USM women take down Ole Miss in defensive affair

USM women take down Ole Miss in defensive affair
SOURCE: USM Athletics (Source: .)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Lady Eagles defeated the Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday night in Reed Green Coliseum 59-53 after an extremely close contest.Southern Miss (4-1) defeated Ole Miss (2-2) in a neck-and-neck contest with the Rebels.

The first quarter saw the two teams tie at 12 to finish it out, both scoring eight of the 12 points in the paint. Amber Landing had four boards in the first quarter alone. But in the second quarter, Southern Miss pulled away, outscoring the Rebels 19-10. The Lady Eagles scored eight of their 19 in the paint, and four points off of fast breaks.

Respect Leaphart hit a good 3-pointer to really kick things off after following a good jumper from Kelsey Jones. Alarie Mayze would also find herself a 3-ball that quarter. After the halftime break, Ole Miss came out with a rekindled fire, but the Southern Miss ‘Feisty Bunch’ defense held strong.

The Rebels would score 15 points in the third to USM’s five, bringing the total score at the end of the third to 37-36 in Ole Miss’ favor. The next quarter saw the two teams stay within one of each other every possession.

Alarie Mayze played a big part in the defense of the Lady Eagles tonight, with her deflections leading to big run-outs for the team. Not only that, the senior finished the game with two 3-pointers, tying her career high. With 3:17 left on the clock, Daishai Almond hit a good jumper, putting the Lady Eagles up by two. Then Rebel Jayla Alexander matched Almond’s jumper with one of her own, making it 51-all. From there, it was all the Lady Eagles.

Kelsey Jones hit a jumper, then Shonte Hailes, then a jumper by Alexander put it back within two after a steal. Three fouls were made by the Rebels back-to-back-to-back, sending Respect Leaphart to the line, where she would sink both.

The score was 57-53, and after a 30-second timeout, the Rebels’ Sarah Dumitrescu misses a jumper, and Almond makes the rebound. Almond is fouled, and makes both her free throws, sealing the Lady Eagle victory with just :02 seconds on the clock.A nail biter of a game improved the Lady Eagles’ record to 4-1, a start they have not had since 2017-18 when Southern Miss defeated William Carey, Tulane, Mississippi Valley and Alcorn but fell to Mississippi State.

Senior Shonte Hailes was a difference-maker, scoring 17 points, putting her just two shy of 1,000 in her career, as well as going 7-for-12 from the floor, 3-of-5 from the free throw line, and collecting two assists, three steals and committing zero turnovers.

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