MU Women's Road Woes Continue At USM, 77-51

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Pauline Love scored 24 points as the University of Southern Mississippi downed the Marshall University women's basketball team, 77-51 in Conference USA action on Saturday at the Reed Green Coliseum. It marked the fourth loss in the last five games for Marshall and gave the Herd a 1-3 record on current stretch of C-USA road games and the loss in Charleston, W.Va. to WVU.

For Southern Miss, Pauline Love was one of four Eagles to hit double figures in the win. The Eagles (12-9, 3-5 C-USA) scorched the nets, shooting 61.4 percent for the game, including 4-of-8 from three-point range. Marshall (12-10, 4-4 C-USA) was led by 17 points from so[homore forward Alyssa Hammond while senior point guard Kizzy Hart finished with 11.

Southern Miss shot 61.9 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 42-23 halftime lead. The Eagles opened up a 16-5 lead just over five minutes into the game and would see it grow to 21-9. USM had three players in double figures in the first stanza, led by 13 courtesy of Stephanie Helgeson.

Meanwhile, the Herd was shooting just 29.6 percent in the opening half, as Hammond and Hart each scored eight apiece in the first 20 minuteof the game. Early foul trouble also played a large role, with MU junior guard Casey Baker being tagged for three fouls early in the half and freshman center Tynikki Crook getting hit with two fouls only five minutes into the game.

After keeping the score relatively close early in the second half, the game got out of reach for the Herd pretty quickly midway through the final 20 minutes. The Eagles opened up a lead of as many as 32 points, 62-31, before the Herd out-scored Southern Miss 20-to-15 down the stretch. Marshall would get to within 22 points before USM would finish the game with a 26-point win.

Hammond, 5-of-7 from the field plus five rebounds, and Hart were the only Herd players to finish the game in double figures. Sophomore forward Chantelle Handy and junior forward Kendra King also had five boards apiece to lead the Herd on the glass.

King, who has seen her playing time decrease this year with a more guard-oriented style of offense for the Herd, played 23 minutes against the Eagles, just one minute short of her season-high of 24 minutes in the first win of the season at Morehead State. She scored nine points, including her first three-pointer of the season, in addition to her five boards.

MU freshman guard Rebecca Bays also saw significant time, playing a career-high 13 minutes. Bays recorded her first career field goal in the first half.

For Southern Miss, Love led the Eagles 24 points while Stephanie Helgeson added 17 points. USM's Amber Eugene and Kendra Reed finished with 13 and ten points, respectively. Saturday's loss continued Marshall's struggles at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg, Miss. Last season, the Herd fell 82-44. In 2006, Southern Miss grabbed a 67-63 win.

On Thursday the Herd will face the No. 1 team and only undefeated team in Conference USA, 8-0 UTEP, who is 17-2 overall. UTEP will be the first home game in almost three weeks for the Herd, and the game tips at 7 p.m. Next Sunday, Marshall will travel to New Orleans to face Tulane (11-10, 1-7) before returning home for its final four home games of the season, vs. Central Florida (8-12, 1-6) on Feb. 15; vs. Southern Miss on Feb. 17, which is the date of Marshall's annual "Sweetheart Clinic" for girls 12 and under (see for information); vs. Memphis (5-15, 2-5) on Feb. 21; and vs. UAB (10-10, 6-1) on Feb. 23. The Herd will finish the year in Texas at crosstown rivals Rice (8-13, 1-6) and Houston (12-9, 6-1) before heading to the Conference USA Women's Tournament in Orlando, Fla. on March 6-9 at the New UCF Arena.

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