JACKSON – Stephanie Murphy didn’t need a postgame stat sheet to figure out why her Tupelo Lady Wave lost its 5A state tournament opener to Hattiesburg, 59-51 in overtime, Friday at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The coach watched her team get outrebounded – 38 to 28.
She winced at every one of her team’s 30 turnovers.
“That’s a bad combination when you get to the coliseum,” Murphy said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to win by turning the ball over so much.”
Hattiesburg (17-10), despite struggling from the free throw line in the four-minute overtime period (5-of-14), was aided by four Tupelo turnovers.
Tied at 47-47 in regulation, the Lady Tigers took a 53-49 lead on a layup by Anitra Anderson.
The Lady Wave answered with its final points on two free throws by Amber Jackson with 1 minute, 48 seconds remaining to cut Hattiesburg’s lead to 53-51. Jackson finished with 13 points.
Tupelo (26-7) came up empty on its next five possessions – two missed shots and three turnovers.
“The turnovers killed us,” said senior guard Maggie McFerrin, who led the Lady Wave with 17 points. “Hattiesburg deserved to win the game. I know we could have won if we had played smarter.”
A turnover in the final seconds of regulation was typical of Tupelo’s afternoon at the Big House.
Senior Treneisha Trice rebounded a missed Hattiesburg free throw attempt with 8.2 seconds remaining and fed an outlet pass to Jackson. After receiving the ball, Jackson fired a pass to an open Mandy Collins streaking down the court for a potential game-winning layup.
But the hurried pass with the clock ticking down sailed over the 6-foot Collins’ head with one second left.
“We were all trying to make plays,” said Collins, a senior post player. “We just came up short.”
Just moments before the turnover, Trice had driven the baseline for a layup that missed.
“We just made too many mistakes today,” Murphy said.
Hattiesburg took a 44-42 lead in regulation on a field goal by 6-1 post Shana Lampton, who scored 15 points.
McFerrin answered with an NBA-range 3-pointer to put the Lady Wave on top, 47-46, with 2:10 showing.
Lampton and Jackson traded layups, then the Tigers tied the score at 47-47 on a free throw by Lampton.
“I told (Lampton) if she didn’t rebound and finish layups she was coming out of the game,” Hattieburg coach Caronica DeBose said, then smiled. “It helps a lot when your post player plays defense and rebounds.”
Hattiesburg, which was led in scoring by guard Lenise Stallings with 18, advanced to next week’s semifinals against Horn Lake.
Gene Phelps/Daily Journal