HATTIESBURG, MS (WLBT) - The Lady Eagles of Southern Miss women’s basketball fell 62-48 to North Texas on Saturday afternoon in Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss (8-7, 0-2) had shining moments in its matchup with North Texas (9-5, 2-0), but ultimately fell to the Mean Green after shots just wouldn’t drop for the Lady Eagles. USM kept up with the Mean Green for the majority of the game, posting double digit points in three out of four quarters, but UNT had the momentum to propel themselves past Southern Miss in the end. Four different players on the Lady Eagle squad had 3-pointers, but it was shots from the field that were a struggle.
“We have to be overcomers,” said Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. “We’ll continue to work, stay true to the grind and persevere. We will continue to watch our young budding stars, encourage them and let them continue to flourish and challenge those veteran players every single day to take that responsibility.”
“If you go back since Christmas, who has led us in scoring?” Said McNelis. “It’s our freshmen. The star, Daishai Almond has really come to the top the ladder; she’s really been that difference maker. She’s really begun to soar for us, and that’s a bright spot.”
It was those young budding stars who kept Southern Miss on the grind against the Mean Green, with true freshman Daishai Almond leading the team with 13 points. She had a career-high 7-for-10 performance on the free throw line, and was 3-for-6 from the field. She, along with Allie Kennedy and Shonte Hailes, led the team in assists with two. Kennedy also had two 3-pointers for the night, and finished with two steals as well. Alarie Mayze played the most minutes out of her teammates and finished leading the team in rebounds with six, and was 3-for-6 from the field.
“I thought we did some really good things; our matchup zone and our contained press were very good in the first half. I was pleased. We have not done a very good job at being able to score the basketball. We’ve been very hesitant and have not played very solid in trying to score the basketball. I think our woes are the third quarter. It’s got to be a situation where we take some ownership in that, and I do as a head coach, that’s my responsibility to be able to challenge them. We may have to start practicing in quarters, we’ve got to come up with something as a staff to be able to make some changes here.”
Changes are soon to come, as the Lady Eagles head on a two-game road trip later in the coming week. Southern Miss will head to Middle Tennessee for a matchup on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 6:30pm, and then to UAB for a Saturday afternoon matchup on Jan. 12 at 2pm. “Going on the road, you’re away from distractions at home,” said McNelis. “You’re able to control distractions and get film sessions in, it’s more relaxed, you’re able to be around them as coaches.”