Ole Miss couldn't get a handle on the basketball from the get-go with six turnovers in the game's first three minutes. At the mid-point of the first half the Rebels were averaging a turnover per minute. By the end of the contest, 29 turnovers were as much to blame for the loss as any aspect of the contest.
That and getting beaten on the boards. Texas-Arlington had the best of it in the rebounding department 43-31, with an 18-6 advantage on the offensive glass.
But Texas-Arlington was not comfortable with this one until the waning moments. Only then did the scrappy, hard-nosed group allow themselves to get excited over the fact that they were about to knock off an Ole Miss club that had played some good teams tough this season.
"We know how explosive Ole Miss is. We never felt confident until the last minute," said UT-A head coach Donna Capps, who recorded her 100th win as head coach of the Mavericks. "Only then did we feel good about things. We saw how well they played at Rutgers and against the other teams they've played. We had some kids step up who normally don't; three freshmen that really helped us."
A 19-point, 12-rebound effort by Tiffeny Riles paced UT-A. Maryann Abanobi added 14 points for the Mavs, while Ashley Bobb chipped in nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
But it was on defense that Capps felt her team won the game.
"I felt like Ole Miss got frustrated," she said. "Some of it was our defense. We worked very hard on containment and rotating. Our kids stepped up and took charges. Our defense is what our whole program is centered around. We felt Ole Miss was better offensively. We just wanted to be better defensively."
UT-A advances to play Tulane in the championship game on Saturday, while Ole Miss will face Fordham at 5 p.m.
The Mavericks, now 5-7 on the season, never trailed in the game. The Rebels were 0-for-3 from behind the 3-point line in the contest.
Jada Mincy recorded a double-double for Ole Miss, which fell to 9-4 on the year, with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Armintie Price led Ole Miss with 20 points.
The Rebels trailed 35-29 at halftime and could only manage to tie the game early in the second half. UT-A pulled away midway through the second half.
"We just couldn't get over the hump," Price said. "We'd get close and either foul or turn the ball over. We just couldn't get it done tonight. We didn't give the effort we needed to give to win."
Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross said she hasn't seen this side of her team before tonight.
"I'm surprised we could look that bad, because we haven't before," she said. "Our team is based on hustle and intensity and effort. Tonight we basically got beat at our own game. They outscrapped and outhustled us."
Ross said the Rebels have to get things fixed in a hurry.
"Whatever came creeping out of that box tonight, we've got to shove it back in," she said. "We're only as good as how hard we hustle and how hard we play. We've survived that way. We don't always do everything well, but we usually hide those things by giving great effort. Tonight we didn't do that."
Ole Miss women have bad day against UT-A
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