HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss women's basketball turned in a record performance in defeating West Alabama in the season opener, 101-44, Friday afternoon as part of "Education Day" with 2,165 fans.
"There were a lot of positives today," Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. "I can't say enough about Brittanny Dinkins. She stepped up and played extremely well with confidence. Another big night for Ashley Folsom. She is going to catch whatever comes her way. She has great hands. Tamara Jones is always around the basketball. She is another player with great hands. She finished with 21 points and eight rebounds."
Four Lady Eagles (1-0) tallied double figure scoring led by freshman Brittanny Dinkins who scored a game-high 28 points followed by junior Tamara Jones with 21 points, freshman Ashley Folsom added 16 and junior Voche' Martin chipped 11 points off the bench.
"Our defensive was very effective today," McNelis said. "It generated a lot of our offense. We still have a long way to go. We were too casual at times with the ball and turned it over. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I'm very pleased with this start."
The 28-point performance by Dinkins was the best freshman debut performance and the best debut in of any Lady Eagle player. Jamierra Faulkner dished out a career- and school-record 17 assists to go with eight points. Southern Miss also collected 17 steals with Jones and Dinkins pocketing five each.
Southern Miss opened the second half scoring the first nine points and never looked back. The Lady Eagles finished the half shooting 64.7 percent from the field on 22-34 while scoring 54 second-half points. All 10 available players saw action and all but one scored.
Southern Miss scored from the opening tip, but West Alabama came right back to score the next five points. From there, the team traded baskets as they battled to an 11-11 tie. Voche' Martin put the Lady Eagles ahead, 13-11, but the Tigers added a three-pointer and layup for the 16-13 lead. A Dinkins' jumper ignited a 13-0 run to put the Lady Eagles up 26-16 with 10:35 to go before the half. The Tigers cut the lead to 26-19, but the Lady Eagles outscored West Alabama 21-6 over the final 10 minutes for a 47-25 halftime lead.
Quentinette Odom led West Alabama with 16 points while Jada Williams grabbed six rebounds.
The Lady Eagles finished the game shooting 51.9 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Tigers 48-32. Southern Miss scored 52 points off 43 UWA turnovers.
Southern Miss returns to action when the Lady Eagles host South Alabama on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
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