Despite being led by junior Bianca Thomas who scored 25 points with three rebounds, the Ole Miss Lady Rebels couldn't quite pull off their 700th win in program history, falling to instate rival Mississippi State 69-64 Sunday afternoon.
With the loss, Ole Miss (12-5, 1-1) has yet to become just the fifth school in the SEC and the 22nd program in NCAA Division history to record 700 or more all-time wins.
Ole Miss came out firing early in the first half, jumping ahead 25-17 at the 6:12 mark. After both teams swapped multiple baskets, Mississippi State pulled within four at 26-22. However, the Rebels used a 10-3 run that pushed their lead to 11 with just under two minutes before halftime.
State would pull within striking distance at 38-31 as time expired, as Diamber Johnson knocked down a jumper with merely one second left.
The Rebels pulled away early in the second, using an 11-0 run in the half's opening minutes. Sparked by junior Bianca Thomas' three consecutive three-pointers, Ole Miss held a commanding lead at 49-31 and seemed poised for a blowout.
But MSU battled back. They pulled within 11 at 55-44, but yet another three by Thomas ended the threat. Despite comfortably leading for most of the day, Ole Miss couldn't quite pull away, as Bulldog Robin Porter nailed a jumper to pull her team within 10 at 61-51.
A three-pointer by junior Alexis Rack cut the Rebel lead to within seven with seven minutes to play and junior Robin Porter added two free throws and the Bulldogs were within five at 61-56.
After five-straight points by State following a free throw by Rebel Kayla Holloway, State applied strong defensive pressure.
Johnson came up big again, this time on the defensive side, picking the pocket of Thomas and passing up the floor to Rack for a layup to give State the lead at 62-63. Rack hit a jumper to extend the lead to three, before two free throws by senior Shawn Goff cut the lead to one.
But Rack again found the basket with four-consecutive free throws to put the game away.
As the time expired, Mississippi State had pulled off the comeback win 69-64.
Ole Miss shot 38.8 percent from the field for the game. The ladies failed to convert a field goal over the final nine minutes of regulation. Freshman Kayla Holloway finished with six points along with seven rebounds.
Sunday was the 76th meeting between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Rebels own a dominating 60-16 edge in the all-time series that dates back to the 1974-75 season.
The Lady Rebels return to action Sunday against Alabama in Oxford.
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