Nov. 9, 2007
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- - Southern Miss showed the "Love" in its women's basketball season opener here Friday night.
It came in the form of redshirt sophomore Pauline Love, who in her debut with the team, tallied a double-double with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds to go along with six assists to lead the Lady Eagles to a 87-69 victory over Sam Houston State at Reed Green Coliseum.
"It was pretty exciting," said Love, who has been with the team since the fall of 2005 but got her first action against the LadyKats. "I did really well even though I was nervous throughout the whole game. We all played together as a team."
Five Lady Eagles scored in double figures as Kendra Reed and Liz Biland added 13 points each, while freshmen Tanesha Washington and Shanice Mays contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively. All eight of Southern Miss' available players - five did not dress due to injury - scored in the contest.
"At times tonight, I thought we looked good," said Southern Miss coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "Other times, our defense was as bad as it could be, particularly in the second half giving up 42 points."
The Lady Eagles led by double digits for a good portion of the contest, but the Ladykats (0-1) made a run during the midway point of the second half. An 8-0 spurt cut Southern Miss' advantage to seven but that was as close as the visitors got the rest of the way.
Love tallied 16 of her point total over the final 20 minutes, while a good pass to Biland under the goal for a bucket with 6:28 left pushed the margin to 69-60 and helped stem Sam Houston's momentum.
Southern Miss had jumped out to a 45-27 advantage at the intermission after outscoring the Ladykats 36-18 over the final 14-plus minutes of the opening half.
The score was tied at 9-9 before the Lady Eagles scored 12 straight points. Biland started the spurt with a 3-pointer and Washington added a pair of field goals and a free throw and Southern Miss took a 21-9 advantage with 11:42 remaining in the opening period.
The Ladykats scored the next four points to cut the margin to eight, but the home squad tallied the next six points and did not let the lead dip below double digits the remainder of the half..
Whitney Smith led Sam Houston State with 15 points, while Britany Harris recorded 13, Brittney Brooks 11 and Lydia Gonzales added 10.
Southern Miss hit 32-of-64 shots for 50 percent in the contest and scored 46 points in the paint.
The day began with pomp and circumstance for the Lady Eagles as they arrived pregame to Green Coliseum on motorcycles as part of the team's inaugural season-opening Lady Eagle Walk that took them from The Village - an on-campus housing area - to the arena.
The Lady Eagles return to action Tuesday (Nov. 13), when they play host to McNeese State. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
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