Rebels' Run-and-Gun Fail Against Lady Raiders

Bereft of starter <b>Armintie Price</b>, Mississippi's Lady Rebels sought to run–and-gun with Texas Tech's 13th-ranked Lady Raiders Sunday afternoon in the United Spirit Arena. For almost the first three minutes of the game, it looked like they had a chance. Then <b>Chesley Dabbs</b> uncorked a long field goal. Seconds later sophomore forward <b>Alesha Robertson</b> hit another basket to extend Tech's lead, and the Lady Raiders rode every advantage to win 86-38. <p>

Coming into the game at 4-2, the Rebels had lost by 18 to Louisiana Tech; conversely, they had doubled up on their most recent opponent, beating New Orleans 100-50. Second-year head coach Carol Ross and assistant Peggy Gilliam – former Texas A&M head coach – knew a tough Tech team and a vocal Tech crowd would offer their young team a chance to prove themselves in an adverse environment.

At the same time, the Lady Raiders had a winning streak to defend, as well as their home court. After overwhelming Miami and Oral Roberts, though, Tech had to find a new way to win at home, and decisively, Sunday: deprived of senior center Cisti Greenwalt for more than half the game by foul trouble, the Lady Raiders turned to their junior class.

Tech's juniors answered their challenge more successfully than Mississippi's team responded to theirs. En route to earning player-of-the-game honors, Dabbs scored on eight of twelve field goals including one from beyond the arc; from the free throw line, she hit all four tries in 30 minutes of play. Classmate LaToya Davis scored a double-double with 11 rebounds and 12 points; she also had three assists and two steals.

Although she would return twice, Greenwalt was held scoreless all day. She played 18 minutes, grabbed eight boards, and had four assists, among them a post-to-post pass to freshman Darrice Griffin. Greenwalt stole the ball once and fired five field goal attempts, three from well beyond the paint; but none fell through the net.

Freshman center Erin Myrick split relief duties with sophomore Patrice Edwards. Myrick provided six rebounds, eight points, four blocks and three assists, but the freshman did a great deal more: despite her youth, she played a defense as dependable as her free throws for all 12 of her minutes on the floor. Edwards scored one field goal, snared five rebounds and stole the ball twice, as well as contributing to several tie-ball situations, before fouling out.

"I liked our intensity," Texas Tech head coach Marsha Sharp said after the game. "The tone was set early, and we kept finding different people to score."

The game started with an unusual second jump-ball; Greenwalt had tipped the first away from Mississippi's Amber Watts, but a tie-for-possession resulted. So Dabbs swatted the second tip to Greenwalt, but LaToya Davis couldn't convert. Nor could Alesha Robertson; Rebel senior Carlotta Brown grabbed the rebound and Ole Miss was off to the races, only to have Watts travel under the basket.

Mississippi's fortunes continued in that vein all afternoon. The Rebels shot a total of 68 times from the floor, sinking eleven; of a baker's dozen tries from beyond the arc only one scored. The Rebels got almost half their points from the charity stripe, sinking 15 out of 21 attempts. They committed 18 turnovers, collected seven assists, and stole the ball three times.

The Lady Raiders' game didn't go perfectly, either: Dabbs' 3-point field goal went for naught when Greenwalt was called for her first foul. Davis retrieved the first of her 11 rebounds, but uncharacteristically the Lady Raider offense sputtered on two consecutive possessions. Both teams ran hard, fast, and repeatedly, but neither could convert. Brown missed a three and Watts a field goal before Robertson passed a rebound to Davis, who scored. She would add three assists and two steals in her 23-minute performance.

"LaToya Davis," Sharp said after the game, "kept doing all the hard things."

Sophomore forward Robertson missed the first two of her eight attempts from three-point territory, but connected with four on the afternoon. She finished with five goals in 15 attempts from the field, but earned 16 points in 26 minutes while sinking two free throws, corralling seven boards, making one assist and collecting one personal foul.

The Lady Raiders carried a 42-11 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Mississippi's only scorer in double figures was freshman Dee Forrest, who hit four of 15 from the field and seven of nine from the free throw line for a total of 15. She played 22 minutes. Classmate Jada Mincy hit one of five tries from the field and collected nine rebounds; she had one assist and one steal in 28 minutes. Rebels Ashley Awkward and Ashley Johnson each played 16 minutes; Johnson hit one field goal in seven attempts and two of four from the charity stripe finishing with three rebounds and two assists. Awkward went none-of-six in the field but hit three of four from the free-throw line and had one rebound. Mississippi's starting point guard, senior Carletta Brown, played 29 minutes, grabbed one rebound, sank one bucket, stole the ball twice, and had two assists; prior to the game Sunday her average was 4.7 assists.

Lindsay Roy went none-for-three from the field and missed both free throws; she finished the game with one rebound. Tasi Worsham fared a little better, scoring three times in four tries from the charity stripe. She had three rebounds, two assists and played nine minutes. Elizabeth Cansdale played 15 minutes for Ole Miss, hit one field goal in three tries, and never saw the charity stripe. She had two rebounds. Senior center Amber Watts committed five turnovers, had one block, scored one bucket and grabbed five boards for the Rebels in 16 minutes of play. She, like Greenwalt, had early foul trouble; indeed, the two were called with a double-foul after a collision underneath and both retired to the sidelines before the half. Ellen Buchanan gave Mississippi 24 minutes, three rebounds, one assist, and a steal; LaTanya Jones, starting for Price, spent 20 minutes on the floor, hit one bucket in six tries, grabbed three rebounds, and blocked one shot.

Lady Raider starting point guard Erin Grant did not score in her 21 minutes, but she had four assists. Sophomore Brooke Baughman hit all three of her field goal attempts – including a visually dazzling full-360-degree turnaround jumper from the top of the key -- and snagged three rebounds; she had half a dozen assists and one steal in 18 minutes of play, divided between point guard and shooting guard. Freshman Judith Smith spent 15 minutes in the ball game, hitting six of eight from the floor including her only attempt from the three-point zone. She also posted one assist and two rebounds.

Tech's most experienced freshman, Darrice Griffin, hit four shots in six tries but missed her only field goal attempt; she grabbed five rebounds, had two blocks, one steal, and one assist in 17 minutes. Redshirt freshman Tawanna Flowers played for eight minutes, collecting three points the old-fashioned way, one assist, and three fouls.

Lauren Mitchell, Tech's walk-on freshman, played two minutes. Freshman Enrica Johnson did not play.

Tech moves to 5-1 for the year while Mississippi drops to 4-3. The Lady Raiders next travel to the Duel in the Desert Tournament where they will play Arkansas State on Saturday.

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