Southern Miss (12-10, 5-5 C-USA) extended its winning streak to four games with a 67-45 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday. With the win, the Lady Eagles have now won five of their last six contests.
“We have continued to make strides,” Southern Miss head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We started out the season 0-4 and ever since that point we have found ourselves. I think the reason for that is the play of Shonte Hailes. I think our team as a unit is playing a lot better. I thought it was huge for Kennedy Gavin for having a career high tonight. We are only as good as a team but as a collectively as a team, I think we have really come together.
Florida Atlantic jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but a successful layup from junior guard Shonte Hailes and a jumper from redshirt senior guard Megan Brown helped the Lady Eagles tie the game up at 6-6. After that, Sophomore Kennedy Gavin caught fire scoring eight straight points on four shots for the Lady Eagles. It was until the end of the first quarter that Southern Miss pushed the lead 22-6 with a pair of shots from Gavin and junior Allie Kennedy. Hailes finished off the first quarter with a steal then a three-pointer at the buzzer.
After the first quarter, Southern Miss led 26-11. However, Southern Miss only managed to score eight points in the second quarter while allowing Florida Atlantic to score 12. The Lady Eagles still kept the lead at the half with a score of 34-23.
Gavin was the leading scorer in the half for Southern Miss with 10 points. Hailes finished the half with six points, while Brown had eight points and three rebounds.
The two teams came out of the break and played another low-scoring quarter, with both Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic scoring 10 points in the third period. Southern Miss managed to keep the lead and the energy heading into the fourth quarter, outscoring Florida Atlantic 23-12 to take the 67-45 win.
Hailes finished the game with 24 points, including four three-pointers. Gavin also had a career-high in points with 18. The Lady Eagles also capitalized with 22 points off of turnovers.
Coach Lee-McNelis talked about the team’s four-game winning streak and what it means moving forward.
“It builds confidence,” Lee-McNelis said. “Building that confidence is so important but we can’t allow them to get comfortable. We got to continue to challenge them. The four-game winning streak is them coming together”
The Lady Eagles have six games remaining in the regular season following the win. Southern Miss is set to play on the road against Louisiana Tech on Feb 16. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.