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Lady Eagles Unable To Overcome Slow Start

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss was unable to overcome a 15-point deficit after the first quarter of play and ultimately fell to the Blazers, 84-65, Saturday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

“Our team got punched in the mouth,” head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “But I will say, our team fought back. We were able to pull within six points. Imani Carter hit some big shots for us. Allie Kennedy hit some big shots as well. We saw those bright spots.”

UAB (7-3, 2-2 C-USA) came out firing in the first quarter, going 5-of-5 from beyond the arch and 11-of-16 from the field overall to push ahead 31-16 after the opening 10 minutes.

The Blazers extended their lead to as many as 21 points before Southern Miss (2-4, 0-4 C-USA) began to chip away at the deficit midway through the second quarter. Kennedy knocked down three shots from the charity stripe and a personal 5-0 run from Carter brought the Black and Gold to within 14. Kelsey Jones added a pair of layups in the final 35 seconds to make it 43-31 in favor of UAB going in to the locker room.

UAB pushed their lead back out to 14 at the end of the third quarter by spreading the ball around, as five of the Blazers eight field goals came off an assist.

A 14-6 run for the Lady Eagles to open the fourth quarter saw Southern Miss get as close to the lead as they had been since the 4:55 mark in the first quarter. However, the Blazer closed the game on a 15-2 run of their own to seal the victory.

Offensively, Southern Miss was led by Kennedy who finished the game with 13 points. Carter and freshman Melyia Grayson also finished in double figures with 11 and 10. Kelsey Jones finished just shy of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds in the contest.

The Lady Eagles will return to action next week as they travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to take on Middle Tennessee State in a pair of contest.