NORFOLK, Va. -- Behind 12 points and 13 rebounds from junior Ije Ajemba, the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs posted a 53-45 victory over the Southern Miss Lady Eagles on Saturday afternoon at the Ted Constant Center. ODU improved to 6-9 overall on the year and 2-1 in Conference USA, while Southern Miss fell to 8-6 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Jennie Simms who finished the game with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists joined Ajemba in double-figures. Destinee Young added six points and nine rebounds, while leading the team with four blocks.
The Lady Monarchs started the game with energy, taking a quick five-point lead by the 7:14 mark in the first quarter. The Southern Miss put together a quick 7-0 run to take the lead (11-9) with 2:46 left to play, but ODU held USM scoreless for the rest of the quarter to take a 13-11 lead going into the second period.
After the Lady Eagles scored the first four points 50 seconds into the second quarter to regain the lead (15-13), the Lady Monarchs defense clamped down and held USM to 0-for-10 shooting over a 4:37 span. ODU took lead back for the third time (20-15) with 4:02 until halftime, before Jerontay Clemons ended the Southern Miss drought with an old fashioned three-point play. Both teams traded baskets during the last 3:45, but it was Old Dominion that held the two-point 24-22 edge at the intermission.
Old Dominion held Southern Miss to just 30.5 percent from the floor in the first half and was led on the offensive end by Ajemba’s six point and four rebounds.
The Lady Monarchs’ defense continued to stifle the USM offense and held the Lady Eagles scoreless for four minutes, while scoring six unanswered points to take a six-point lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter. Southern Miss then went on a 6-2 spurt to pull within two points with 1:36 left, but Old Dominion finished the period with a four-point advantage (38-34).
With eight minutes left in the game, Old Dominion held the seven-point advantage (41-34), but the Lady Eagles pulled within two points with a little over three minutes left to play. The two teams traded baskets over the next 1:42, but the Lady Monarchs still held the slim lead with 58 seconds left (47-45) which forced the Lady Eagles to foul to stop the clock. Old Dominion got four points from the charity stripe in the final 28 seconds to secure the 53-45 victory.
For the game, ODU shot 37.3 percent from the field, while holding USM to 32.1 percent on 18-of-56 shooting. The Lady Monarchs also out-rebounded the Lady Eagles 45-34.
Clemons led USM with 11 points, while Brittanny Dinkins added 10 points of her own. Defending national rookie of the week Caitlin Jenkins finished the game with nine points and 11 rebounds.
UP NEXT FOR ODU The Lady Monarchs will be back in action on Thursday, Jan. 14 as the team travels to Birmingham, Ala. to take on UAB at 8:00 p.m. The game will be stream live on uabsports.com and through the C-USA Digital Network.
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