CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WDAM) _ After being ambushed by a barrage of 3-pointers in the first half, the University of Southern Mississippi women’s basketball team clawed back to within a point of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with about five minutes to play.
But USM could not take the step.
The Lady 49ers hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that spelled the end of USM’s comeback hopes and led to a 59-46 Conference USA loss at Halton Arena in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Lady Eagles (17-12, 9-7 C-USA) saw a four-game winning streak snapped as Charlotte (17-11, 9-7) evened the season series with USM.
The Lady 49ers got off to a six-point lead after one quarter, 20-14, before USM’s offense deserted it in a six-point third quarter that saw Charlotte run out to a 37-20 halftime lead.
The Lady 49ers went up by 19 points early in the third quarter before the Lady Eagles began their comeback.
USM outscored Charlotte 14-6 in the third quarter to enter the fourth period down nine points. The rally continued through the first 5 ½ minutes of the period, and when Respect Leaphart scored on a layup with 4 minutes, 58 seconds, play, the Lady Eagles found themselves within 45-44.
But the Lady 49ers closed the game on a 14-2 run, hitting four of their final five shots from the floor.
The Lady Eagles did not hit a 3-point shot, missing all 19 of their attempts, and shot just 31 percent for the game overall.
USM point guard Shonte Hailes scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, made three steals and handed out two assists. Leaphart logged a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Charlotte guard Jade Phillips scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out five assists. Guard Mariah Linney scored 13.