Ole Miss dismantles Nicholls State

The Ole Miss women's basketball program is back on the rise. With their latest 90-45 victory over Nicholls State, the Lady Rebels won their sixth straight and are off to the program's best start (9-1) since Ron Aldy's 2000-01 squad started the year 11-0. Ole Miss will likely receive its first Top-25 ranking tomorrow since the final poll of the 1995-96 season.

Ole Miss used a tough-nosed defense and an offensive explosion from its bench to defeat the Nicholls State Lady Colonels 90-45 for the Lady Rebels' sixth straight win. Powered by a 31-6 run midway through the first half, Ole Miss improved to 9-1 and will likely receive its first national ranking since the final poll of the 1995-96 season.

"Obviously, anytime everybody can play and make significant contributions, it's a good game," said third-year coach Carol Ross, who tied her career-long winning streak at Ole Miss with the victory. "This was a good win to continue to take some momentum into a tough road game at Louisiana Tech."

Ashley Johnson led the Lady Rebels in scoring with 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting. 6-foot-2 freshman Brandi Tipton poured in 14 points and seven rebounds, and Western Kentucky-transfer Carla Bartee added 10. Preseason junior All-American Armintie Price had 7 points and 8 rebounds in 19 minutes of play, breaking her consecutive-game streak of scoring in double-digits at 19. She was hampered by a face injury and started the Nicholls State game wearing a protective facemask.

Sophomore point guard Katherine Plummer led the Lady Colonels in scoring with 17 points.

Ole Miss got out to a big lead early and never looked back. The Lady Rebels pounded the paint, going inside to forwards Jada Mincy and Dee Forrest for the Rebels' first nine points. Down by ten points in the early going, Nicholls State went on an 8-4 run to trim the lead to 18-12.

But Lindsay Roy's jumper with 11:05 left in the first half sparked a 31-6 run over the next ten minutes to push the Lady Rebel lead from six points to 31. Ole Miss led 49-22 at the half.

The Lady Rebels continued to pressure Nicholls State in the second half, starting the period on a 13-0 run to end any chance of a Lady Colonel comeback. Ole Miss' lead grew to as many as 52 in the second half before the Lady Colonels finally succumbed 90-45.

Ole Miss dominated the final stats sheet. The big surprise was points off the bench, where the Lady Rebel backups outscored their Nicholls State counterparts 47-5. In addition, Ole Miss shot 48 percent from the field on 33 of 69 shooting and outrebounded Nicholls State 54-25. Ole Miss also forced the Lady Colonels into 23 turnovers. No Lady Rebel played more than 22 minutes, and everyone got at least 10 minutes of playing time.

Ole Miss' current six-game win-streak is the longest since Ron Aldy's 2002-03 squad won seven in a row, and the Lady Rebels' 9-1 record is Ole Miss' best start since Aldy's 2000-01 team began the season 11-0.

On Tuesday, Ole Miss travels to Ruston, La., to take on Louisiana Tech (7-3), who owns wins over Rice and Mississippi State. The Lady Techsters beat Ole Miss last season 88-70 in the Lady Rebels' last home loss to a non-conference team. Ole Miss went 6-0 in non-conference home games this year.

"Louisiana Tech has been one of the most respected programs over the last 20 years," Ross said. "This year's team is also good, and they whipped us last year at Tad Smith Coliseum. This is an important game for them after they have beaten Mississippi State at home and lost at Tennessee."

The Lady Rebels have only one day to prepare for Louisiana Tech, although Ross insists that her team will find a way to use the situation to its advantage.

"This is a stretch where we continue to be tested and have to adapt quickly as a team," Ross said. "It's a good way to test ourselves not only against our opponents but in the situations that surround us. It's a lot like march, and there is a method to the madness."

Game time is set for 7 p.m. CST.

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