Lady Eagles earn win over Alcorn State

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The Southern Miss Lady Eagles (6-3) returned to action Tuesday night with a 66-47 victory over Alcorn State (1-7) at Reed Green Coliseum. The win came after a 10-day break following a road loss to Tulane and puts the Lady Eagles back into the win column to start a three-game homestand over the holiday season.

Southern Miss jumped out to an early lead with a quick offensive start to the game, a pattern that seems to be the team’s signature attribute so far this season. The Lady Eagles shot 70 percent from the field in the opening period to claim a 19-8 advantage entering the second quarter.

Though the team shot 35.7 percent in the third quarter and 47.1 percent in the fourth, the lead was never in doubt, as the Lady Eagles lead for the entire contest and put away the Lady Braves for their sixth victory of the season.

The team received extra offensive production from junior forward Respect Leaphart in the contest. Leaphart led the team with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 made shots from the free throw line.

“A returning star was born in Respect Leaphart in the first half,” Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “Some of her confidence was really restored in her tonight.”

Sophomore guard Allie Kennedy had another strong performance off the bench, hitting two shots from behind the arc and totaling 12 points on the night. Redshirt senior guard Megan Brown added 13 points along with four rebounds and one block.

While junior guard Shonte Hailes scored only two points on the night, she grabbed six rebounds and also had five assists, two steals and a block.

The win puts Southern Miss in fifth place of the Conference USA standings behind UAB, Middle Tennessee, Rice and Old Dominion.

Southern Miss’ next game will be undoubtedly its greatest challenge of the non-conference slate as they host the No. 5 Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs on Friday, Dec. 14. Last year’s meeting between the two in-state programs was played in Starkville and resulted in a 91-56 victory for Mississippi State. After the game against Mississippi State, Southern Miss will play three more non-conference games before the conference opener against Rice on Jan. 3.

Tip-off against Mississippi State at Reed Green Coliseum is set for 6 p.m.