HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Hard to say that the University of Southern Mississippi “stole” a women’s basketball victory Tuesday morning from crosstown opponent William Carey University.
But the Lady Eagles did come up with 20 steals to contribute mightily to the Lady Crusaders’ 32 turnovers as USM picked up a 77-47 season-opening victory during “Education Day” at Reed Green Coliseum.
USM (1-0) opened up a 36-25 halftime lead and then outscored Carey (0-2) by 19 in the final two quarters.
Eleven Lady Eagles appeared in the game, and eight scored, led by senior forward Alaire Mayze’s 15 Maize also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Senior forward Respect Leaphart added 12 points, a team-high five rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. Senior guard Shonte Hailes added 11 points, three assists and four steals.
USM dominated inside offensively, scoring 52 points “in the paint,” including 20 fast-break points. Thirty of the Lady Eagles’ points came off turnovers.
Oddly, despite the inside scoring dominance, Carey out-rebounded USM 41-35, led by senior forward Lachan Terrell’s seven boards.
But Carey not only was undone by its turnovers but icy, second-half shooting (8-of-25). The Lady Crusaders managed to score just 11 points in each of the final two quarters.
Carey got 31 points off its bench, including a team-high 10 points from freshman Lauren Rowley and nine points from senior Tariah Mouton. The Lady Crusaders got a combined 16 points from its five starters.
Starting sophomore guard McKinley Seal scored just three points, but pulled down five rebounds and handed out three assists.
The Lady Eagles will head to Starkville to take on 10th-ranked Mississippi State University at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Lady Crusaders are idle for two weeks before returning to the court on Nov. 19 at Southeastern Baptist College in Laurel.HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) -