SportsBasketballLady Eagles come up short on senior night against...

Lady Eagles come up short on senior night against Rice

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The Lady Eagles hosted the Rice Owls on its final home game of the season Saturday, falling short 51-46.

Southern Miss honored its four Senior athletes, Daishai Almond, Destiny Smith, Kelcy Jones and Fess Hawkins in their final game at Reed Green Coliseum.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t end with a win, but hats off to those seniors who have committed themselves to play for Southern Miss wearing the black and gold. I’m very honored and truly blessed to have them on our team.” Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said.

Earlier this season, Southern Miss efficiently dealt with Rice in a 78-55 win behind 30 points by Domonique Davis.

However, Rice put the defeat behind them, coming up clutch to defeat the Lady Eagles after not leading in the game until 1:12 in the fourth quarter.

“It was a revenge game for sure. I don’t think we played well in an offensive flow -a lot was attributed to their defense, ” Lee-McNelis said.

Davis had a polar opposite game from the last matchup with only four points on one of nine shooting from the field.

“I don’t think our backcourt play was very solid. In our first game, [Dom] took control of the game. Daishi and Domonique just never got into an offensive rhythm. Everything was just too slow, ” Lee-McNelis said.

The loss was a heartbreaker for the Lady Eagles after leading for more than 34 minutes.

 Eventually, Rice grasped the lead but only led the entire game for a total of 42 seconds.

 Southern Miss led 35-32 entering the fourth quarter, but Rice went on a crucial run down the stretch to outscore the Lady Eagles 19-11 in the final period.

With four minutes left, Almond drilled a three, putting the Lady Eagles up 44-41. 

Rice then went on a 5-0 run, making it 46-44 under the two-minute mark and taking the lead with 1:12 seconds remaining.

After a pull-up jumper by Smith tied it at 46, Rice responded with an and-one basket under the rim by guard Destiny Jackson with 18 seconds left.

Davis missed a game-tying three as Rice closed the game on two free throws by Jackson.

“She should have flared deeper on the shot instead; she got right behind the defender and didn’t have enough room to get set on the shot,” McNelis said.

Southern Miss gave the Lady Owls second chance opportunities with 19 offensive rebounds and struggled from the free-throw line, shooting 41% on 17 attempts.

The Lady Eagles held Rice to a 28% field goal percentage and loss as Southern Miss made miscues on the offensive end with 19 turnovers as opposed to Rice’s 13.

Southern Miss senior Daishai Almond led the scoring for the Lady Eagles with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists.

Southern Miss’ seniors Fess Hawkins, Almond and Smith combined for 20 of the Lady Eagles’ 46 points.

Rice’s Ashlee Austin led the scoring for the Lady Owls with 18 points and ten rebounds.

The Lady Eagles (16-10, 8-7) remain second in the Conference USA West Division behind North Texas, as Southern Miss’ match between the Mean Green this past Thursday was canceled due to inclement weather.  

Southern Miss closes its season with two away games versus UAB and Charlotte before the C-USA tournament begins March 8th.

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