Nov. 5, 2012
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss women's basketball team is set to begin the 2012-13 season, opening with an exhibition game against the University of Mobile, Tuesday, at 6 p.m., in Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss is coming off a 13-18 season in which the Lady Eagles advanced to the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament last season.
The Lady Eagles return only six letterwinners with all five starters are intact. The group accounts for 85 percent of the scoring and 80 percent of the rebounding a year ago.
Heading the list of returnees is preseason All-Conference USA selection Jamierra Faulkner who led the team in scoring (17.2 ppg) and assists (7.3 apg) last season. Also returning are seniors Tanecka Carey (15.1 ppg) and Ance Celmina (5.1 ppg). Rounding out the returnees are junior Niesha Pierce (7.2 ppg), sophomores Nitesha Pierce (7.8 ppg) and Wendy Miller (1.5 ppg).
Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis is entering her ninth season at Southern Miss and her 22nd overall. McNelis welcomes seven newcomers to the 2012-13 squad, Samirah Ali, Anteria Berry, Caron Brown, Jerontay Clemons, Tiarra Pollnitz, in addition to transfer Falonna Brown and walkon Michelle Summersell.
Mobile (1-0) is coming off a 95-49 win over Fisk in its season-opening game on Saturday. Five players scored in double figures led by Brian Edwards with a team-best 18 points followed by Courtney with 15, Deonica McCormick and Shontae Dillon had 13 apiece and Christy Roewe chipped in 11. Edwards also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Mobile finished the 2011-12 season with a 7-21 overall record. Head Coach Billy Evans is in first season and returns eighth letterwinners from last year's team. Edwards is the top returning scorer as she averaged 9.1 points and 4.3 rebounds a year ago.
The Lady Eagles open the regular season, Nov. 9 at home, against Hampton University. The game time is set for 11 a.m., and can be heard on WXHB-FM 96.5 with the new "Voice of the Lady Eagles" Josh West providing play-by-play action, while former legendary coach Kay James providing color commentary.
Season tickets are still available and for more information, contact the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 1-800-844-TICK.
Additional activities to help kick-off the season include an "Education Day" as part of their continued community service. The Lady Eagle team has extended an invitation to area elementary schools with the purpose of offering the schools the opportunity to visit a college campus and watch a collegiate athletic event. The team has visited several area schools and shared their stories on what it takes to be a college student-athlete.
Admission to the contest will be $1 per student. The Hattiesburg School District as well as Forrest and Lamar County School districts are using this as an incentive to their students to increase their grades and possess a positive attitude toward others.