Southern Miss (7-2) hosted No. 5 Mississippi State University (9-0) this Saturday, falling to the Bulldogs 72-50. MSU’s win ties the all-time series 22-22.
“They’re bigger, faster, stronger and I think everybody got an opportunity to see that today.” said Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. “We looked like ants out there.”
MSU’s starting five’s height advantage was noticeable from the start of the game. With 3-of-5 starters being six-foot or taller, the Lady Eagles’ disadvantage was already ready apparent on paper. Southern Miss’ starting five consisted of Keri Jewett-Giles, Brittanny Dinkins, Jayla King, Megan Brown and Shonte Hailes. Brown was the tallest in the lineup, recorded at five-feet, 10-inches.
The first quarter would be all Mississippi State as they scored 21 points off of 8-of-17 shooting with 16 rebounds. The Bulldogs managed to outscore the Lady Eagles by 15 and outrebounded Southern Miss by 11. The performance by MSU allowed them to obtain a 15-point lead, 21-6 with 12 seconds left in the first quarter.
“I am proud that we fought, how we fought.” Lee-McNelis said. “We need to continue to sharpen the mental aspect of it… we have to overcome frustration, we have to overcome our struggles, we have to overcome when we do something exciting and lose it and give up a basket.”
Allowing the opposition to score after a productive run was the downfall for the Lady Eagles.
After cutting the deficit to nine in the second half, the Lady Eagles allowed MSU to push the lead even further, 31-16. The Lady Eagles were able to outrebound MSU in the quarter 10-9, but made costly mistakes, giving MSU an 11-point lead going into halftime, 33-22.
Slowly digging into the lead, the Lady Eagles could never find enough momentum to give them the edge to rally in the second half. The Lady Eagles would manage to get the lead down to nine, but soon after MSU managed to balloon the lead, obtaining its highest lead in the fourth quarter at 24, 72-48.
Southern Miss will look to gain its next win on Dec. 19 against California in the Las Vegas Classic. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m.