From Special Reports:
The University of Mississippi held the University of Southern Miss to 18 points in the first half and the Lady Eagles never were able to catch up, dropping a 68-59 decision to the Lady Rebels Tuesday at The Pavilion.
USM (6-3) rallied in the second half, but Ole Miss (9-1) made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off the Lady Eagles.
“We were frustrated by how we played in the first half, but I can’t say enough about how we fought back,” USM coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We remained composed, and it was hard to do because it was so hard to hear in here.
“(USM post player) Kyle Felton did a good job on their ‘bigs,’ and I’m very proud of her. This game gives us a chance to grow as a team and an opportunity to build team chemistry.”
After being held scoreless in the first half, senior forward Jayla King finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Megan Brown also had 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
USM wound up out-rebounds Ole Miss 45 to 34.
USM sophomore guard Shonte Hailes, who also did not score in the first half, finished with seven points and eight assists, Junior guard Alaire Mayze added eight points and five rebounds.
“If our two leading scorers (King and Hailes) don’t get a bucket, it’s going to be hard to win a half or even a quarter,” Lee-McNelis said.
Alissa Alston and Madinah Muhammad each finished with a game-high 19 points for Ole Miss. Alston added four assists and Muhammad had four rebounds and three assists..
Ceclia Muhate added 10 points for the Lady Rebels.
USM will return to Reed Green Coliseum for a 6 p.m. tipoff Friday with Sam Houston State University.