On to Tampa

Through a series of lengthy runs, Ole Miss was able to dominate Murray State, winning 87-49 Sunday in the second round of the WNIT. Read about it inside.

Senior Shawn Goff scored 21 points to go along with 14 rebounds, while junior Bianca Thomas added 16 points of her own, as Ole Miss dominated Murray State 87-49 Sunday in the second round of the WNIT.

Making their fifth postseason appearance in six years, the Lady Rebels moved to 18-14 overall and advance to a third-round meeting with South Florida Thursday at 7 p.m.

"They came out ready to play today," said Ole Miss head coach Renee Ladner, whose team recorded its second-largest margin of victory this season with the win. "It just appeared that we took a step up. Really, we made a good team look bad today."

The Lady Rebels were dominant on the glass, outrebounding Murray State 56-33 on the afternoon. They were also efficient in possessions, committing a mere six turnovers to 19 assists, after averaging 16.6 giveaways for the season.

Ole Miss had four players in double figures, with Elizabeth Robertson adding 12 on 3-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc and junior Shantell Black totaling 15 points with six assists.

"I'm ecstatic with our performance," Ladner said. "We had four players in double figures. We haven't had that all year. What I loved about our performance today was our kids took the shots they needed to take. (Murray State) is the team that beat UALR. We lost to UALR earlier in the year. I just know our kids came out focused and played under control."

Hosting the first WNIT game in school history, the Lady Rebels came out of the gates quickly, grabbing a 14-4 lead early.

A two-point bucket by Amber Guffey cut the lead to seven at 14-7, but a 15-4 run by the home team kept Ole Miss ahead comfortably at 29-11 with 8:10 left in the first half. Led by Goff, who scored 15 points in the first half, the ladies outscored their opposition 11-9 the rest of the way.

With the horn sounding for intermission, Ole Miss held a commanding 40-20 advantage.

"The tone was set in the first four minutes," said Ladner. "We played defense and didn't give them anything easy. They had to work for everything. I thought our domination on the boards and our kids contesting every shot they took made them struggle."

The second half was more of the same, with Kayla Melson scoring three quick points in the team's first two possessions.

Leading 43-20, the Rebels used a 9-3 run for a 19-point advantage at 52-23. A 9-2 spurt by Murray State brought the score to 54-32, but the Racers would get no closer.

Ole Miss never trailed in the game, while holding a 30-point lead for most of the second period. The Lady Rebels cruised to the finish, advancing in dominating fashion.

"I love playing at home because this is the type of performance you get," Ladner said. "Now we have to take the same team that played today on the road against a very tough South Florida team. They'll have a good crowd and there won't be anybody in our favor."

Murray State was led by Guffey, who scored 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting in the loss. Ashley Hayes added 13 points and nine rebounds.

Ole Miss shot 48.6 percent from the field on the day (34-70), including 7-for-17 from three (41.2 pct). The Racers, reliant on three-point shooting, were held to 4-of-36 shooting from long distance (11.1 pct).

Sunday's WNIT win was the first for Ole Miss since 2006, with the team improving its all-time record to 2-3 in the WNIT.

The Lady Rebels are now 26-5 all-time against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference and 4-0 against Murray State.


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