Women's Basketball Falls At Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. - A strong second-half surge lifted Ole Miss past Mississippi State 66-58 in a Southeastern Conference women's basketball game played Thursday night at Tad Smith Coliseum.

The Lady Bulldogs dropped their second straight conference game and also suffered its first league defeat on the road. MSU is now 12-7 overall and 3-3 in league play. Ole Miss improved to 13-5 and 4-1. The Lady Rebels snapped a two-game losing streak in the in-state rivalry.

MSU appeared to seize the momentum late in the first half. Neither team led by more than four points before the Lady Bulldogs pieced together a 12-1 run. Bethany Washington and Alexis Rack hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to highlight that run. A jumper by Rack gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead at 28-19 with 2:27 remaining before the half.

The Lady Rebels crawled back into the contest with a half-ending 8-3 run. UM's Bianca Thomas drained a 3-point basket cutting the MSU lead to 31-27 at the intermission.

Ole Miss put its stamp on a fourth straight conference win at home by playing well in the game's final 20 minutes. The Lady Rebels shot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half.

The Lady Rebels pulled even in the contest on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Kayla Melson. The converted free throw tied the teams 38-38 with 13:57 left in regulation. From there, a 12-4 run by Ole Miss gave the Lady Rebels the lead for good.

A layup by Melson capped the run and created a 47-42 UM lead with 9:51 left in regulation. A 3-point basket by Rack cut the deficit to 49-48 with 7:19 remaining. However, MSU could not regain the lead for the remainder of the contest.

The Lady Rebels continued their blistering pace from the field, including 24 points in the paint in the final half. A 3-point basket by Shantell Black proved large as it pushed UM back out to a 57-50 advantage with 5:59 remaining in the game.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 23 of 53 shots from the field (43.4 percent), 10 of 23 shots from 3-point range (43.5 percent) and 2 of 4 shots from the foul line (50.0 percent). The Lady Rebels hit 25 of 52 shots from the field (48.1 percent), 5 of 16 shots from 3-point rang (31.3 percent) and 11 of 15 shots from the foul line (73.3 percent).

Ole Miss held a 35-25 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had 14 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Lady Rebels had 12 assists and 18 turnovers.

Rack paced the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points. Rack also had five assists but committed seven turnovers. Chanel Mokango added 10 points, a team-high five rebounds and three blocked shots.

For Ole Miss, Black and Thomas each shared team-high scoring honors with 15 points apiece. Nikki Byrd scored 12 points, while Melson and Elizabeth Robertson each added 11 points. Byrd had a team-high nine rebounds, while Melson dished out seven assists.

MSU returns to action Sunday with a road trip to Vanderbilt. The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Commodores tip at 2 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. MSU hosts eighth-ranked Georgia at 8 p.m. next Thursday night.

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