Western Kentucky free throws helps defeat Lady Eagles, 81-60

Coach Joye Lee-McNelis was diagnosed with lung cancer in early February, missing time from the sidelines from her time.

Southern Miss dropped its second conference game against Western Kentucky, 81-60 in Bowling Green, Ky.

Foul trouble from the Lady Eagles allowed the Lady Toppers to step to the free throw line 26 times. Western Kentucky shot 85% from the free throw, 22-for-26, which later proved to be the difference by the end of the game.

Four different Lady Eagles recorded three or more fouls with sophomore Alarie Mayze recording four and senior Jayla King fouling out.

In the first half, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky featured seven different lead changes and four ties.

Tied at 12-12 in the first quarter, the Lady Eagles managed to put space in-between and take a five-point lead, 21-16.

However, Southern Miss’ shooting fell apart in the second quarter as it shot 1-for-12 from the field. Western Kentucky took advantage of the Lady Eagles’ shooting problems and closed the half with an 8-2 run to take a 33-28 halftime lead.

The Lady Eagles battled back at the start of the second half to take a 45-44 lead but the Lady Toppers managed to stay ahead 55-50, at the end of third quarter.

Western Kentucky outscored Southern Miss 26-10 in the fourth quarter to give the Lady Toppers the win. Western Kentucky’s Ivy Brown led the team with 23 points and Tashia Brown finished with 22 points.

King and junior Megan Brown both led the Lady Eagles with 16 points.

“We made some critical errors at critical times in the game, but this is the first time we played well for 30 minutes,” said Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. “That’s a huge step.”

Southern Miss will look to pick up its first conference win as they return to Reed Green Coliseum to face rival Louisiana Tech on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.