Lady Eagles lose to Middle Tennessee

|Shirley Hill, Associate Director Athletic Communications

Hattiesburg, Miss. - The Southern Miss Lady Eagle basketball team fell to Middle Tennessee Saturday by a score of 74-44 in Conference USA action.

The Lady Eagles dropped to 12-11 overall and 5-7 in C-USA play while Middle Tennessee improved to 17-7 and 11-2.

“First of all, Middle Tennessee does what they do very well,” Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis said.

“They are not going to take ill-advised shots and they’re going to take care of the basketball. Defensively, what makes the so good they don’t let you catch the ball. Our team could not get open on the wings today. You have to give hats off to them. “We got in foul trouble early and that limited what we wanted to do,” McNelis said.

Brittanny Dinkins led Southern Miss with 14 points while Brittny Norris chipped in 10 points. Lashyra Cotton had a team-best seven rebounds. Southern Miss scored the first four points of the game before Middle Tennessee answered by scoring seven straight points in taking a 7-4 lead. Norris hit a jumper in the paint to cut the lead to 7-6 before Middle ended the quarter outscoring Southern Miss 9-4 over the final two minutes for a 16-10.

Middle Tennessee shot 75 percent from the field in the second quarter on its way to a 38-25 half time lead.

The teams battled early before the Blue Raiders used a 9-2 run in pushing the lead to double digits with 3:02 remaining in the half and never looked back.

The Lady Eagles struggled to hit field goals in the early going of the third quarter, but it was the free throws that kept the Southern Miss in the game. Middle pushed the lead to 20 points until Southern Miss scored five of the final six points before the quarter ended to get the lead down to 52-36.

Middle started the fourth quarter on a 17-2 run in putting the game out of reach. The Blue Raiders finished the quarter shooting 64.3 percent from the field including 57.1 percent from behind the arc on their way to a 74-44 win. Brea Edwards led all scorers with 22 points while Alex Johnson had 14 and Rebecca Reuter added 13 points.

Southern Miss returns home to host league leading UTEP on Thursday in the annual Pink Game at 6 p.m.

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