HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss Women's basketball team (16-9, 8-4) tapped the UTEP Miners 73-48 (6-18, 3-9) on Saturday afternoon and completed its second sweep of an opponent during the 2016-2017 season.
The Lady Eagles made separation early and stemmed any comeback UTEP tried to mount by holding the Miners to a six point third quarter, the second lowest quarter total of the season.
"We talked about how you can't play the score," said head coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "It is about us getting better with every possession, it's about us getting better every defensive stop and we can't allow teams to get back into the game. We've got to go six possessions and not give up a basket and we've got to be able to convert going the other way. Our defense has been our mainstay all year. We have defended people very well with the size difference. We've had to make adjustments and our team has carried that out."
Southern Miss' defensive pressure forced 26 turnovers, scoring 23 points off of those turnovers and held UTEP to the fewest points scored between the two schools in program history.
Southern Miss dominated the glass by snagging 48 total rebounds, the second most in a game this season. Twenty-five rebounds came on the offensive side and contributed to 17 second chance points.
Senior Lashyra Cotton led the rebound effort with a career-high 12 rebounds, five coming on the offensive side of the court.
"The glass was open and all week we practiced crashing hard," Cotton said. "We just had to get stops and lock down."
Brittanny Dinkins became the Lady Eagles twelfth all-time leading scoring with a 26 point game and has had 20 points in 10 games this season.
"I haven't really been keeping up with it, now that you mention it, but it lets me know that I will leave something and that means a lot," Dinkins said.
The Lady Eagles, sitting tied for fourth in the Conference USA Standings, head to the Sunshine State for showdowns with FIU on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. CT and FAU on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. CT.
"We're in a rhythm right now, a good rhythm," Dinkins said. "We want to continue. Going on the road we expected nothing but to come out with a win. These next two will be special to me because I'm going back home and with my family there it's a must win.
Starting 30 minutes before tip, Lady Eagle fans can hear Josh West on the radio broadcast for the game on WFOR 1400 AM.
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