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Lady Eagles dominate 4th quarter in 57-44 win over La. Tech

Jones scores career-best 22 points, grabs 13 rebounds as USM wins for 4th time in 5 games
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Southern Miss Golden Eagles(Southern Miss)
Updated: Jan. 31, 2021 at 11:58 AM CST
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From University of Southern Mississippi Sports Information Department

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – A career night from center Kelsey Jones and the best defensive effort of the season was just what the University of Southern Mississippi women’s basketball team needed.

Jones scored a career-high 22 points and pulled down a season-best 13 rebounds as the Lady Eagles shut down Louisiana Tech University in the fourth quarter to take a 57-44 Conference USA victory Saturday evening at Reed Green Coliseum.

Jones’ “double-double” was her first of the season and eighth of her career. She also had five blocked shots and two steals.

“Kelsey got a lot of buckets off of offensive rebounds and really crashed the boards,” head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “I think she was a difference maker. She was kind of like the beast inside. It was very positive for us and that’s why I think we were able to be successful.”

Tech’s 44 points were the fewest the Lady Eagles (6-6, 4-6 C-USA) had allowed an opponent this season and the fewest the Lady Techsters had scored since a 55-37 loss to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte on Jan. 30, 2020.

The Lady Techsters (10-5, 5-5) shot just 27.8 percent from the floor, and twice, failed to score more than seven points in a quarter, including just five points in the fourth quarter that started with USM clinging to a 40-39 lead.

Tech jumped out to a 17-14 lead after a quarter, but USM outscored the Lady Techsters 13-7 in the second period to grab a 27-24 halftime lead.

The Lady Eagles led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, including a 40-31 lead with 2:28 left in the period.

But Tech closed the quarter on an 8-0 run, a spurt capped by consecutive 3-pointers by Raizel Guinto and Kieunna Walker.

Jalise Smallwood and Walker exchanged 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter before Kahia Warmsley and Rose Warren hit back-to-back treys to spark a 14-0 run that left the Lady Eagles ahead 57-42 with 1:48 to play.

Walker’s 3-pointer was Tech’s lone bucket in the final period.

Jones capped the surge with baskets on three, consecutive possessions as USM outscored Tech, 17-5, in the final frame.

USM committed fewer turnovers, 17 to Tech’s 19, and outrebounded the Lady Techsters, 40-35 as the Lady Eagles collected their fourth win in five games.

Jalise Smallwood backed Jones with 12 points and three steals, while point guard Daishai Almond added 10 points and five assists. Warmsley grabbed a career-best eight rebounds.

Tech git 19 points from Walker, while Quinto had 13 points and six rebounds. Amber Dixon pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.

USM remains at Reed Green Coliseum this weekend to face off with Rice University. The teams meet Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.

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