From the University of Southern Mississippi Sports Information Department
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – For the second time in three Conference USA game, the second half proved to be most unkind to the University of Southern Mississippi women’s basketball team.
After fighting to get the game within two points at halftime, the Lady Eagles’ surrendered a quick 6-0 run out of the locker room and would not be able to get any closer as the University of Alabama-Birmingham went on to win 85-63 Friday night at Reed Green Coliseum.
”The third and fourth quarter were pretty painstaking,” USM coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “I think the game was defined in the third quarter. Coming out of halftime, they took control of the game. I thought we came out very much lackadaisical and very much asleep.”
The Lady Eagles (2-3, 0-3 C-USA) found themselves trailing 23-14 after the first quarter, but with Lady Blazers center Zaykia Weathersby on the bench with foul trouble, USM went inside to cut into the UAB lead.
USM scored 20 of its 21 points in the quarter from inside the paint, as Melyia Grayson and Kelsey Jones combined for 14 points in the quarter, going 7-of-8 from the field.
The rally pulled USM within 37-35 at the break.
Coming out to start the second half, UAB (6-3, 1-2 C-USA) connected on a pair of 3-pointer from Claudio Armato and Margaret Whitley and would not look back from then on.
Brikayla Gray added a career-high 18 points for the Lady Eagles and has scored in double figures in all three conference games. Grayson and Jones joined Gray in double figures with both adding 12 points apiece.
Junior Daishai Almond dished out a season-high six assists in the loss.
UAB was lead by Caitlynn Daniel’s 21 points, while Whitley added 20. Weathersby finished with her fifth double-double in nine games finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
USM and UAB complete the two-game series at 4 p.m. Saturday at Reed Green Coliseum.