HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ First, the University of Southern Mississippi women’s basketball team won in a shootout.
The next day, the Lady Eagles relied on a stingy defense to pull off a second win.
In the end, USM collected the trophy presented to the winner of the 32nd annual Lady Eagles Thanksgiving Classic at Reed Green Coliseum.
The Lady Eagles opened with an 84-80 victory over Mississippi Valley State University Friday evening before scrapping their way to a 51-39 victory Saturday over Virginia Commonwealth University.
USM sophomore guard Daishai Almond was named tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 10 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.5 steals and a blocked shot in the two games. Joining here on the all-tournament team: Senior point Shonte Hailes.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Shonte Hailes scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and came up with two steals in the low-scoring affair.
Daishai Almond added 10 points and eight rebounds while blocking a pair of shots.
Sophomore forward Kelsey Jones pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
VCU (3-4) got 12 points, four assists and three rebounds from junior guard Tera Reed.
USM won its fifth consecutive game despite shooting just 28.8 percent from the field. But the Lady Eagles hit 24-of-30 free throws on the evening, and the foul line helped USM outscore the Lady Rams 31-14 in the second half.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Shonte Hailes scored her 1,000-career early in the 30-point barrage she unleashed on the Lady Delta Devils.
Hailes, who hit 11-of-19 shots, also dished out six assists.
Senior post Respect Leaphart added 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals, while Daishai Almond had 10 points, 11 assists and five steals.
Senior guard Alaire Mayze scored five points, grabbed 10 rebounds and came up with three steals.
Four players wound up in double figures for Valley (0-5), including junior wing Diamond Wraggs (17 points, eight rebounds); senior guard Erin Smith (16 points, six rebounds); senior guard Ayonna Cotton (16 points, six assists); and junior wing Shelli Thigpen (13 points, four assists).
Valley shot lights out, hitting 58.5 percent from the floor.
But USM came up with 13 steals as the Lady Delta Devils turned the ball over 19 times, and the Lady Eagles knocked down their free throws, hitting 17 of 21.
Wraggs also was named to the all-tourney team.
The Lady Eagles return to the court at 5 p.m. Wednesday, when they welcome Tulane University to Reed Green Coliseum.