Three Returners Put Up Double-Digits in Season Opener
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Led by a trio of returning players, Southern Miss women's basketball trounced neighboring William Carey 82-44 in front of a large crowd on Education Day.
"William Carey is an athlete team, they're fast," said Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis. "I thought their speed presented a challenge for us in transition defense. If our returners can provide great leadership then it's going to help us. We've got to rely on our defense. I thought we had some nice defensive stops and had a lot of fun on the run in transition. We saw some bright spots in that aspect of our game."
Knowing that the team would be different than last year's squad, the returners took the responsibility upon themselves to drive the team.
Sophomore Shonte Hailes tallied a game-high 18 and added five steals, redshirt Senior Jayla King went 7-of-11 from the floor and added a pair of free throws to gather 16 total points and sophomore Respect Leaphart had 11 points from 3-of-6 field goal shooting and game-high five free throws made.
"We knew we wouldn't have [Brittanny Dinkins] so that [responsibility] was going to fall on us," Hailes said. "It's a lot to pick up, but we're up for the challenge."
Southern Miss racked up a total of 45 points off turnovers, creating a total of 36 total turnovers, and 16 points stemming from fast breaks. The Lady Eagles also had a total of 80 possession throughout the duration of the game.
Southern Miss attacked the glass, grabbing a total of 54 boards, and every player corralled at least one board, six players getting at least five. Transfer Amber Landing, a 6-foot-3-inch center, pulled down a game-high nine boards. The Lady Eagle's offensive boards outnumbered the defensive boards by differential of six.
"Having height this year is very helpful," King said. "I know that I have someone to pass it to that won't have their shot blocked instead of having me down there trying to create something over taller people."
Southern Miss' next matchup, a 6 p.m. contest against Tulane, comes on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Tickets for the upcoming season 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. With the pregame show starting 30 minutes prior, the next game can be heard on WFOR 1400 AM The Score.