HATTIESBURG, Miss., – Emma Wallen scored a game-high 22 points, including a go-ahead three-point basket in the final minute of overtime to lead North Alabama to a 69-65 road victory at Southern Mississippi Monday in the second round of the Women's Basketball Invitational. With the win, UNA improves to 21-8 and extends its season to play at either North Texas or Utah State in the third round.
The Lions outscored USM 8-4 in the extra period after the Golden Eagles rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 3:23 of regulation. UNA had a chance to win in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, but could not get a shot off as time expired.
In overtime, Southern Mississippi took the lead with a three-pointer at the 3:07 mark. The Golden Eagles would not connect from the floor again. Savannah Stults took a transition pass from Ivy Wallen for a layup to cut the deficit to a single point with 2:59 remaining. Neither team scored again until the final minute of play.
After the Lions got a defensive stop, Ansley Eubank found Emma on the left wing for an open trey to give UNA a 66-64 lead with 45.4 seconds left. Brittany Panetti came up with a blocked shot and defensive rebound on the ensuing USM possession and Ivy hit 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the lead to 67-64.
Southern Mississippi ran the clock down to 2.3 seconds before drawing a foul. The Golden Eagles Alarie Mayze hit the first free throw before intentionally missing the second. UNA secured the rebound and Emma hit both free throw with less than a second on the clock to secure the win.
In a game that featured eight ties and 13 lead changes, Southern Mississippi took a 31-30 lead into the half. The Golden Eagles led 49-46 heading into the fourth quarter before UNA began to take control. Panetti started an 11-0 run with a basket and free throw to tie the game at 49-49. She added another basket before Stults and Emma Wallen each hit three-pointer to give the Lions a 57-49 lead and force a USM timeout at the 3:48 mark.
USM slowly chipped away at the lead, tying the game at 61-61 with two free throws with 14.5 seconds remaining. UNA called a timeout, but could not get a shot off before the buzzer.
Panetti was 8-of-11 from the floor and finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Keynsha Coulson added 14 points and eight rebounds. Stults, who was 2-for-2 from three-point range, rounded out the top scorers for the Lions with 11 points.
Shonte Hailes led Southern Mississippi (18-14) with 15 points.
Lions Top Southern Miss in WBI Quartefinals, 69-65 Behind Panetti's 18 Points
|North Alabama (21-8)||16||14||16||15||8||69|
|Southern Miss. (18-14)||17||14||18||12||4||65|