BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Old Dominion women's basketball team fell to Southern Miss, 80-74, in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Conference USA Championship presented by MetroPCS on Thursday evening at Bartow Arena.
After Jennie Simms tied the game at 74-74 with an acrobatic runner in the lane with 1:14 remaining, Southern Miss' (22-9) Lashyra Cotton hit a jumper from the top of the key to put the Lady Eagles back ahead 76-74 with 34 seconds to play. Old Dominion (17-14) then could not convert on the other end and the Lady Eagles held on for the victoty.
"I felt like in the fourth quarter we got tight against their defense," said head coach Karen Barefoot. "I think we lost a little bit of confidence and got nervous. They’re a great team but I’m proud of how we battled. I can’t say enough about my seniors and how they battled."
Simms led ODU with 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Annika Holopainen tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds for her second career double-double. Keyana Brown finished third on the team in scoring with seven points.
After the Lady Monarchs jumped out to an early 14-11 lead, Southern Miss utlized an 8-0 run midway through the first quarter to seize the lead and carry a 21-17 advantage into the second quarter.
ODU then built a double-digit lead in the second quarter, holding Southern Miss to just two points in the final 6:36 of the half. The Lady Monachs ended the half on a 13-2 run to lead by 43-32 at the break. In the first half, ODU shot 52 percent from the field and 60 percent from the field.
The Lady Eagles surged back in the third quarter, as Southern Miss hit eight of their last nine field goals in the quarter. USM outscored ODU, 26-18, in the third and trimmed the ODU lead to three at 61-58 heading into the fourth quarter.
Southern Miss opened the fourth with a 6-0 run to take a 64-61 lead with under eight to play and the Lady Monarchs could never regain the lead, as USM held on to advance to the tournament semifinals.
Overall, ODU shot 40 percent from the field and 49 percent from three, while USM shot 49 percent. The Lady Monarchs held a 39-35 advantage on the glass, but the Lady Eagles outscored ODU, 44-24, in the paint.