After a 76-40 win over Samford on Nov. 18, the Southern Miss women’s basketball team returned to Reed Green Coliseum following the Thanksgiving holiday for the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic. Southern Miss went 1-1 in the two-day event to move to 4-2 on the season.
On Friday, the Lady Eagles faced off against Mississippi Valley State. Southern Miss took a quick 13-11 lead in the first quarter, but the Devilettes battled the Lady Eagles in the second quarter, as both teams scored 14 points apiece and Southern Miss took a narrow 27-25 lead at the halftime break.
Southern Miss maintained a narrow edge over Mississippi Valley State in the second half, outscoring the Devilettes 22-20 in the third quarter and 18-15 in the fourth quarter to come away with a 67-60 win.
Redshirt senior guard Megan Brown lead all scorers in the contest with 19 points and also grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.
Following the game, Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis talked about Brown’s impact on the team.
“She’s that kid that’s going to do it every day and show up every day, Lee-McNelis said. “She’s put so much pressure on herself and has wanted to have a lot of success going into her senior year.”
Juniors Respect Leaphart and Alarie Mayze followed Brown with 10 points apiece. As a team, the Lady Eagles converted 38 percent of their shots on the evening and 84 percent of their free throws.
Against Sam Houston State in the second game on Saturday, the Lady Eagles struggled to create and convert shots early on. Sam Houston State started the game with a 4-0 lead. Sophomore Kennedy Gavin’s free throw conversions at the 7:02 mark in the quarter gave Southern Miss its first points of the game. Sam Houston State outscored Southern Miss 15-9 in the quarter, and the Lady Eagles converted just 20 percent of their shots from the field.
In the second quarter, the Lady Eagles found more of an offensive groove, outscoring Sam Houston State 20-9. Junior Shonte Hailes made a three-point shot as time expired in the half to give the Lady Eagles a 29-21 advantage heading into halftime.
Sam Houston State chipped away at the Southern Miss lead in the third and fourth quarters of the contest. After outscoring Southern Miss 21-20 in the third quarter, the Bearkats tied up the game 51-51 with 7:12 left to play in the fourth quarter and scored nine of the last 12 points scored in the last 3:05 in the contest to come away with the 65-61 win over the Lady Eagles.
“We did not play well,” Lee-McNelis said. “Until we decide that we’re going to show up and we’re going to do what we have to get done pregame, then there’s going to be a lot of games like this.”
Once again, Brown finished with a team-high in points with 17 against the Bearkats. Redshirt junior guard Camille Anderson and redshirt freshman center Kelsey Jones were the only other players who had double-figure scoring nights with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Southern Miss outrebounded Sam Houston State 43-25, but also committed 24 turnovers, compared to 19 for the Bearkats.
The Lady Eagles return to the court on Tuesday for a home contest against Northwestern State. Play at Reed Green Coliseum is set to begin at 6 p.m.