Saturday, June 19, 2021

Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Knocks Off Western Kentucky

The Ole Miss women’s basketball team (4-3) picked up its third straight win with a 59-53 win over Western Kentucky at Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday night. The Lady Hilltoppers (3-2) got as close as close as two points with under a minute to go but the Rebels sealed the win from the free throw line.

For the seventh straight game Shandricka Sessom (Olive Branch, Miss.) led the Rebels from the field with a game-high 18 points including three treys which ties her career high. Bretta Hart (Poplarville, Miss.) was a beast on the defensive glass cleaning the boards to the tune of 18 rebounds, just two shy of the Tad Smith Coliseum record for rebounds in a game.

Ole Miss led the game for 33:56 minutes, but the final quarter of action proved to be a nail biter. With the Rebels leading, 43-36, Western cut a once 10-point Ole Miss lead to just a single possession with a layup from Kendall Noble with under a minute remaining. Ole Miss, who struggled from the free throw line all night, went 4-of-6 down the stretch and held the Hilltoppers scoreless in the final minute to pick up its third consecutive win.

Western Kentucky took it’s first lead of the game since the opening moments, 15-13, in the second quarter, but Oxford native Erika Sisk had an answer and drilled her fifth triple of the season to keep the lead with the home team. The score see-sawed back and forth for a little but back-to-back triples from leading scorer Sessom and a triple from rookie Alissa Alston (New Haven, Conn.) allowed the Rebels to pull ahead.

It was a tightly contested game in the early goings, as neither team could take more than a one possession advantage through the first seven minutes of play. It was the Rebels that stuck first behind a nice bucket on the inside from junior captain Bretta Hart (Poplarville, Miss.). Hart, who came into the game at the 6:49 mark, made some beautiful plays, particularly on the defensive end with big skies for rebounds. She ended the first quarter with seven rebounds.

Ole Miss’ defense continues to improve at the Rebels were able to force the Lady Hilltoppers into a nearly five minute scoring drought at the end of the first quarter, despite holding off Western Kentucky, the Rebel basket seemed to have a lid on it but Ole Miss took a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter courtesy of a late bucket from Kelsey Briggs (Memphis, Tenn.).

From The Head Coach
On the big win…
“It’s a heck of a win. That’s a team that beat Louisville who’s ranked in the top-5 in the country. They’ve been a rolling team who’s 3-1, and they’re a great program. It’s very hard to win the way we won, making it really hard on ourselves by missing a lot of easy baskets. We missed a ton of lay-ups and a ton of free throws. We were 13-of-27 at the line, and it’s hard to win when you do that. Our kids found a way though.”

On players that stuck out…
“Erika Sisk is a leader. I am really proud of her, I couldn’t be any prouder of a player. A’Queen Hayes was in the hospital last night, and was there all night. We didn’t know if she was going to play because she was bad sick, she didn’t get discharged until 11:30 today and played 24 minutes — a big 24 minutes. She has great toughness, and we are starting to gel. We are still in the infant stage, and sometimes we don’t have an idea what we’re doing but we are starting to gel as a team.”

On the team coming together…
“We’re going to have some ups and we’re going to have our downs, probably some more downs at times then we won’t. It’s pleasing and satisfying to me to see how they’re coming together. I’m hard on our girls because we’ve got to get them where they need to get to, but it’s tough love. They know I love them to death and I’d do anything to work with them. I know people seeing me get on them a lot, but I pat them on the back more than I get on them. I’m proud, and I’m fighting everyday with them. We didn’t play well tonight at all, but we found a way to win and that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

On Arkansas Pine-Bluff…
“That’s another team who’s 3-3 and we have to be ready to play. They’re a very good team in the top of the SWAC. We’re playing really good teams right now, so we’re going to keep grinding it out and playing.”

Rebel Sidelines
-Ole Miss started the same lineup for the fourth straight game and moved to 3-1 when going with the four guard lineup of A’Queen Hayes, Erika Sisk, Madinah Muhammad and Sessom and forward Shequila Joseph.

-Erika Sisk has nailed at least one triple in each of the last three games.

-Western Kentucky leads the all-time series, 5-4, but Ole Miss’ win tonight snapped a two-game losing streak to the Lady Hilltopppers.

-Brett Hart posted her third career game of double figures and her second this season with 18 rebounds. Two of her three career games in double figures have come this season.

Up Next
Ole Miss hosts Arkansas- Pine Bluff on Sunday, Dec. 6. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. and the game can be seen on SEC Network+ with Will Kollmeyer and Armintie Herrington on the call. Ole Miss fans can listen to live audio  from Graham Doty on OleMissSports.com or on 105.1 FM in Oxford or 105.2 in Batesville.

Keep Up With the Rebels
Keep up to date with the Ole Miss women’s basketball team throughout the season on social media. For all Ole Miss women’s basketball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB and on Instagram at Ole MissWBB.   Fans can also follow Ole Miss women’s basketball head coach Matt Insell on Twitter at @minsell.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports Information

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