Senior Ashley Johnson poured in 20 points to lead the Ole Miss Lady Rebels to a 90-50 School Day win over Tennessee State.
An announced C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum crowd of 4,445 mostly school-aged kids, ranging from elementary to high school, cheered the Lady Rebels on to a 5-1 record with UAB now up next on Saturday in Oxford at 2 p.m.
"This is our fun game, a game we enjoy and look forward to each season," said UM third-year head coach Carol Ross. "You could tell from the crowd why that's the case. Our players enjoy the crowd. I was really pleased with how our players represented Ole Miss."
Ole Miss led only 39-26 at halftime as TSU shot a blistering 53 percent (10-19) from the floor. But a 32-9 run for Ole Miss to start the second half pushed the lead to 71-35 halfway through the second stanza, and only the margin of this one was left to be decided.
"We needed to guard somebody, and in the first half we weren't guarding anybody," Ross said. "To Tennessee State's credit, they hit open shots. Our problem was they shouldn't have been open to begin with. So I challenged (the Lady Rebs) to play harder and better and compete. I thought we did that in the second half."
Johnson, who was 9-13 from the floor including 2-4 from 3-point range, said she felt her team needed a lift, so she gave it a shot.
"I knew our defense needed to pick things up too, so I tried to help on both ends of the floor," said Johnson, one of three 2005-06 Lady Rebel seniors. "I just felt good out there today."
The Lady Rebels shot 47 percent (34-73) for the game but were 18-32 for 56 percent in the second half.
Joining Johnson in double figures for Ole Miss were four other Lady Rebels - Armintie Price with 14, Jada Mincy with 13, Ashley Awkward with 12, and Carla Bartee with 10.
Mincy also had 10 rebounds to pace the Lady Rebs in that department. It was the first double-double (points, rebounds) for Mincy, a sophomore, in her UM career and also a UM career-high for points.
Price fell and hurt her arm in the first half which was a scary moment for the Lady Rebs. But she played nine minutes in the second half and said after the game she was OK.
"It was just a bump," said the always tough Price.
Leslie Dean had 14 and Tiffany Jackson 11 for the 0-4 TSU Lady Tigers.
The Lady Rebels are now 3-0 in School Day games since the event was started. Ole Miss beat McNeese State University and The University of New Orleans on School Day the past two seasons.
Lady Rebs roll in School Day game
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