HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Despite the absence of their starting point guard Shonte Hailes, the Lady Eagles found a way to get past Marshall 70-61 on Sunday afternoon.
Southern Miss improved to 13-9 (5-4 Conference USA) with the win and is now 10-2 inside Reed-Green Coliseum.
Sophomore Shonte "Dump" Hailes did not play today due to an ankle sprain suffered earlier in the week. However, USM saw key contributions from several players as five different Lady Eagles scored at least ten points for the first time this season
"Obviously we wish that Shonte Hailes was on the floor but I think there's always a reason for things," said USM head coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "It gives some of those other players an opportunity to grow up and mature in the game. Obviously, every coach that coaches a game wants to win every game they play. I think we have to look at realistically where we are and where we're headed. Where we are, we're not satisfied. Where we are, we're pleased as young as we are with this team."
Senior Jayla King – who had just returned to the team following the funeral of her grandmother – recorded her ninth double-double of the year with 15 points and ten rebounds.
Freshman Allie Kennedy set a new career-high with 12 points.
"I've struggled a little bit [this season]," Kennedy said. "The encouragement that I keep getting from the team and from the coaches is unbelievable because I just feel like I'll be in a slump, then I'll get all this encouragement from them. Now that Dump's out, this is the time for me to step up and do what everybody's been telling me I could do."
"This is another stepping stone for us 'cause multiple people grew from this game," King said. "Missing our point guard – a lot of people having to play different positions. So, I feel like we grew as a team this game."
The Lady Eagles return to action on Saturday when they host Old Dominion at 2 p.m.