HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss defeated Rice Thursday by a score of 79-60.
Head coach, Joye Lee-McNelis returned to coaching after recently being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, which is a form of lung cancer.
And, the team made sure to play well, as they have now secured a five-game winning streak.
"For us to play the way we did tonight, shows our growth as a team. It really does. Because I am telling you, Rice is very good," said Lee-McNelis.
The Owls were led by their star-forward, Nicole Iademarco, who scored 26 points, with more than half her points coming from beyond the arc.
But, the Lady Eagles were able to contain the Owls as a whole, by creating 13 steals and forcing 24 turnovers.
"When these two defensively crank it, I just wish you could absorb the looks on their face. I mean it's just a killer instinct. That defensive one-two punch that they gave us tonight was truly a game changer," said Lee-McNelis.
Guards, Brittanny Dinkins and Keri Jewett-Giles led the team with four steals each.
Dinkins said "it's just to follow right behind her. She was the one on that floor at that point of time leading us defensively. And, I just came behind and I had her back."
"Basically, she sparked me up. When she gets going, I get going too. And yeah, it's just really about focusing in on the ball," said Jewett-Giles.
The Lady Eagles have come on strong as of recently, winning eight out of their last nine games. And, the team wants to continue playing at a high-level.
"We're not there yet. Are we getting there? Yeah, we made a lot of strides. Our chemistry is just really good right now. It's really good. As coaches, we have to keep pushing them to not be satisfied," said Lee-McNelis.
The Lady Eagles play North Texas Saturday where they will be looking to improve their winning streak to six.
Tipoff is at 4 p.m.