Lady Rebels win on Senior Day

It certainly was the way that Ellen Buchanan, Ashley Johnson, and LaTanya Jones wanted to go out: with a win. Playing in their final game at Tad Smith Coliseum, the trio of Lady Rebel seniors watched their Ole Miss team battle for an 85-78 victory in front of an announced attendance of 1,588. The Lady Rebels, now 15-12 overall and 5-9 in the SEC, will play Arkansas (13-14, 5-9) again in the first-round of the SEC tournament.

Third-year coach Carol Ross entered the media room with a smile on her face. "I just ate my first set of pig lips," she quipped. "That's what winning does. You make deals, and then you have to follow through with them."

Following through on her end of a deal with her players, Ross ate a pair of pig lips in the postgame lockerroom after Ole Miss defeated the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks 85-78 in Oxford.

"A lot of our team is from the country, and we eat them all the time," preseason All-SEC guard Armintie Price said. "We're always talking about pig lips and pig feet, so Coach Ross said if we win, she'd eat one."

"Don't ever try one," Ross added. "They taste terrible."

"But it was a great way to end the regular season," Ross said. "It's been a frustrating SEC season, and it was great to end it on a positive note. I really thought there were signs of that team we all enjoyed so much in November and December. We had that energy. It was a great way to send off our seniors."

The Lady Rebels, who led the entire second half, had to battle down the stretch, as Arkansas refused to go away in the game's final ten minutes, even after the Lady Rebels got up by double digits.

After Ole Miss built its first double-digit lead of the second half, Arkansas's Dominique Washington exploded for 19 of her career-high 37 points in the game's final 11 minutes, single-handedly keeping the Lady ‘Backs close.

With Arkansas down 76-66, Washington got a 3-pointer, a layup, and four straight free throws to pull within 79-75.

Arkansas got even closer at 81-78, but Ashley Johnson nailed two free throws to give the Lady Rebels a five-point lead. Johnson later added two more free throws after Arkansas missed its last shot to seal the deal for Ole Miss 85-78.

The Lady Rebels pounded the ball down low all afternoon, scoring 85 points on zero 3-pointers. Ole Miss outscored Arkansas in the paint 48-22.

Armintie Price led the Lady Rebels with 24 points and 11 rebounds, recording her seventh double-double of the season. Carla Bartee added 15 points, Ashley Awkward 14, Jada Mincy 13, and Shawn Goff 11 to lead Ole Miss.

Arkansas jumped out to an early 9-4 lead before Ole Miss got in rhythm. Trailing by five, the Lady Rebels – anchored by three Armintie Price layups – ripped off 12 straight points to take a 16-9 advantage with just under 13 minutes left in the first half.

Ole Miss increased its lead to as many as nine points 21-12 before Arkansas rallied. Junior Dominique Washington's six straight points to give Arkansas a 31-29 lead.

But Ole Miss's Carla Bartee nailed two free throws to tie the game, and the Lady Rebels outscored the Lady Razorbacks 10-2 to close the first half.

The Lady Rebels kept that momentum going in the second half, as Ole Miss built its first double-digit lead 56-46 with 11:15 left in regulation. That's when Washington exploded.

The Lady Rebels, who end the season 15-12 on the year and 5-9 in the SEC, will travel to the SEC Tournament next weekend to play these same Lady Razorbacks in the No. 8 versus No. 9 matchup.

Ole Miss, who played South Carolina to end the regular season last year and then played them again in the first round of the SEC tournament, are hoping for the same results: two wins.

"I'll eat whatever I have to to win," Ross said.

Her players may hold her to that.

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