HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Southern Miss women's basketball team wrapped up its regular season on Saturday against Louisiana Tech, and now it is time for the Lady Eagles to head to the Conference USA tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. The Lady Eagles enter the tournament with plenty of swagger having won eight of their last ten games.
"We're really confident about going into the tournament. I think we're the best team person for person going into the tournament so we have a lot of confidence going towards our first game," said junior guard Jerontay Clemons after Tuesday morning's practice.
Southern Miss enters as the three seed in the tournament which earned the team a first round bye. The Lady Eagles will face the winner of Wednesday's match up between UAB and UTEP Thursday morning at 11 am. Southern Miss split the season series with both the Lady Blazers and Lady Miners, and head coach Joye Lee-McNelis says either team will be a tough match up. "We don't matchup very well with either one of those teams. So we along with them will be fighting for every 50-50 ball, every loose ball we can get, every offensive rebound to try to get extra possessions...but just as they're a mismatch for us we're a mismatch for them."
While many people see the first round bye as a positive for Southern Miss on all fronts, McNelis says not playing in the opening round has its positives and negatives. "The good thing about it [opening round bye] is you play one less game. The negative side of it is that you have butterflies in that very first game when you take the floor. The opponent that played the night before doesn't have butterflies anymore. They're just ready to go throw the knockout punch."
The Lady Eagles left for Birmingham Tuesday afternoon. Their first game of the tournament will be played Thursday morning at 11 am against the winner of Wednesday's game between UAB and UTEP.