Senior Night Win

Ole Miss was ahead of Auburn 64-61 when senior Liz Robertson decided in an instant the Tigers would not have a chance to win the game.

After all, it was Senior Night for six departing Rebels, including Robertson, and so she made one last stand. Or at least pursued the basketball and claimed one last huge rebound for her team.

Ole Miss beat Auburn 65-61, but had Robertson not bounded into the lane after a missed Bianca Thomas 3-point try and claimed one last board, the Tigers would have had one last chance.

Instead, Robertson got the ball out to Kayla Melson who was fouled. She made one of two free throws, and a last-second heave from Alli Smalley was off the mark and would have only pulled her team to within one anyway.

"The shot (by Thomas) went up, and I just ran to the ball," said Robertson, with 11 points, including three 3-pointers, giving her 67 treys and putting her in third place all-time at UM.

Thomas was a bit less matter of fact than Robertson about the importance of the board.

"Liz got that really, really big rebound at the end, and Kayla got to shoot free throws," Thomas said. "That was the play of the game."

Ole Miss head coach Renee Ladner took things one step further.

"Liz Robertson's rebound was the biggest rebound of the year," she said.

Certainly it continued to give Ole Miss (16-12, 7-8) life as far as any postseason is concerned. Auburn, now 13-15, 4-11, is on the outside looking in already.

Thomas said the Rebels had to have this one.

"It was a really good game for our seniors to go out with a win," said Thomas, who had 22 points and five rebounds. "We needed this game. This was a really big game for us, and we pulled out a victory."

In addition to Thomas and Robertson, Shantell Black added 10 points and four assists, while Kayla Holloway pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

Smalley and Jordan Greenleaf led Auburn with 16 points apiece, and Morgan Toles also finished in double figures with 10 points.

Ole Miss led 64-53 with just under three minutes remaining, but Auburn wasn't done. Smalley cut the Rebel lead to eight points at the 2:08 mark with a three-pointer. Robertson missed a three-point attempt on the ensuing Ole Miss possession, and Greenleaf sunk two free throws for the Tigers to leave Auburn trailing 64-58 with just over a minute to go.

Auburn forced the Rebels into a turnover on the following possession, and Smalley struck again with another three-pointer to pull the Tigers to within three points at 64-61 with 39 seconds left.

That's when things got very interesting. The Tigers didn't foul, and Thomas' missed attempt as the shot clock wound down would have given the visitors some time to tie the game. Except for the heroics of Robertson, that is.

"Every single one of our seniors brought their gift to the game tonight," Ladner said of her six departing players. "They made it important tonight to win this game."

The Rebels travel to Knoxville to close out the regular season. The game is at 5 p.m. CT Saturday. The Lady Vols defeated Ole Miss 61-58 two weeks ago on a last second made three-point basket.

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