MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WDAM) – Twenty-one turnovers helped short-circuit the University of Southern Mississippi’s hopes of picking up its first Conference USA victory of the season Friday night.
The Lady Eagles fell behind by 12 points at halftime, got back to within five points early in the third quarter before Middle Tennessee State University ran away over the final quarter-and-a-half to a 78-58 victory at The Murphy Center.
“We’ve got to continue to work,” USM coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “It has to come down to some solid leadership from our veterans. It has to happen from there.”
MTSU (7-3, 5-0) won its seventh consecutive game by handing USM (2-5, 0-5) its fifth consecutive loss.
USM trailed by just three points coming out of the first period, with freshman Melyia Grayson scoring 11 points and blocking three shots. The Lady Eagles hit six of their first seven shots.
Six turnovers in the second period helped the Lady Raiders push their lead out to 41-29 at the break.
USM got within five points before MTSU closed out the third quarter on a 14-5 run to take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Lady Eagles scored just 12 points in the final period.
Grayson, who made six of her shots from the field, led USM with 16 points.
MTSU’s .Anastasia Hayes, the leading scorer in the country, led MTSU with 26 points. Joining her in double figures were Deja Cage with 15 and Aislynn Hayes with 10 points
The teams will wrap up the two-game conference set at 4 p.m. Saturday at The Murphy Center.