Lady Rebs get big win against No. 16 Georgia

Ole Miss improved to 17-8 overall and 7-5 in SEC play with the 72-61 victory. The Lady Rebels play at Auburn Thursday at 7 p.m.

Georgia head coach Andy Landers ranted and raved, stormed up and down the sideline, met his players way out on the court during timeouts often with not so nice things to say and an equally unpleasant look on his face.

This went on throughout the Lady Bulldogs' 72-61 loss to Ole Miss at Tad Smith Coliseum Sunday afternoon as Landers became part of the show. But the game wasn't about coaches. It was about players.

And on this day, it was the Lady Rebels who were the outstanding team, winning an important game against the 16th-ranked visitors.

"I really felt like this was going to be a players' game," said Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross. "After what happened in Starkville (61-52 loss to MSU), these players knew what the challenge was. It was not about Georgia. It was about Ole Miss. I didn't really have to say anything. It was just time to go play ball."

Ross said her players indeed got ready for this game and it showed on the court as they moved to 17-8 on the season and 7-5 in Southeastern Conference play.

"The players did a great job of preparing long before the ball was ever tipped off," she said. "The things we didn't do well in terms of leadership and commitment and effort and hustle (at MSU Thursday), they got those things corrected. These players get all the credit in the world. The leadership has been tremendous the last two days. It shows what they are capable of when they play and wear that uniform like they did tonight."

The game was tight throughout the first half as neither team led by more than four points – until the very end of the half when Georgia scored the final seven points before the break to lead 33-27.

But Ole Miss wasted no time in coming out and setting the tone for the second half, much of it led by the hustle and aggressiveness of sophomore guard Armintie Price and senior guard Elizabeth Cansdale.

Cansdale quickly nailed a trey to cut the UGA lead to 33-30 and shortly thereafter the Lady Rebs tied the game at 35-35.

But over the course of the next seven minutes, the Lady Rebs were able to build a lead that the Lady Bulldogs found insurmountable. From 35-35, Ole Miss outscored Georgia 17-5 and led 52-40, the final basket in the run yet another Cansdale 3-pointer with 11:04 to go in the game.

The visitors from Athens got it as close as six points at 60-54 with five minutes left, but Ole Miss quickly moved back out in front by double digits. Free throw shooting late became the Lady Rebels' best friend as they made eight of 11 down the stretch and increased the lead to its largest of the contest at 71-58 with half a minute remaining.

By this time Landers had cooled down some but didn't appear pleased in the postgame press conference by anything he'd seen in the contest.

"We didn't transition, we didn't defend the dribble, and we acted like we didn't even prepare for this game," said the 26-year UGA head coach, whose team fell to 20-7 and 9-4. "That really bothers me."

And Landers' lone comment on Price?

"She was terrific."

But Price and the Lady Rebels had some things to say. They knew after Thursday night's setback at Mississippi State that they'd need to do all they could to win the game at home today.

"In practice this week after we lost to State, we had to get ready for Georgia," Price said. "Friday and Saturday I was just trying to pump the ladies up and let them know we had to win this game and that we had nothing to lose. I wanted them to know we had to play as hard as we can, and we did."

Price, who scored 30 points today tying her season high, said she didn't do it alone.

"I'm so proud for that (30 points), but my teammates did a great job getting me the ball when I was hot," said Price, who also had 11 rebounds, two assists, and a blocked shot. "We helped each other out, and I'm thankful for the 30."

Cansdale said the Lady Rebs know that in every game Price is one of the players they need to look to.

"Armintie is a go-to player, and hot or not we try to get her the ball," Cansdale said. "Today she was on fire with it and did a really great job."

Ross agreed that Price was on today.

"I thought she set a great tone physically on the floor," Ross said. "She played with great determination. Her will to win was evident to anybody who watched the game. She played at a level that only great players reach. And it was all about the intensity of how she played."

Ross said it was more than a one-player win, however.

"I thought our seniors, especially Liz and Carletta, also set a good tone in terms of being focused and being intense on the task at hand. I thought (senior center) Amber Terrell (who drew a start in place of regular starter Amber Watts) came in and set a terrific tone on the inside. She was very physical and she was very aggressive. She set a tone that really lasted 40 minutes."

In addition to Price's 30, Cansdale had 11 and Watts 10.

For Georgia, Humphrey had 18 and Cori Chambers 16.

The Rebels shot 43 percent from the floor while Georgia shot 37 percent. Ole Miss was 16-27 from the line and the Lady Dogs 11-13. From behind the arc, UM was 4-12 and UGA 6-16.

Ole Miss finishes up the road regular season at Auburn Thursday night and then comes home for Senior Day Sunday hosting South Carolina at 2 p.m. Cansdale, Watts, Terrell, and Brown will play their final game at Tad Smith Coliseum at that time.

But it was a win over Georgia that was on their minds late this afternoon. A much-needed victory was now in the books.

"This was an enormous boost for us," Cansdale said. "The crowd really kept us in it. We knew we needed to win this one to help finish out the season strongly, and we got that today."

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