Hartford, CT - Ole Miss brought its "A" game up North.
The Lady Rebels are 9th in the nation in scoring this season, but it was their relentless defense that was their calling card in an 88-74 victory over TCU in their first round game in the NCAA Tournament here this afternoon.
Ole Miss scored 38 points off TCU turnovers, mostly forced by teancious defense, in notching the victory.
The win was the first NCAA Tournament victory for the Lady Rebel program since 1994.
In the process, the Lady Rebs set a team scoring record in the NCAA tournament.
Led by All-SEC and All-American Armintie Price with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists; Ashley Awkward with 12 points; Danetra Forrest with 12 points and 8 rebounds in a productive 26 minutes; and Alliesha Easley's 14 points (10 in the second half), the Ladies blew open a relatively tight contest, after gaining a 40-32 halftime advantage, and led by as many as 21 points in the second half.
TCU, which was appearing in their seventh straight NCAA tournament, was never able to come back other than a brief run that cut the score to nine with five minutes to go.
TCU Coach Jeff Mittie credited Price as being the difference in the game, which she has been many times in her career.
"She makes it a different game at both end of the court. They were relentless in everything they did," said Mittie. "They were very athletic and physical. You can't give Ole Mise second and third chances. But we did. Price sets the tone for them. They go how she goes and we couldn't slow her down in the second half on either end."
The Lady Rebels had 46 rebounds and caused 23 turnovers in the contest.
TCU made a 7-0 run in the second half to close the gap to 50-41, but Ole Miss kept their composure and closed out the game in a convincing fashion, hitting 7-10 treys in the second half.
Ole Miss Coach Carol Ross was pleased with the performance.
"We set the tone of the game with good defense and kept that up the entire game," said Ross.
Price, a National Defensive Player of the Year candidate, had 3 steals as she controlled the rhythm of the game.
"They were hungrier, more aggressive," Mittie stated. "They fed off Price."
Ashley Davis tied a career high with 24 points for TCU.
"Ole Miss just played a great game," said Davis. "They were just better than us today."
"There never is a lack of effort on this team. We try to make a full effort all the time. We did that today," Ross added.
The Lady Rebels play Tuesday night back at the Civic Center against the winner of the Harvard-Maryland game, most likely defending national champs Maryland.
For seniors Price, Awkard and Jada Mincy their careers continue.
"We have that first win under our belts now. We want to do more," said Price.
As Coach Ross said at the postgame press conference, "What you saw on the court is who we are. Defensively we scrape around and try to make plays."
On Sunday, they made plenty of them.
Ladies advance in NCAA Tournament
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