Press release from Southern Miss Athletics
HOUSTON, Texas – The Southern Miss women’s basketball team won for just the second time on the road this season with a 59-49 win against Rice on Thursday night.
Southern Miss improved to 14-12 overall and 7-8 in league play while Rice dropped to 7-19 and 6-9.
“Even in the tough times, our effort never wavered,” Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We made mistakes, we took some ill-advised shots, we did some things that we should do, but because of our effort we were able to make up for that.”
Shayla Wilson scored a season-high 14 points to lead the team in scoring with Keri Jewett-Giles and Lashyra Cotton adding 12 points apiece. Caitlin Jenkins came off the bench and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds.
“Shayla Wilson and Lashyra Cotton played unbelievable tonight. They played hard. We made a ton of mistakes. There is no doubt that there were mistakes, but the biggest things I can say is how hard we played,” McNelis said. “We put so much pressure on our defense. We gave up some three balls, we missed some coverages but we continued to fight. Defensively, you got to give it to Rice. They gave us fits offensively. We could not get into a flow.”
Southern Miss scored the first four points to start the game before Rice hit a three to get within one. Wilson then converted back-to-back three-point plays to push the lead to 10-3. The teams traded baskets on a pair of possessions before going cold from the field. The Lady Eagles last field goal came at the 4:23 mark while Rice added its final basket of the quarter at the 3:35 mark. Southern Miss led 12-8.
Southern Miss scored its first points in the quarter at the 8:23 mark, ending a drought that covered a span of 6:23. The Lady Eagles tacked on another eight points in taking a 14-point advantage. Rice finally scored its first points of the quarter with a three-ball with 2:06 remaining, going just over 12 minutes without any points. The Owls added another three to cut the lead under double digits, but Jewett-Giles a bucket with five seconds remaining in helping Southern Miss take a 24-14 halftime lead.
Southern Miss led by as many in the third quarter before Rice used a 10-3 run in cutting the lead to 33-26. The Lady Eagles scored on back-to-back possessions in taking another double figure lead, but Rice ended the quarter with an 8-5 run and trailed by eight at the end of the quarter, 42-34.
In the final stanza, both teams battled back and forth. Rice eventually cut the lead to five, 49-44, with 5:01 remaining. Southern Miss came up with a pair of steals and layups to push the lead to 55-45 before Tajanay Veiga added two free throws for the 57-45 lead. The Lady Eagles held on for the 59-49 win.
Maya Hawkins and Wendy Knight led Rice in scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Jasmine Goodwine had a game-high 14 rebounds.
Southern Miss concludes its road schedule at North Texas Saturday at 2 p.m.