UM women beat State 86-84 in OT

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Senior guard Armintie Price scored a jumper in the lane off an in-bounds pass from senior guard Ashley Awkward with 1.8 seconds left to give Ole Miss (20-8, 9-4) an 86-84 overtime win over in-state rival Mississippi State (16-11, 6-6) on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum.

The win gives the Rebels and Bulldogs a split for the season, with each team picking up a two-point win on the road.

The Rebels had the ball underneath their own goal with 3.0 remaining in the extra session after an Awkward three-point attempt fell short, but the Bulldogs touched the ball last on its way out of bounds. Awkward lobbed the ball to Price right in front of the rim and the 5-9 guard went up and tipped it in for the victory.

"We asked the players during the timeout what plays they felt comfortable running," said Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross. "Both Ashley and Armintie felt good about running that particular play and it just happened to work. It was great execution of a play we practice every day."

Price, who finished with 18 points in the win, joined an elite crowd by going over the 2,000-point plateau in career scoring. She now has over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 300 assists, becoming just the fifth player in NCAA women's basketball history to do so. She joins Cheryl Miller (USC), Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee), Tamika Catchings (Tennessee) and Sophia Young (Baylor) in the prestigious club.

Early on Price didn't have much to celebrate as the Rebels trailed by as many as 14 in the opening period, allowing the Bulldogs to shoot a blistering 53 percent, including making 5-of-9 from three-point range. Alexis Rack had the hot hand for MSU as she scored all 14 of her points in the first 20 minutes of play. Marneshia Richard, who hit the game winning shot in Oxford, tossed in nine first-half points and dished five assists, leading the Bulldogs to a 47-34 halftime advantage.

Ole Miss came out of the lockerroom with a new level of intensity on the defensive end and immediately began chipping away at the MSU lead. After tallying 10 first-half turnovers, the Bulldogs had four miscues on their first five possessions of the second half allowing Ole Miss to trim the lead down to five at 49-44 at the 17:38 mark on a lay-up by junior forward Danetra Forrest.

The two teams traded baskets over the next eight minutes before a lay-up by freshman guard Shantell Black cut the deficit to one with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation. MSU forward Tysheka Grimes countered with a three to put the Bulldog lead back at four points, followed by a lay-up by Richard, but the Rebels would not go away as freshman guard Alliesha Easley drilled a three at the other end of the court.

After two free throws by MSU forward Imesia Jackson, the Rebels tallied six-straight points taking their first lead of the game on a jumper by junior forward Carla Bartee with 7:28 left to play.

The lead switched back and forth over the next three and half minutes before a lay-up by Price gave the Rebels a three-point lead, their largest of the game. A basket and a free throw by Robin Porter tied it right back up. Over the last minute and half of regulation, Price knocked down two baskets and Jackson and Bethany Washington countered for MSU forcing the extra period.

MSU took the opening tip of the extra session, but neither team could score for the first two minutes. Price opened the scoring with a put-back for the Rebels and Richard knotted the score at 80 a piece. Jackson gave the Bulldogs a two-point lead with a basket in the lane, before Awkward drilled a jumper from the wing to force an 82-all tie.

Two free throws by Richard gave MSU their final lead of the game with 1:47 left in overtime, before Price scored the final two buckets to give Ole Miss its 20th win of the season.

The 20 wins is the most for the Rebels under Ross and the most for the program since the 1994-95 Ole Miss squad posted a 21-8 ledger. Ole Miss has also posted a high in conference wins under Ross with nine. The last time an Ole Miss squad finished with nine or more wins in SEC play was the 1991-92 season, when they went 11-0 and took home the conference title.

In addition to her team-high 18 points, Price nearly missed the second triple-double of her career with11 rebounds and eight assists. She also had two steals. Awkward added 16 points and four assists for the Rebels, while Bartee had 14 points off the bench to go along with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Easley, Black and sophomore center Shawn Goff each chipped in eight points for Ole Miss and Forrest added seven. Senior forward Jada Mincy pulled down six rebounds, while Black led the Rebels with four steals and also had four rebounds despite being the smallest player on the court.

MSU was led by Jackson's 18 points. Richard finished with 15 points, Rack with 14, Porter with 13 and Washington with 12. Grimes led the Bulldogs with 11 caroms, while Richard was the assist leader with six.

Ole Miss forced 31 Bulldog turnovers and forced them into 31 points, holding a 20-point advantage in that category. The Rebel bench was another key factor, outscoring their MSU counterparts 33-17.

Ole Miss will pay tribute to its three seniors, Awkward, Mincy and Price before the final game of the 2006-07 regular season, on Sunday, Feb. 25. The Rebels will host Auburn at 2 p.m. in Tad Smith Coliseum, with "Senior Day" festivities taking place prior to tip-off.

OM Spirit Top Stories