Southern Miss Sinks WKU 69-63
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss sank WKU 69-63 Thursday evening, marking the first victory against the Lady Toppers since the 2014-2015 season and breaking the Lady Eagles five game series skid against the team from Bluegrass State.
“When you have a team that has faced as much adversity as we have, it’s really sweet to get a win against the No. 1 team in the league,” said Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. “Our players played really hard in the first and fourth quarter. It was all about transition offense and the team had a lot of fun. I’m really proud of how hard the team worked this week and the true commitment to be able to make a difference. This win gives us tremendous confidence heading into our game on Saturday.”
Southern Miss’ balanced scoring saw eight Black and Gold players register points, four of them contributing double-figures. Shonte Hailes led the offensive charge for the Lady Eagles with 17 points and seven assists. The sophomore’s final point tally is her largest output since returning from an ankle injury and the 15th time this season she has compiled 10 or more points. Her seven helpers are the second most she’s handed out during the 2017-2018 season.
“This is a big step for us,” Hailes said. “There was a lot of positivity out there. We were passing the ball, we were pumped and we were hyped. Western is a great basketball team. I was proud of our girls because we weathered the storm. I also give a lot of props to my teammate, Amber Landing, for coming out and making some big shots, knocking them down.”
Landing drew her first start since Jan. 4 of this year and contributed 11 points on five-of-six shooting. The Sharon, Miss. product collected seven boards and added a game-high three blocks.
“It was a good feeling,” Landing said. “The coaches have been on me the latter part of the season about coming in and getting shots up. I bought in, started listening and it paid off in the end.”
Jayla King scored 10 points and corralled 13 rebounds, nine coming on the defensive side of the court, for the 10th double-double of the year and her first in six contests. The Pensacola, Fla. native now needs only 10 more points to go down as Southern Miss’ 27th player to reach 1,000 career points.
With the win tonight, the Lady Eagles secured a trip to next week’s Conference USA tournament in Frisco, Texas. Seeding is still to be determined, but will be finalized when the team returns to action Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m against FIU.
Tickets for the final regular season game can be purchased online at SouthernMissTickets.com, or by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-844-TICK (8425) as well as visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Center.
The men’s team will take on LA Tech after the completion of the game at 4:30 p.m. Fans can watch the games on CUSA.TV or listen to Josh West on the broadcast via The Score 1400 AM or the Southern Miss Game Day App starting 30 minutes before tipoff.