Texas State overpowers Southern Miss 85-57, ends Lady Eagles’ title hopes

PENSACOLA, Fla – Texas State blew out Southern Miss in the Sun Belt women’s semifinal 85-57 to end the Lady Eagles’ run in the tournament. The Lady Bobcats won in just about every area of the game and imposed their will on the Golden Eagles inside.

“It was a great night for Texas State. I mean, you have to tip your hat to them. They played extremely well.” Southern Miss head coach Joy Lee-McNelis said after the game.


Texas State had already bested the Lady Eagles twice in the season, and with how hot Southern Mis has been in the past couple of weeks, this might be the turnaround.


“I felt like this was gonna be our game. I think our players felt that way too. And we prepared. We made a couple of tweaks that we thought were things that we struggled with. And so, it was real disappointing.” McNelis said.


The first half saw both teams feeling each other out; neither team could impose itself on the other. The Lady Bobcats led 41-33 at halftime, and with the way Southern Miss has played in the third quarter in the past, Southern Miss was not in a bad position.


Dominque Davis and Jacorri Bracey led the Lady Eagles in scoring both with nine. Southern Miss was even outshooting Texas State in shooting percentage. But in the third quarter, everything changed.

“Normally the third quarter is our quarter. We came out and we missed all of our shots when we started that third quarter. And I personally felt like that you can see it in our players as we were kind of shell shocked that that happened to us, because all year long, the third quarter has been our quarter where we’ve been able to battle and been able to fight and we’ve outscored almost every opponent.” McNelis said.


Southern Miss shot just 1-18 in the third quarter (5.6%.) When you are playing in a tournament game against the quality opponent that Texas State is, that will not cut it at the end of the day.


Texas State outscored Southern Miss 18-5 in the third quarter and, from that point on, took complete control of the game. They were lifted by their star forward Da’Nasia Hood, who had a great 30-point, 16-rebound double-double.


“My teammates trust me, so I just come out here and continue to try to stay consistent, make shots for us, and do whatever I can all over the floor.” Hood said.


The Lady Eagles did not have any players who could answer Hood’s presence, let alone the size of the Lady Bobcats inside the paint. They were outsized and outmatched, which showed as the game continued.


“They’re just bigger than us. You know, we fight for it. But we have Malia Grayson that can compete with them but that’s really, really all we had. We just didn’t have anybody to match their body size.” McNelis said.


The lady Eagles surprisingly outrebounded Texas State, but Southern Miss could not shoot the ball at the end of the day. That ended up being the difference.


Davis led Southern Miss in scoring with 20 points; no one else on the team had more than nine. You can’t expect that to be enough when you are going against high-powered offenses this far into a major tournament.


“This game hurts because we’re all competitors. But we’re still proud of what we could do for our city. You know, so it hurts but, to the top,” Davis said.


What is next for Southern Miss Lady Eagles basketball?


Well, McNelis hopes it is a WNIT bid.


“You know I would hope so. I know the conference has reached out to them. I have reached out to them. reached out to John a foreigner, myself. And that was a couple of weeks ago just to kind of put our name out there.” McNelis said.


However, the chances are slim for the Lady Eagles to be granted a bid to the WNIT because now the top two seeds are playing in the Sun Belt Championship. The rule from the WNIT in tournament play for shared regular-season titles is that it is the highest seed remaining in the tournament, which gets the automatic qualification.


That will not be Southern Miss since they are the three-seed. So, they will have to get an at-large bid to the WNIT. The chances are lower than they were with a win today.


Nevertheless, McNelis knows that there is nothing to be ashamed of with all the injuries and adversity throughout the season.


“I’m very proud of the year and the success that our team has had. I think that we battled a lot. We’ve overcome a lot because of the injuries that we have had,” McNelis said.