Southern Miss

Southern Miss’ Lee-McNelis undergoes surgery for cancer

Joye Lee-McNelis
Joye Lee-McNelis

Southern Miss women’s basketball coach Joye Lee-McNelis had a portion of her lung removed Wednesday as part of her treatment for cancer, the athletic department announced Thursday in a statement.

The surgery removed a cancerous tumor discovered in February in the upper lobe of her left lung. Another tumor, which is benign, was also removed from her trapezius muscle, which is on the upper back.

“The doctor was pleased with the way the surgery went and McNelis spent the night in the ICU,” the statement said. “She left the ICU this afternoon and should be home in the next few days.

“McNelis and her family expressed their gratitude for the notes of concern and prayers that have been given in her behalf.”

Lee-McNelis is originally from Leetown and a graduate of Hancock High School.

Lee-McNelis announced Feb. 14 she was taking a leave of absence from the program after a small mass was discovered in her lung. She was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma, which is contained.

She missed three games with the team, but returned after a biopsy showed the second tumor was benign.

Lee-McNelis was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year for 2016-17. She led the Lady Eagles to a 23-11 record, a 13-5 mark in conference play and a WNIT bid.