Nicholls can't slow down UM women's hoops

Ole Miss wanted to end its non-conference season with a bang. The Rebels clearly did that as they ran Nicholls State out of Tad Smith Coliseum 87-50.

Now it's on to Auburn for the start of Southeastern Conference play Thursday night.

"We wanted to shut the door on these first 15 games," said UM head coach Carol Ross. "We wanted to get non-conference play behind us and get into league play. It's been hard to not be focused on Auburn. That's where we are now and that's what we're anxious for. We're ready to move into the next phase. I don't know if we're physically ready but we're emotionally and mentally ready."

Certainly they appeared to be ready in all phases in this one. When junior Danetra Forrest hit two free throws with 14:35 to go in the first half, the Rebel lead was already double digits at 18-8.

The lead was 15 points at 30-15 when freshman Shantell Black nailed a trey midway through the first half. At halftime the Rebs held their largest lead so far - 29 points - at 53-24 as freshman Bianca Thomas made a 3-point basket just before the buzzer.

Thomas' 3-pointer with 9:06 to go in the game gave UM a 78-36 lead. Two free throws by junior Tasi Worsham with eight minutes to go gave Ole Miss its largest lead of the night, 46 points, at 82-36.

Thomas had a career-high 18 points to lead Ole Miss, which improved to 11-4 on the season.

"This game gives me more confidence," said Thomas, who was 5-for-7 from 3-point range as her team had a season-high nine 3-pointers. "My teammates kept giving me the ball in good position to shoot, and fortunately I made them."

Sophomore Brandi Tipton had a career-high 10 rebounds to lead the Rebs in that department as Ole Miss won the battle of the boards 44 to 24.

In addition to Thomas' 18 points, sophomore Shawn Goff had 17 points and senior Armintie Price had 13.

Nicholls State, 2-9 now, was led by Jamie Octave with 14 points.

"We set some goals for this game and there were some things we wanted to get done," Goff said. "We still have a lot of improving to do to be ready for SEC play."

Ross said the Rebels may not be at their best but hopefully they're getting there.

"I don't necessarily think we were totally dominant and a fine-tuned machine tonight," Ross said. "But we're ready to move on from here. Hopefully we're ready for SEC play because it's time."

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