Lady Rebels fall to Mississippi State at home

The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs used a key 18-3 run midway through the second half to break open a see-saw affair and defeat the Ole Miss Lady Rebels 70-59 at Tad Smith Coliseum. With the loss, Ole Miss falls to 10-5 on the season, including an 0-2 mark in the SEC, and will travel to Auburn next Thursday to play the Lady Tigers.

For 30 minutes of play, the Ole Miss Lady Rebels did not look like the same squad that had defeated two Top-25 ranked teams at home and had destroyed pre-season Conference USA champion Rice 110-63. The Lady Rebels, accordingly, found themselves down by 17 points 56-39 with under ten minutes left in a game that most expected them to win.

And the surprising thing about it all is that it happened at home.

Ole Miss hardly ever loses at home. Since coach Carol Ross took over the women's basketball program at her alma mater three seasons ago, her club is 25-5 at home. But the Lady Rebels couldn't work their home magic here Sunday in front of 2,103 at Tad Smith Coliseum.

Mississippi State used an 18-3 run midway through the second half to break open what had been a see-saw affair. With State leading by four points 38-36, junior Natasha Henderson's back-to-back layups sparked the run that featured 7 consecutive Lady Rebel misses and Ole Miss being outrebounded 12-2.

"Their energy just went up as the game went on," third-year Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross said. "You have to make stops and score buckets to stop runs like that. We didn't, and that put a lot of pressure on our offensive execution. They were energized and gave second and third efforts.

"Any loss in the SEC is tough," Ross added. "You're expected to win at home, and that's how we've made the turn (in this program) here. Whatever gives us the edge here, we have to find it and get it back."

Ole Miss was led in scoring by Armintie Price and Danetra Forrest, both of whom scored 15 points. Price recorded her tenth double-double of the season with 11 rebounds before fouling out with under 30 seconds left. Ashley Awkward added 11 points for the Lady Rebels.

Sophomore Lindsay Roy's two three-pointers sparked a 14-4 run that cut the lead to 60-53 with over four minutes left, but Lindsay Roy's three-pointer that could have cut the lead to four dipped inside the rim before spinning out, and Mississippi State used its next possession to up its lead back to nine points.

The Lady Rebels cut the lead to 5 points 62-57 with about 90 seconds left, but Mississippi State held on for a 70-59 win.

Ole Miss started the game hot and quickly got out to a 14-5 lead. It looked like it was going to be a blowout early as the Lady Rebels maintained their advantage for a 19-10 lead through the game's first ten minutes. But, as it seemed happened all night long, the Lady Rebels went cold shooting the ball, starting at the 9:55 mark. By the time they had scored their next point with 4:27 left in the first half, State had ripped off 12 consecutive points to take a 20-19. The score was tied 28-28 at the half.

Ole Miss shot 27 percent from the field on 19 of 69 shooting, including an abysmal 2 for 19 clip from the three-point line. The Lady Bulldogs shot 41 percent on 15 of 61 shooting and outrebounded the Lady Rebels 55-39.

The Lady Rebels' NCAA tournament hopes took a serious hit with their loss to Mississippi State (6-9, 1-1), and Ole Miss has now lost four of its last five games. The Lady Rebels have a week off before traveling to Auburn next Sunday to play the Lady Tigers.

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