Ole Miss nearly wiped away a 27-point deficit during an exciting six-minute stretch of the third quarter, but an impressive first half showing out of Portland State proved too much to overcome as the Rebels fell, 94-79, on Tuesday.
The Rebels (9-3) fell behind early to the Vikings (6-5), with the score standing at 22-9 after the first quarter of play. Portland State kept the gas down to a 46-28 lead at the half, but the Rebels came out swinging in the third quarter and made things interesting right up until the final minutes of play.
The rally started with a Madinah Muhammad (19 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals) and-one with 6:04 to play in the third to start hacking into what was right then a 27-point Viking lead. Two free throws by Alissa Alston (21 points, seven assists, 4-of-9 3PT) pushed it to a 5-0 run, and then junior Marlee Hatcher (seven points, three assists) became the catalyst of an exciting run of Rebel basketball with back-to-back threes to ignite the Ole Miss bench.
That six-minute, 31-second burst by the Rebels to close the quarter turned into a 24-4 run (including a 13-0 run at the end) to cut the Viking lead all the way down to just eight at 64-56 heading into the fourth. Both teams fought back-and-forth in the final frame, but Portland State was able to keep hammering away at the free throw line to put the game away. The Vikings went 13-of-15 from the charity stripe in the last quarter alone, helping bolster a 24-of-28 free throw clip that ended up being the exact difference in the game once juxtaposed to the Rebels’ 9-of-24 mark.
The Vikings received three strong outings from Ashley Bolston (32 points, 10-of-20 FG, 10-of-10 FT, five rebounds, four assists), Sidney Rielly (23 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Kiana Brown (12 points), who accounted for 71.2 percent of all Viking scoring.
Despite the outcome, several Rebel players put up good performances as well. Alston recorded her fourth 20-point game of the year and fourth in a row in double-digits. Muhammad recorded her seventh game of the season with at least 19 points scored. Ole Miss had a balanced scoring effort on the day as well with solid outings by Hatcher, Shelby Gibson (nine points, four rebounds), Promise Taylor (six points, eight rebounds) Barbara Johnson (six points, three steals) and Torri Lewis (six points, three rebounds).
Ole Miss now returns home for a nine-day break before hosting Texas Southern – the fourth NCAA Tournament team the Rebels will face this year – at The Pavilion on Dec. 28 at 2 p.m.
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Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports
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