Bring Em' On

Following a hard fought 85-73 win over Southeastern Louisiana, Ole Miss concludes their five-game homestand Sunday against No. 6 Texas. Read about it inside

Riding a seven-game winning streak, it's reasonable to see why the Lady Rebels are walking tall around Tad Smith Coliseum.

Not only are the ladies unblemished this season, but they've blitzed the competition to do it. Ole Miss is averaging more than 20 points per outing than their opposition, while grabbing 15 more rebounds.

But despite the fast start, the team will get its biggest test on the young season when No. 6 Texas rolls into Oxford Sunday.

"Texas is big, strong, athletic, well-coached and undefeated," said head coach Renee Ladner. "It's the Big 12 versus the SEC. We'll have to play our best game and so will they."

The Lady Rebels had to fight hard against a determined Southeastern Louisiana team Thursday afternoon and Ladner said the experience gained will only help against the Longhorns.

"I was glad we had to play extremely hard against Southeastern Louisiana," she said. "We had to make some big shots at big times. It can only help us."

Senior center Shawn Goff registered her first double-double of the season against the Lady Lions, as she finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds to go along with two blocked shots. Junior Bianca Thomas also added 20 points to help form the first Rebel duo to score 20 or more points in the same game since the 2006-07 season.

Ladner has been pleased with Thomas' progress.

"Bianca came out focused Thursday," said Ladner. "That was the Bianca Thomas I saw earlier this season. She's one of those players you can never read because she doesn't say anything. She's very productive and a pressure player."

Thomas has begun to emerge as a floor leader for Ole Miss. Only leading by one against the Lady Lions at halftime, Thomas sparked a 15-0 run to open the second, scoring 11 of the first 15 points, to help blow the game open.

The team held a double digit lead the rest of the way.

"We needed a game like Southeastern Louisiana," Thomas said. "The Winthrop tournament was our toughest competition, but we've had some games were we've blown teams out the window. We needed that game for a test."

A test is most certainly on the way.

Following an 87-38 win over Florida Atlantic on Nov. 30, Texas enters Sunday's game sporting an identical 7-0 record. As a team, the Longhorns average 87.0 points per game, while allowing only a 50.4 average for their opponents. In addition, the Longhorns shoot 50.4 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from the three-point line.

Junior guard Brittainey Raven leads the team in scoring as she pours in 17.3 points per game, with fellow guard Kathleen Nash second at 13.3 points per game. Nash is also first on the team with 6.9 rebounds per game.

"It will certainly be a challenge," said Ladner. "They're very athletic and well coached. I've been watching their tape and we'll have to bring our "A" game."

Ole Miss and Texas will meet for the sixth time and the first since the 1989 season. The Longhorns own a 4-1 record in the all-time series that dates back to the 1981-82 season.


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