Nashville --- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team dropped its fourth straight Saturday afternoon following a 73-64 loss to Southern Mississippi in the Gentry Center.
The Lady Tigers (3-7) fell behind by as many as 17 points before rallying to within seven with a little less than five minutes left to play. Empty possessions and turnovers down the stretch, however, proved costly during TSU's attempted comeback.
Kim Haynes turned in an impressive performance, finishing the game with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. She knocked down two three-pointers and pulled down three boards.
After a slow start for both teams in the first half, Tennessee State grabbed an 11-8 lead behind a lay-up and free-throw from Kim Haynes with 8:20 left in the frame. Southern Mississippi (5-3), however, took the lead, 15-11, following seven unanswered points.
With 5:14 remaining in the half, a fifteen-foot jumper by Destiney Gaston made the score, 17-15, in favor of Southern Mississippi before the visitors posted seven straight points over a span of about one minute to increase the lead to 24-15 with 4:10 left in the half.
A bucket from Simone Hopes ended a scoring drought before the Lady Tigers went into the locker room trailing Southern Mississippi, 34-25.
In the second half, back-to-back turnovers led to TSU falling behind 38-25. A jumper by Simone Hopes finally gave the Lady Tigers their first points of the half but the Lady Eagles used to straight buckets to go up 42-27.
Kim Haynes connected in the paint to cut the deficit down to 11 points, 42-31, at the 14:46 mark but the Lady Eagles answered right back with a lay-up six seconds later.
Over the next five minutes, both teams traded baskets as USM maintained a double-digit lead. The Lady Eagles used a spurt to build the advantage up to, 59-42, with 8:04 remaining in the half.
With 7:06 on the clock, a three-pointer by Kesi Hess sparked a 9-0 run that brought TSU to within seven, 61-54, with a little less than five minutes remaining. Over the next three possessions, the Lady Tigers missed two lay-ups and committed an untimely turnover while the Lady Eagles scored three straight buckets to go back up by 13, (67-54) with just 1:49 left.
TSU closed to within single digits again but could not overcome the deficit.
The Lady Tigers didn't have an answer for Southern Mississippi's Tanesha Washington as she recorded a double-double with game-highs of 27 points and 17 rebounds. Rachel Vigers tallied 19 points while Jamierra Faulkner also registered a double-double with 12 points and 12 assists.
Tennessee State finished the game shooting 40.7 percent from the field but only connected on 4-of-14 three pointers (28.6 percent). The Lady Tigers were 16-of-20 from the charity stripe (80 percent).
Next the Lady Tigers will host Morehead State on Sunday, Dec. 19 in OVC action. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. in the Gentry Center on "Faith & Family" day.