HATTIESBURG, Miss. - East Carolina out-shot Southern Miss 44.4 - 41.2-percent from the field, but a career-high 39 points from Jamierra Faulkner doomed the Pirates as they dropped an 82-80 overtime contest to the Golden Eagles. ECU falls to 16-3 overall and 4-2 in C-USA action, while Southern Miss improves to 14-5 on the year and 3-3 in league play.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne was one rebound shy of a double-double as she led the Pirates in scoring with 27 points to go along with nine boards, two steals and an assist. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice notched 22 points in the contest and added five rebounds, a team-best three steals and two assists. Senior forward Kristine Mial came off the bench and scored 15 points while contributing four boards, and an assist. Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw registered a game-high 12 rebounds and put up a game-high three blocks in the setback.
Despite the loss, East Carolina out-rebounded Southern Miss, 50-37. The Pirates also held the edge in assists, 16-12, and blocks 4-2. However, the Golden Eagles collected 15 steals to ECU's eight and forced the Pirates into 23 turnovers as USM capitalized on points off of turnovers as the Golden Eagles scored 19.
The first half was a defensive fight as both teams were limited offensively. East Carolina shot 30.8-percent from the field, while Southern Miss was limited to just 21.9-percent. ECU held the edge in rebounding as the Pirates tallied 29 to the Golden Eagles' 19. The first 20 minutes of action saw five ties and as many lead changes.
A J'Kyra Brown bucket at 6:01 tied the game at 16-all and sparked a 9-0 run by the Pirates as they took a 23-16 advantage with 3:30 on the clock. The Golden Eagles registered five points throughout the remainder of the half, but East Carolina kept them at bay as the Pirates took a 30-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
East Carolina led by as many as 18 points (57-39) in the second half, but the Golden Eagles refused to quit as they chipped away at the Pirates' lead. Southern Miss rallied and went on an 11-0 run to cut the Pirates' lead to five (59-54) with 5:17 remaining in the game. The Golden Eagles used the last five minutes of regulation to come back and tie the game at 69-all to force overtime action.
The overtime period was a back-and-forth affair that saw four ties in five minutes. East Carolina led by two (79-77) when Southern Miss' Brittanny Dinkins' hit a three to put the Golden Eagles up 80-79 with less than one minute left to play. The Pirates managed to tie the game at 80-all after Payne sunk the backend of a pair of free throws with 34 seconds remaining, but USM's Tamara Jones hit a jumper with just five seconds on the clock to seal the victory for the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss was led by Faulkner's 39 points, game-high five assists, and four steals. Dinkins finished the game with 13 points to go along with five rebounds.
East Carolina returns home on Wednesday, January 29, to host Old Dominion. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.