USM honors former coach Kay James

USM honors former coach Kay James

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss sophomore Keri Jewett-Giles completed a 64-59 comeback win over UAB, scoring the team's final six points in 1.3 seconds. The offensive spurt was highlighted by Jewett-Giles' steal with 20 seconds left which she finished on the opposite end through the foul.

"I was thinking like I didn't want to play 20 seconds of defense," Jewett-Giles said. "I didn't want them to get anything or mess up or anything, so I just had to get that steal."

Down by as many as 12 points, the Lady Eagles soared back, taking their first lead of the game three minutes into the fourth quarter.

"I think that says a couple things," said Southern Miss head coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "Number one, they enjoy giving the fans, the coaches and myself heart attacks. They're resilient and that they believe that we're going to win no matter what's going on."

USM's second straight win came on the inaugural "Kay James Day" at Reed-Green as Southern Miss honored the women's all-time winningest coach."

"It's an honor to still be here," James said. "A lot of people when they get out of coaching they move somewhere but I've been here. I've been in Hattiesburg since 1976 and this is home for me now."

"So many times, legends are people that you can't really touch, you can't really talk to, you just read about them," Lee-McNelis said. "And we're really blessed with the opportunity to have her as a part of our program."

Coach James prays with the Lady Eagles before each game, speaks to them at halftime, and following Saturday's win even had some words about persevering in the fourth quarter.

"[James] was like, everything that we do, the way we're tired, the way coach pushes us, the way we push ourselves to endure is for a reason," said Southern Miss senior guard Brittanny Dinkins. "So to not just think about running just to run but to run for a reason."