The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s red hot shooting was too much for Southern Miss to handle on Saturday night. The Blazers shot 50.9% from the field in the 84-65 win over the Lady Eagles.
From the beginning of the game, UAB got off to a hot start and never looked back. The Blazers opened the game with a 14-5 lead and closed the first quarter and closed the quarter with a 10-4 run to go up 31-16 at the end of the quarter.
“UAB overall this weekend shot the basketball extremely well,” Southern Miss coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “I thought last night we did not guard them at all. I thought tonight we attempted a lot more to guard them. I will say in last night’s game. We were really concerned about pressing them in full-court and losing them in their offense and giving up more and more three balls.”
In the first quarter, UAB (7-3, 2-2) shot 68.8% and were 11-of-16 from the field and 5-of-5 behind the 3-point line. At the same time, Southern Miss was shot just 33.3% in the quarter.
“They are such a rhythm team,” McNelis said. “They don’t use dribbles that are unnecessary at all, and you can tell they are players that have played on teams that played like that. They get the ball reversed and are going to shoot it quick and shoot any open three-ball that they have. Hats off to them. They really shot the ball very well. Our team got punched in the mouth, but we fought back.”
Like the first, the second quarter was controlled by the Blazers as they extended their to lead as much as 21 points and held a 43-31 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Southern Miss (2-4, 0-4) managed to chip away UAB’s lead to nine points at 45-36 with a 12-2 run that carried over from the end of the half into the start of the third quarter. However, UAB’s efficient shooting continued as the Lady Eagles trailed the Blazers 63-49 at the end of the quarter.
Southern Miss’ highlight of the night came midway through the fourth quarter. Back-to-back layups by Hattiesburg alum Melyia Grayson cut UAB’s lead down to six points at 69-63.
Yet, UAB quickly pulled away with a 13-0 run that sealed the Blazers’ win.
“I felt like at that point we were going to win the ball game,” McNelis said. “I think you have to say hats off to the fight that this team had. A lot of times, you just give up, and we did not give up. You hate to say you are proud of your team when you have a 20-point loss, but I think there were segments of this game I can truly say that I am proud of this team and the fight they had.”
UAB had five different players score double digits, with Margaret Whitley scoring 27 points and Zakyia Weathersby posting a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For Southern Miss, the Lady Eagles were led by Allie Kennedy’s 13 points along with Imani Carter, who scored 11 points and Grayson, who totaled 10 points.
Southern Miss will travel next week to play Middle Tennessee.