Lady Rebels come back strong to beat Kansas

Ole Miss trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half (52-36) before battling back big to win in regulation. The victory was No. 300 for head coach Carol Ross in her collegiate coaching career. UM now plays at Pittsburgh Wednesday in the next round of NIT action.

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Junior Armintie Price scored a season-high 31 points and junior Ashley Awkward nailed a jumper right inside the three-point line with 18 seconds left in the game to give the Ole Miss women's basketball team a 78-76 win over Kansas in the first round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament at Allen Fieldhouse Sunday night.

The Lady Rebels (17-13) move into the second round, where they will face Pittsburgh Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pa. The time is yet to be determined. Kansas ends its season at 17-13.

With the win, head coach Carol Ross picked up her 300th career victory. This also marks the Lady Rebels' first WNIT win and their first postseason win since an 83-61 win over Indiana in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament. In addition, the Lady Rebels became the first road team to win in the WNIT this year.

"This is a thrilling victory," Ross said. "We got down because we weren't playing with a lot of energy. We changed up our defense and got some key stops, which set up our offense. We played very determined down the stretch."

Price scored 18 of her 31 points in the final 14 minutes of the game as Ole Miss erased a 16-point second-half deficit. Trailing 52-36 with 14:08 to go in the game, the Lady Rebels went on a 29-11 run to tie it at 63, also sparked by key baskets from Awkward and Ashley Johnson.

The Lady Rebels would lead 72-71 with 2:03 to go, but the Jayhawk's Kaylee Brown nailed one of her two three-pointers to put Kansas back on top 74-72.

Freshman Shawn Goff grabbed one of her eight offensive rebounds on the night, off a missed shot by Price, and got the put-back to tie it. Following a missed three by KU's Brown, Price nailed a jumper to give the Lady Rebels a 76-74 lead with less a minute remaining.

Crystal Kemp hit a jumper with 35 seconds to go to make it 76-76, before Awkward came right down and nailed the game-winning shot. Kansas had two looks to tie or win the game, but missed both.

Kansas led 39-34 at the half and used a 13-2 run to build the 16 point lead, before Ole Miss rallied.

Helping out Price in the scoring department, Awkward finished with 16 points, while Ashley Johnson added 14 points. Both were key factors in the second-half run, scoring 13 points down the stretch to aid the comeback. Senior LaTanya Jones played some quality minutes late in the game, adding four points and three rebounds. Goff finished with a team-leading 10 rebounds to go with seven points, all of which she had in the second half.

The Lady Rebels had only two offensive rebounds in the first half and finished with 19, as they out-rebounded the Jayhawks 44-35. Ole Miss shot 44 percent from the field and 31 percent from behind the arc.

Kansas shot 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. The Jayhawks were led Marija Zinic's 17 points. Erica Hallman added 15 points, Kemp finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds, and Brown chipped in 13 in the loss.

Ole Miss now leads the series between the two schools 2-0. The Lady Rebels also posted a 61-40 win over the Jayhawks in 1988.

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