Carol Ross was pleased her Lady Rebels got back on the winning track Sunday at Auburn. But the 51-48 victory was anything but pleasing to watch.
"It was maybe the ugliest win I've ever been a part of," said Ross, whose team is now 11-5 overall and 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play. "But we were glad to get a league win after two losses. We'll take it and run with it at this point."
The Lady Rebels will run with it into a hot Florida team that's also 1-2 in SEC play and stands at 13-3 overall. The Lady Gators invade C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest.
"Florida is playing well," Ross said. "They play fast-paced. They press 90 feet. They are talented with four seniors who play."
Ross has had success against Florida, where she was head coach from 1991-2002, since becoming the Ole Miss head coach. Two years ago in Oxford, the Lady Rebs won 79-72 and last year in Gainesville 82-70.
"Coach (Carolyn) Peck has done a good job," Ross said of the coach who replaced her with the Lady Gators. "This will be another tough SEC game for us."
The Lady Rebels have lost both their conference home games so far, falling to both sets of Lady Bulldogs – Georgia and Mississippi State. They now hope to re-establish their homecourt dominance, so important if they are to have success again this season.
"We want to defend our home court as we always do," said Ross, whose Lady Rebels remain at home following this contest, hosting Kentucky at 2 p.m. Sunday. "Hopefully our crowd will continue to embrace us, and we'll have good support again this week."
*** The following are the Ole Miss game notes for the Florida game as provided by Katy Lonergan of Ole Miss athletics media relations:
Ole Miss is led on the season by junior guard Armintie Price with 17.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Price, a two-time 2005-06 SEC Player of the Week, has scored in double figures in 14-of-16 games this season and has collected 10 double-doubles on the season.
Junior guard Ashley Awkward has been getting the nod at the point guard position for Ole Miss. Awkward is leading the team in assists with 2.6 per game. She also drops in 9.9 points.
After opening the season with three-straight games in double figures, sophomore forward Danetra Forrest has collected two double-figure outings to open conference play. Forrest led Ole Miss with 12 points versus Georgia and tied for team-leading honors against MSU with 15 points.
Senior guard Ashley Johnson is a threat for Ole Miss from her shooting guard position as she averages 11.3 points per game. Johnson connected on 4-of-10 from beyond the arc in the Lady Rebels' win over Auburn.
Sophomore forward Carla Bartee is Ole Miss' top player off the bench with 7.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per outing. Bartee posted her first double-double as a Lady Rebel with 15 points and 10 rebounds versus Louisiana Tech. She has also knocked down 18 triples on the season.
Under the direction of third-year head coach Carol Ross, the Lady Rebels are 47-30. Ross, who played at Ole Miss from 1979-82, earned SEC Co-Coach of the Year honors in 2004 after guiding Ole Miss back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight seasons. Ross' Lady Rebels returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2004-05, falling to George Washington in the first round of play.
Florida enter's Thursday's contest fresh off of a break in their schedule. The Lady Gators are 13-3 on the season and 1-2 in conference play after opening with a win over Alabama before falling to Georgia and Kentucky.
Senior Dalila Esha leads UF in scoring and rebounding with 14.2 points and 7.8 boards per game. Senior Brittany Davis is right behind Eshe in both categories with 13.4 points and 7.4 caroms per contest.
Sha Brooks, an SEC Freshman of the Year candidate, also drops in double figures in points with 13.1, while also leading the team in steals with 39.
Florida head coach Carolyn Peck is 55-48 in her fourth season with the Lady Gators. Peck's overall coaching mark is 112-59 in her sixth season in the business.
Lady Rebs host Florida Thursday night
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