Ole Miss featured four players who scored in double figures highlighted by sophomore guard Shantell Black's career-high 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Junior center Shawn Goff and senior forward Carla Bartee each registered 16 points, while sophomore guard Bianca Thomas chipped in with 12 points.
The Lady Rebels nearly handed Penn State its first home loss of the season by shooting 50 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. Ole Miss took its first lead of the second period just over three minutes into the action when freshman guard Kayla Melson scored on a jumper just outside the free throw line to give the Lady Rebels a 40-39 lead.
Penn State (8-3, 0-0 Big Ten) responded with a 7-2 run capped by a jump shot from senior guard Kamela Gissendanner to take a four point lead with just over 15 minutes remaining. Ole Miss answered with a 7-2 run of its own to regain a one-point lead following a three-pointer from Bartee from the top of the key.
Ole Miss (4-4, 0-0 SEC) failed to extend its lead any further as the Lady Lions held the Lady Rebels scoreless for the next two and a half minutes to take a 57-49 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the game using a 9-0 run.
The Lady Lions managed to extend their lead to 10 points with just under six minutes remaining before Ole Miss went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to four points at the 4:20 mark. After a pair of free throws from Janessa Wolff gave Penn State a six-point edge, Thomas swished a three-pointer with just two seconds remaining on the shot clock to cut the lead in half with 3:29 left on the clock.
Brianne O'Rourke put Penn State back ahead by five points with a pair of free throws at the 2:15 mark, but Bartee answered with a 3-pointer of her own on the other end to cut the Lady Lions' lead to two points with just over two minutes left in the game. Penn State, however, scored the next three points as the Lady Lions outscored Ole Miss 7-2 over the final 1:46.
Ole Miss and Penn State battled back and forth through the majority of the first half as neither team led by more than five points. In fact, the lead changed on seven different occasions and the game was tied a total of three times.
The Lady Rebels scored the first basket of the game when Bartee put Ole Miss ahead 2-0 with a sideline jumped in the first minute of play. Penn State, however, would score the next five points to take a three-point lead just over two minutes into the contest.
Ole Miss went on to take its biggest lead of the game at the 13:34 mark when Thomas nailed a three-pointer to put the Lady Rebels ahead 13-9. Penn State followed with an 8-0 run to open up a four-point lead midway through the period.
With Penn State leading by four points with the ball with under a minute, the Lady Rebels forced the Lady Lions into a backcourt violation with just under 10 seconds left to play. Ole Miss capitalized on the mistake Black converted with a layup with under four seconds to leave Ole Miss trailing 38-36 at intermission.
For the half, Ole Miss shot 44.1 percent from the floor on 15-of-34 shooting, while Penn State shot an even 50 percent from the field on 16-for-32 shooting.
Ole Miss returns to action rather quickly as the Lady Rebels face ACC foe Miami Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. (CT) from the BankUnited Center.
Lady Rebs lose close game at Penn State
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