Lady Eagles rebound with win over Samford

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The Southern Miss women’s basketball team remained unbeaten at Reed Green Coliseum and returned to the win column with a 76-40 win over the Samford Lady Bulldogs on Sunday. The Lady Eagles dropped their first game of the season on the road against South Alabama on Nov. 14.

Just as they did in their previous home game against Grambling State on Nov. 11, the Lady Eagles asserted themselves right out of the gate on both sides of the court, scoring 18 unanswered points and holding the Lady Bulldogs scoreless up until the last five seconds of the first quarter. Junior forward Alarie Mayze had her way in the paint, racking up four points and four rebounds in the opening period.

Just as they did in their previous home game against Grambling State on Nov. 11, the Lady Eagles asserted themselves right out of the gate on both sides of the court, scoring 18 unanswered points and holding the Lady Bulldogs scoreless up until the last five seconds of the first quarter. Junior forward Alarie Mayze had her way in the paint, racking up four points and four rebounds in the opening period.

A healthy rebounding advantage paired with only three committed turnovers allowed the Lady Eagles to secure an 18-2 advantage entering the second quarter.

Sophomore guard Allie Kennedy provided a big boost for the Lady Eagles in the second quarter, who found her shooting rhythm early and never looked back. Kennedy made five of six shot attempts in the period, including two from behind the arc for 12 points as Southern Miss extended its lead to 36-10 by halftime.

Shooting 58 percent from the field as a team and outrebounding Samford 22-6 in the first half of play, there was little question as to why the Lady Eagles owned such a sizable advantage on the scoreboard.

“We were running that little Fresno handoff,” Kennedy said. “When they ran it towards me, they weren’t switching. That set me up for some open looks. Once we figured that out, I just kind of got into a rhythm, and of course my teammates were hyping me up to shoot.”

Four quick points from Mayze and another three-point shot from Kennedy ensured there was no loss of momentum for the Lady Eagles to begin the second half. Southern Miss seemed to find the perfect balance between opportunities on the perimeter and penetrating the paint for easy buckets.

Though that mentality has become less common to see throughout the sport, Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said finding high-percentage shots is key to her team’s success.

“We tried not to rely on the three ball,” Lee-McNelis said. “We’ve got some players who can shoot the three ball, but offensively we felt like we could get some things at the rim. A lot of what we ran was to try and break that down to where we could get some easier buckets, and with that action in the paint we were able to find Allie on the kick-out and give her opportunities to make some threes.”

The Lady Eagles continued to receive efficient play off the bench in the fourth quarter, primarily from redshirt freshman center Kelsey Jones, who scored 10 in the period to power the way towards the team’s 76-40 final score.

Kennedy finished with a game-high 17 points, going three for three from the perimeter. Mayze registered 15 points, eight rebounds, two steals and one assist in 29 minutes played. As a unit, the Lady Eagles shot 59 percent from the field and outrebounded Samford 38-15.

Southern Miss, now 3-1 on the season, will be back at Reed Green Coliseum later this week to compete in the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic. The Lady Eagles will face Mississippi Valley State at 6 P.M. on Friday night and Sam Houston State. at 2 P.M. on Saturday.