Southern Miss’ defense proved to be the difference in its 58-38 win over Sam Houston State.
The Lady Eagles held the Bearkats to shooting 28.6 percent from the field and outrebounding them, 45-32.
“We started the first quarter [with] some foul trouble early,” said Head Coach Joy Lee-McNelis. “I had some bad combinations in the game. I thought [Sam Houston State] played really well in that time. We just made a lot of offensive mistakes and a lot of defensive mistakes.”
In the first quarter, the Lady Eagles took a quick 4-0 lead over the Bearkats. However, early foul trouble from Southern Miss put Sam Houston ahead but a layup from freshman Allie Kennedy tied the game 8-8.
Sam Houston St. found offensive momentum at the start of the second quarter as it took a 16-10 lead. Southern Miss rallied with an 11-0 run that was kickstarted by sophomore Alarie Mayze. The run put the Lady Eagles ahead 21-16 at halftime.
At the start of the second half, the Lady Eagles maintained the offensive momentum, resulting in a 12-0 run. By the end of the third quarter the Lady Eagles outscored the Bearkats 25-8 which secured the win for Southern Miss.
In this stint between the halves, the Lady Eagles held Sam Houston St. to a 23-0 run as well as holding them scoreless for over eight minutes.
“We cranked them up at halftime,” McNelis said. “I feel like they really accepted the challenge and made a lot of things happen for us out of the defense. When we started our full court press, they were very aggressive in it. They were able to make some things happen for us out of our defense that created opportunities for us offensively.”
Seniors Jayla King and Megan Brown both led the team with double-doubles. King finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Brown finished with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
The Lady Eagles will go on the road to face Samford on Dec. 19 and then travel to face Georgia Tech on Dec. 21, both games are scheduled for 12 p.m.