The Southern Miss Lady Eagles (9-10, 1-5 C-USA) were back at home to face Old Dominion on Saturday in a game that went down to the wire. Both teams traded points and lead changes late in the game, but Old Dominion managed to come out with the 53-50 win.
“We pretty much controlled the game for two and a half quarters, then we had to fight for our lives for the remainder of the game,” Southern Miss head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We had some crunch situations where they were hitting buckets. We get it into one, but we didn’t execute our plays.”
At the beginning of the first quarter, Southern Miss got off to a 9-2 start to the game before a timeout was called. It was a collection of points from redshirt junior Camille Anderson, junior Alarie Mayze and redshirt freshman Kelsey Jones that kickstarted the run.
Junior guard Shonte Hailes also hit a long three to give the team a spark in the quarter. The Lady Eagles held a 14-8 lead by the end of the quarter.
Southern Miss continues to hold the lead early in the second quarter, with Hailes leading the team with six points and a steal. The team ended the first half with a three-pointer by redshirt senior guard Megan Brown at the buzzer to extend the lead to 30-21 at halftime. Brown was the leading scorer in the half with 7 points.
Old Dominion opened up the third quarter by shooting and making two free throws. The Monarchs inched closer to the lead by hitting a subsequent three. Despite the slow start by the Lady Eagles, they managed to gain separation on another three-point attempt by Brown at the 4:59-mark to shift the momentum.
The Lady Eagles led 36-32 heading into the fourth and final quarter of the game, but Old Dominion managed to take a 47-45 lead with 3:07 left in the game. Though the Lady Eagles tied the game up at 49-49 with 1:15 remaining, Old Dominion hit a field goal with 12 seconds remaining to go up 51-49.
Southern Miss had a chance to tie the game at 51-51 following an Old Dominion foul with seven seconds left, but Jones missed the second free throw after making the first attempt. The Monarchs converted two subsequent free throws to extend their lead and final score to 53-50.
“We’ve been up in situation and we’ve been down in situation but we didn’t play with poise,” Lee-McNelis said. “The biggest difference in the game was rebounding and they totally controlled the glass.”
Old Dominion outrebounded Southern Miss 42-30, including 30 defensive rebounds. Jones finished as the leading scorer for the Lady Eagles with 11 points, followed by Brown with 10 points.
Southern Miss will travel to play Western Kentucky on Thursday, January 24th. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.