HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ The University of Southern Mississippi women’s basketball team opened Conference USA play with a bang this weekend.
Junior guard Allie Kennedy scored in double figures for the first time this season and senior guard Shonte Hailes’ 3-pointer with 16 seconds to play sealed the Lady Eagles’ 66-60 over visiting Louisiana Tech University at Reed Green Coliseum.
USM (9-3, 1-0 C-USA) built a one-point halftime lead to nine points heading into the fourth quarter, and led by as many 13 points with 6-plus minutes to play.
The Lady Bulldogs (8-4, 0-1) came back, hitting USM with a 10-1 spurt to pull within 63-60 with 49 seconds to play before Hailes doubled USM’s lead with less than 20 seconds left.
Tech was limited to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor, including a 25 percent mark from 3-point range. USM hit 44.2 percent of its shots, including a 53.9 percent clip in the second half.
USM saw four players score 10 points or more in the same game for the first time this season.
Senior forward Respect Leaphart recorded her first double-double of the season with a game-high-tying 15 points and 11 rebounds. She also handed out two assists and came up with a blocked shot and a steal.
Halies added 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists and senior wing Alaire Mayze had 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Kennedy finished with a season-high 13 points, all coming in the second half. She hit 4-of-6 shots from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers, and was 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.
Senior center Amber Landing scored just one point, but came down with six rebounds and blocked five shots.
Tech also saw four players score in double figures. Junior guard Raizel Guinto had 15 points, five rebounds and three steals and junior guard Amber Dixon scored 13 points.
Senior forward Meme Amand added 12 points and five rebounds while freshman forward Anna Larr Roberson had 10 points and eight rebounds.
USM will continue its four-game homestand, welcoming the University of Texas-El Paso at 6 p.m. Thursday tp Green Coliseum.