HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It's not the tournament they wanted, but despite the disappointment of missing out on a NCAA bid, Southern Miss (22-10) is finding a way to gear up for a second WNIT run.
"Last year in the (C-USA) championship game we got beat by about 30 by Middle (Tennessee) and so we wanted that chance to play in the WNIT to kind of not end on that note," senior Brooke Rhodes said. "This year we lost by three and so we kind of want that 'We should be in the NCAA tournament.' We should have won that game and just kind of be a statement game and a statement tournament."
The Lady Eagles match up with a Texas Southern (19-10) team coming in with a black-eye after their on-court scrap with Southern University in the Lady Tigers conference finale.
"We're not going to get caught up in anything that's happened in a past with anybody because we can only control what we do," head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "I'm sure their coaches were extremely disappointed. They're first-class people and they're great coaches and they only want the best for their athletes."
With another chance to play in front of their home fans, senior Tamara Jones said she hopes to make the best of USM's circumstances.
"Obviously it wasn't where we wanted to be and 13 seconds away from being in the big tournament was exciting, but I mean we get to play again so we've got to be happy with what we got."
Tip-off against TSU is Thursday at 7:00 p.m.