No Escape

Despite a double-double effort by senior Shawn Goff, Ole Miss was unable to avoid the upset against UALR Wednesday, falling at home 64-61.

Head coach Renee Ladner was clearly upset as she stepped to the podium inside the press room at Tad Smith Coliseum, presenting a challenge to her squad going forward.

"The Trojans just wanted the game more than we did," she said. "They literally outplayed us. Not at the tip, but when it counted. We had missed opportunities and didn't take care of our business. If one of they're players made a mistake, the others on the floor called each other out. That's the definition of a team.

"Our team is a 'feel good' team. If things are going well, we like to cruise and rock back on our heels. But the minute something goes wrong, it's just ok. Until that changes, we will continue to lose games. Period."

In a highly contested first half, Ole Miss (7-3) was unable to gain a significant lead on the Trojans. The Lady Rebels used a 13-5 run to jump ahead 19-9 early, but an admirable effort by UALR (8-2) kept the game close in the game's early stages.

Each team would exchange multiple baskets as the half continued, with the Trojans battling shot-for-shot with the Lady Rebels. Ole Miss shot 43.5 percent for the period, with UALR matching at a 37.9 clip.

As the half came to a close, the Rebs led 29-26.

Play remained tight in the second, as neither team could create a rhythm. However, UALR took the lead 29-30 with four straight points.

Despite sloppy play on both ends throughout, the game would get interesting late. After two free-throws by UALR's guard Anshel Cooper nodded the game at 49 apiece, Rebel junior Bianca Thomas scored five consecutive points.

The Trojans answered, as Rolfe would again strike from long distance to draw her squad within two. Following an Ole Miss turnover, Cooper connected for two with 13 seconds left, to provide the equalizer and send the game into overtime.

The Lady Rebels failed to score a field goal in extra time, relying solely on free throws for points. Four Trojans would score on the opposite end, with sophomore Chastity Reed pushing UALR ahead by three at 64-61 with only three seconds remaining.

The last breath for the ladies came at the buzzer, when Thomas heaved a half-court shot that missed just right to end the game.

"I thought UALR's effort was much better in overtime than ours," said Ladner. "We don't have anybody that can create or much basketball sense on the floor. We had opportunities to make free throws to put the game away and we didn't execute.

"If you're not going to score, you better find another way. We didn't do that."

Ole Miss shot 37 percent on the game and were outrebounded 41-34. The team was led by Goff who scored 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds in the loss.

It was the first victory against an SEC team for the Trojans in 13 tries. The Lady Rebels have now lost three straight games after starting the season with seven consecutive victories.

"UALR is much more mentally tough than we are right now," Ladner said. "This can be a defining moment or it can continue to put us in the tank."

The ladies return to action Saturday at 4 p.m. when Ole Miss travels to Orlando, Fla. for the UCF Tournament.


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