After defeating UTSA on Jan. 27, the Southern Miss women’s basketball team (12-8, 4-3 C-USA) could not make it two wins in a row, falling to the Rice Owls on Thursday night in Houston.
Rice and Southern Miss both shot 50 percent or more from the court in the first half, with Southern Miss converting exactly half of their shots and Rice making 53.8 percent of its shots.
The difference, however, was three-point shooting. The Lady Eagles were 0-for-2 from three in the first half, while Rice made four of its three-point attempts and allowed them to head into halftime with a 35-27 lead.
Rice held Southern Miss to just nine points in the third quarter to expand its lead, but the Lady Eagles made things interesting in the fourth.
Led by Jayla King, Megan Brown and Alarie Mayze, who started at the point guard position in place of Shonte Hailes, the Lady Eagles outscored Rice 20-16 in the final quarter. The Lady Eagles got within four points of the Owls with 1:39 left to play after a King three-point shot, but the Owls responded with four more points to escape with the 62-56 win.
On the offensive side of the ball, three Lady Eagles had double-digit scoring games. King led all Southern Miss players with 27 points on the night, her second-highest scoring output on the season, and added eight rebounds on top of that. Brown had 11 points and Mayze finished with 10 points.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis was pleased with her team’s effort.
“We played extremely hard,” Lee-McNelis said. “We made defensive stop after defensive stop, but we could not get a bucket to close the gap.”
The Lady Eagles return to action on Feb. 4 when they face Marshall at Reed Green Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.