigers return home Sunday to host UTEP in a 2 p.m. game at FedExForum. Admission will be free for all fans for that game. The game will start just as Youth Villages' Soup Sunday festitivites are coming to an end, so fans wanting to attend just the women's basketball game and not the Soup Sunday festivities are asked to enter through the P1 Entrance in the parking garage. Free parking will be available in the parking garage for all fans.

Anyone who attends Soup Sunday will also receive free admission to the game. Soup Sunday attendees will all receive free general admission entry into the game. Fans holding a season ticket will have a designated section available to them before the game tips. That game will also be the Tigers' Alumni Day, where all former women's basketball players in attendance will be recognized at halftime. Former players are asked to email Megan MacLeod to be included on the list of honorees at halftime. Her email address is mmcleod1@memphis.edu.

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