HATTIESBURG, MS – Southern Miss responded to a mediocre first half in its season-opener, ringing up 31 points in the third quarter and pulling away from Alabama State in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT.
The Lady Eagles (1-0) will play Baylor or UT Arlington in Round 2 next week; the Lady Hornets (0-1) will play next week in the consolation round of the event. Southern Miss outscored Alabama State by 18 points in the third quarter and sealed the result by allowing just five points in the final quarter.
Freshman guard Keri Jewitt-Giles sparkled in her debut for Southern Miss, closing with a near triple-double in ringing up 19 points, 10 steals and eight rebounds. She also contributed five assists. Fellow freshman, center Caitlin Jenkins, scored 14 points and had three blocked shots, and both Jayla King and Brittanny Dinkins scored 10 points. King also reeled in eight rebounds, while Dinkins added a game-high six assists.
Alabama State’s odds of springing the upset began to drop thanks to turnovers, with the team giving the ball up 24 times overall. That allowed Southern Miss to put up 26 more field goal attempts than the Lady Hornets. Kayla Tucker hit three 3-pointers and scored a team-high nine points, while senior center Jasmine Peeples added seven points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.