Price-Less Ole Miss Renders Arkansas Mute

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas women's basketball coach Susie Gardner got so frustrated during the first half of her team's 75-52 loss to Ole Miss on Sunday that she considered getting a rare technical foul.

But Gardner lamented, "I didn't even know how to get one. I don't even say those words to get a technical."

So the Lady'Backs labored along, shooting 22.2 percent in the first half while getting outrebounded 34-16 and outscored 25-18 -- even with Ole Miss star guard Armintie Price spending 18 minutes on the bench with two fouls.

"We couldn't have asked for a better script," Gardner said. "We had three great days of practice and a solid game plan. I've been super-duper positive, and I had a great feeling before the game."

UA guard Adrienne Bush said the Lady'Backs even had a great pregame shootaround on Sunday.

Bush helped limit Price to four points in the game, and Ole Miss shot just 27.8 percent in the first half.

But Arkansas (13-7, 2-6 in the Southeastern Conference) missed too many layups, short jumpers and free throws to get any continuity.

Tied at 18-all with two minutes left in the first half, Ole Miss used a 7-0 run into intermission to seize control of the game.

The nadir for Arkansas came when Melissa Hobbs missed a jump shot with 15 seconds left rather than waiting for the last shot, and Carletta Brown beat the halftime buzzer with a 13-footer for Ole Miss.

Carol Ross, whose unranked and underrated Lady Rebels advanced to 15-5 and 5-2 in the SEC, said, "You always like to go into halftime on a run like that. It keeps the coach from acting ugly at halftime. It's the first time I haven't had to act ugly in a while."

With Price frustrated by Bush's active defense, 6-foot-3 center Amber Watts shouldered the load for Ole Miss with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Brown, listed at 5-4 but probably shorter, added 17 points and 9 assists. Jada Mincy led Ole Miss' deep bench with 13 rebounds.

It wasn't pretty, but Ross will gladly take the win.

"Price does so many things for us that without her we just don't look as good," Ross said. "We should have an edge with our size, but it says a lot for the physical play of (6-foot UA forwards) Sarah Pfeifer and Danielle Allen that it took Watts so long to get going."

Gardner said Pfeifer (14 points) and Bush were the only Lady'Backs who played well.

"Sarah had that look that said, ‘Give me the ball,'" Gardner said.

Ole Miss won the board battle 61-34, despite the fact that Arkansas had worked on boxing out against its men's practice team.

Allen had nine rebounds, but said 6-1 Ole Miss freshman reserve Dee Forrest "manhandled me."

Gardner felt there weren't many X's or O's to change during timeouts or at halftime.

"I don't know how you shoot 29 percent when you're wide open and don't take many bad shots," Gardner said. "I can't call timeout to say, ‘OK, shoot the ball better.' There are some things you have no control over."

Gardner said the Lady'Backs have done extra shooting recently but need to practice their free throws at game speed.

Often oblivious to officials because she doesn't want to distract her players, Gardner said Sunday, "Yes, I did think about a technical foul. But I do not know how this team would respond to it."

Perhaps she'll find out when Arkansas goes to Auburn on Thursday night.

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