With 10 seconds to go in the Ole Miss Lady Rebels' 66-60 upset of No. 15 Vanderbilt at Tad Smith Coliseum Thursday night, the Ole Miss students and band got to do exactly what they wanted to do the night before when the Ole Miss men's basketball team lost its lead late and fell to Kentucky.
"Overrated," they yelled in unison as the seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock. "Overrated."
Wednesday's night's 53-50 setback to the UK men actually spilled over to the game tonight. Coach Carol Ross said she heard her team talking about it as Vandy crept back from a long way down.
The Lady Rebels led by 19 points as late as the 14:33 mark of the second half on 3-pointer by senior guard Liz Cansdale. But the Lady Commodores came roaring back and got it down to four points five times in the game's final two minutes.
But that's as close as they got, and Ross said the game the night before had something to do with it, in her opinion.
"I really think they used last night's game as much as any experience they've had in the past," Ross said. "I heard from our players how Kentucky made a run (in last night's men's game), and you know Vandy's going to make a run at us. You're not going to run Vanderbilt out of the gym. Every great team has runs, but tonight we were able to answer that. We went 8-for-8 in our last eight free throws. And we took care of the basketball. Some of that is probably past experience with these players, but some of it is also paying attention to what happened last night. Our players responded tonight great."
The Lady Rebels improved to 12-5 on the season and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference play. Vanderbilt fell to 13-4 and 2-2.
Vanderbilt is the highest scoring team in the SEC and second highest in the nation. The Lady Commodores hadn't lost to Ole Miss in its last 11 tries, dating back to Jan. 24, 1996.
"We had a tough first half," said VU head coach Melanie Balcomb, whose team trailed 33-18 at the break. "We had 15 turnovers at halftime. A lot of their offense came off our turnovers. We had to go to the basket more in the second half and we made some things happen. We took care of the basketball better."
As the game went on and her team had a chance to win, Balcomb said Ole Miss stepped up.
"They did a good job of hitting big buckets when they needed to," she said. "I give them credit for their execution down the stretch."
Ole Miss was led by sophomore guard Armintie Price with 18 points, followed by senior center Amber Watts with 10.
Ashley Earley paced Vandy with 19, while Carla Thomas had 16.
Ross and the Lady Rebels now face a tough task traveling to Florida for a Sunday afternoon game.
"Our great defensive play got rewarded tonight," she said. "I hope our players understand better the effort it takes to step up and beat a great team like Vanderbilt. We beat a ranked opponent and this is significant - not so much today but in March. Now we have to shift gears quickly and get ready for a talented team at Florida. We need a road win and this is our next opportunity."
Following the game in Gainesville, the Lady Rebs return home for a contest against arch-rival Mississippi State on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m.
Lady Rebs upset No. 15 Vandy 66-60
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