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The voice of and for USM students


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Southern Miss WBB earns first NIT bid since 2017

Charlie Luttrell

Southern Miss WBB earned its first WNIT invite since 2017 after its 2023-24 season performance. The Lady Eagles posted an 18-13 record with a 10-8 league record in the Sun Belt. The Lady Eagles finished the regular season by winning four out of six games in Sun Belt play and advancing to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

“I take it as a blessing that we’re able to continue to play,” Southern Miss women’s head coach Joy-Lee McNelis said. “I also think it’s a blessing that Domonique Davis still gets to hoop a little bit more,” 

Despite not having a regular season conference title, the Lady racked up impressive wins throughout the season to build their resume enough to appear in the tournament. 

For starters, the Lady Eagle started the season 7-0, including an upset win over No. 21 Ole Miss in early December. It was the program’s first win against a ranked opponent since the 1999-2000 season. 

The win even allowed the Lady Eagles to earn votes in the weekly AP poll. 

The 2024 Postseason WNIT will mark Southern Miss’ 17th postseason appearance in program history and ninth trip to the WNIT.

Southern Miss has been elevated all season by the play of Davis throughout the 2024 season. 

Davis and Melyia Grayson both earned spots on the Sun Belt Conference’s All-Conference Teams, with Davis earning first-team honors and Grayson landing on the third team. 

The two All-Sun Belt Conference selections joined the 1,000-point club this season and have combined to score 919 points, each ranking nationally in multiple statistical categories.

“I was really excited,” Davis said after finding out that the Lady Eagles made the tournament. “Like Coach said, I get to put on the Lady Eagles jersey one more time.” 

Southern Miss’ best run in the WNIT came in 2015, when the Lady Eagles advanced to the Great Eight at Reed Green Coliseum before falling 69-60 to Michigan.

This year, the NCAA added a new women’s postseason tournament: the Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament (WBIT). The WBIT is tiered between the NCAA tournament and the WNIT. 

The first round will take place on March 20/22, but the seeds, times, and matchups have yet to be announced.

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