With 3,781 screaming elementary students in attendance, senior Shawn Goff scored 20 points to go along with 14 rebounds to lead the Lady Rebels past Southeastern Louisiana 85-73 Thursday.
"If you were in Tad Smith Coliseum today, it was raining threes and it wasn't by the Lady Rebels," said head coach Renee Ladner. "However, anytime a team gets 16 three-pointers against you and you still find a way to win, it has to be a good day."
In a highly contested first half, Goff put the Rebels on the board first with a 2-point basket. Freshman Nikki Byrd followed with two baskets of her own, helping the Rebels take a 6-0 advantage early.
Guard Alliesha Easley aided in the run with yet another bucket, but Lady Lion Adonna Weaver wouldn't allow the drought to continue. The senior cut the lead to six with a layup buzzer-beater, keeping Southeastern Louisiana within striking distance.
After leading by as much as 11, Ole Miss looked poised for a blowout. But the Lady Lions would come storming back, taking the lead 26-27 with four-straight points.
A six-point run capped by yet another Goff score, helped the Rebels retake the lead 32-31. Each team exchanged baskets in the half's final minutes, with a 39-38 halftime score in favor of the Lady Rebels.
Ole Miss came out running in the second, as junior Bianca Thomas scored 11 of the team's first 15 points. The Lady Rebels continued to add to the lead, holding a 66-54 edge at the 7:49 mark.
From that point on, the game remained in cruise control. The Rebels never allowed Southeastern Louisiana back within single digits before time expired. Ole Miss outscored their opponents 46-35 in the second half.
"Southeastern Louisiana has been hot," Ladner said. "They've won their last four games and are playing with a lot of confidence. To come in today a take one from an undefeated SEC team would have been a big step for their program.
"There' a target on our back every time we play. It doesn't matter where we go."
Ole Miss shot 52.3 percent from the field for the game and held a 39-34 rebounding advantage. Thomas finished with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists in the effort. Byrd pumped in 15 points on the afternoon.
The Lady Rebels return to action Sunday against No. 9 Texas at 2 p.m.
Lady Rebels Keep Rolling
OM Spirit Top Stories
Inconsistency Kept Rebels From NCAA BidColby Bortles and Tate Blackman sat in the home dugout at Swayze Field, and gazed out onto the field while waiting to speak to local media on Monday afternoon.
OM Spirit11:50 AM
Ole Miss Freshmen Signees Report Memorial DayOle Miss signed 23 players in February. Twenty one of the nation's No. 29 overall rated college football class are expected to qualify. All but a couple will report today.
OM Spirit9:58 AM
Rebels Left Out of NCAA TournamentFor just the third time in Mike Bianco's tenure as head coach, Ole Miss was left out of the NCAA Tournament.
OM Spirit9:21 AM