Lady Eagles pick up first C-USA win

Lady Eagles pick up first C-USA win
USM (9-9, 2-3), which saw a two-game winning streak snapped. (Photo source: USM)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi Lady Eagles shot 53.6 percent from the floor in the first half Thursday night, building a 13-point halftime lead they rode to a 65-50 Conference USA victory over Louisiana Tech University at Reed Green Coliseum.

The Lady Eagles (9-7, 1-2 C-USA) picked up its first conference of the season as senior forward Jayla King scored 19 points and sophomore guard Shonte Hailes added 17.

"We were fortunate to get a win (Thursday) against a good team," USM coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "(We) showed up in the first half and played with a high level of intensity, fought for every 50/50 ball and defended well."

Louisiana Tech (11-5, 2-1), which managed to make just 26.4 percent of its shots from the field for the game, went without a point over a nearly seven-minute stretch spanning the first and second quarters, including the final 5:14 of the first quarter.

"The first half gave us our momentum," Lee-McNelis said.

USM sophomore forward Respect Leaphart came off the bench for 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while King and Hailes added six boards apiece. Junior guard Alarie Mayze added eight points and seven rebounds.

Tech junior guard Taylor Stahly scored a game-high 21 points and came up with three steals, while reserve sophomore guard Nikki McDonald added 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.

USM will take a week off before returning to conference action with a pair of road games. The Lady Eagles begin the two-game swing at the University of Alabama-Birmingham at 6 p.m. on Thursday.