MIAMI, Fla. (WDAM) _ The University of Southern Mississippi women’s basketball team had seen its share of fourth-quarter leads disappear this season.
Saturday afternoon at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center, the Golden Eagles turned the tables.
Senior forward Respect Leaphart scored seven of her game-high 16 points over the game’s final 5 minutes, 34 seconds, in a 17-4 run that gave USM a 58-53 Conference USA victory at Florida International University.
Sophomore forward Kelsey Jones added six points of her eight points in the game-ending run that allowed USM to erase an eight-point deficit.
A Leaphart layup tied the score, 50-50, with 2:33 to play and Jones scored off an offensive rebound with 1:37 to go to give USM the lead for good.
The victory gave the Golden Eagles (13-11, 5-8 C-USA) both stops on a two-game Florida road trip. USM downed Florida Atlantic University 71-67 in Coral Gables, Fla.
Leaphart also finished with six steals. Jones added four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Sophomore guard Daishai Almond scored 13 points and senior wing Alaire Mayze scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds.
USM has played its past six games without its center of gravity, senior point guard Shonte Hailes. The Florida wins snapped a seven-game losing streak.
FIU (5-19, 2-11) lost its fourth consecutive game despite 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists off the bench by junior guard Jiselle Thomas.
Freshman forward Cheyanne Daniels scored seven points and added five rebounds, while senior center Chelsa Guimaraes added six points and nine rebounds.
USM will travel to Ruston, La., Thursday to take on Louisiana Tech University at 6:30 p.m.