Wolfpack Run Tops Lady Rebs

Bianca Thomas pulled up from beyond the top of key and drilled a three-pointer off the glass as time expired in the first half. She lifted her hands and celebrated a solid first half. Those have been constant for the Lady Rebels (5-5). Unfortunately, so have second-half collapses.

North Carolina State (10-3) used an early 17-6 second half run and a perfect afternoon at the foul line to dispose of Ole Miss 80-71 Friday. The Rebels led by 11 before the Wolfpack began picking away over the next eight minutes and tying the game 58-58.

"It is the tale of two halves, and the same old story," Renee Ladner said. "I am beginning to sound like a broken record. There is that one segment every game that we have a tendency to fragment and allow bad things to happen."

Junior forward Shawn Goff finished with 20 points but missed the front end of three straight one-in-ones, allowing NC State to ice the game in the final minutes. Thomas totaled 17 points including 5-7 from long range. Carla Bartee also poured in 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

NC State senior forward Khadijah Whittington paced the Wolfpack with 20 points and nine rebounds. NC State also received double-digit points from its trio of starting guards as Nikitta Gartrell scored 13 points, while Shayla Fields and Megan Zullo each added 12 points apiece.

The Wolfpack finished 12-12 from the charity stripe, while the Rebels were only 54 percent at the line.

"This is a good game for both of us to prepare for conference play," NC State coach Kay Yow said. "It was sort of like a boxing match. It was a split decision before we were able to go on that big run."

With the score tied at 58, Ole Miss got two consecutive baskets thereafter from Goff to open back up a four point lead with just over seven minutes left on the clock. After NC State tied the game with two straight baskets of its own, Bartee gave Ole Miss the lead again as she scored on a layup to make the score 66-64.

The Wolfpack responded with a second 8-0 run to take a 72-66 lead with just over three minutes remaining. NC State would go on to limit the Lady Rebels to just four points over the final three minutes.

Ole Miss led 38-35 at the break, but 57 percent three-point shooting by the visitors controlled the second half.

Ole Miss returns to action Dec. 29 at 8:00 p.m. when the Lady Rebels face UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the Lady Griz Holiday Classic hosted by the University of Montana.

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