HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - USM Press Release
The Southern Miss women’s basketball team used another balanced scoring attack, while shooting 50 percent from the field in defeating Rice 68-62 in Conference USA action Saturday evening.
The Lady Eagles improved to 12-9 overall and 5-5 in league play while Rice fell to 4-17 and 3-7.
“This was a heck of a ball game,” Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We thought we played well for about 32 minutes. I think Rice played really well. With us having a short bench today, Keri Jewett had to step up today. Caitlin Jenkins accepting the challenge at the half, stepped up and played better in the second half. She was able to get on the boards and alter several shots. Brittny Norris hit three big shots for us. Also Jayla King played well.
“What a win for this basketball team,” said McNelis. “I thought we executed well offensively at times and other times we were frazzled. Rice came in here and took it to the races. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. Our defense was what got us back into the game.”
Caitlin Jenkins led a quartet of Lady Eagles in scoring with 16 points to go with a team-best nine rebounds. Jayla King had 15 points and eight rebounds followed by Brittny Norris with 13 and Keri Jewett-Giles added 11 points and seven assists. Brittanny Dinkins dished out nine assists.
The Black and Gold opened the first quarter shooting 61.6 percent from the field. Rice quickly jumped out to a six-point lead and held on to the lead throughout the quarter until the final 42 seconds when Shayla Wilson hit a basket to tie the game 18-18 as Southern Miss used an 8-3 run down the stretch.
The Owls dominated the second quarter against the Lady Eagles. Rice shot 57.1 percent and out rebounded Southern Miss 8-to-3 which led to a 4-0 advantage in second chance points. The Owls also outscored Southern Miss 6-1 in points off turnovers. Rice led 36-31 at the half.
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, the teams traded baskets for nearly four minutes. Southern Miss trailed 45-42 when a pair of Jayla King free throws sparked a 10-0 run over the final 4:40 of the quarter as the Lady Eagles built a 52-45 lead by the end of the third quarter. The Southern Miss defense held the Owls scoreless during that stretch.
The Lady Eagles kept their momentum into the final period as Jenkins scored the first basket to put Southern Miss ahead 54-45. However, Rice answered that run, scoring 10 unanswered points in retaking a 55-54 lead at the 5:10 mark in the quarter. From there, Jenkins completed a three-point play in igniting a 10-0 run over 2:10. Rice then scored the next four points in cutting the lead to 64-59 before Jewett-Giles hit 1-of-2 from the line. The Lady Eagles connected on 3-of-4 from the line in the final 26 seconds to seal the win.
Jasmine Goodwine led Rice with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Gabrielle Stanton chipped in 10 points.
Southern Miss will hit the road for a pair of C-USA games, beginning at UAB on Feb. 11 before heading to Middle Tennessee on Feb. 13.