In its toughest test to date of the season against No. 7 Tennessee, Ole Miss was unable to get past the nation’s best rebounding team falling to the Lady Vols 70-58 from the SJB Pavilion on Sunday, for its first loss in almost two months
Ole Miss (13-2, 1-1 SEC), could not overcome a slow offensive start as Tennessee (15-1, 4-0 SEC) claimed its seventh straight win over the Rebels. The Lady Vols dictated the game off the glass, outrebounding the Rebels 46-28. Ole Miss was able to disrupt Tennessee, forcing the Lady Vols to surrender 22 turnovers, while the Rebels recorded its 12th game with double-digit steals.
Anchoring Ole Miss with her fourth 20-point game of the season, was Shakira Austin, as the junior finished with a season-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Lashonda Monk keeps making an impact off the bench with her third double-digit game in her last four outings, as she finished with 11 points and three assists.
The Rebel defense started off in trademark fashion, holding Tennessee without a point for over three and a half minutes after scoring their first basket. On the opposite end of the court, Ole Miss worked to get its offense moving with six straight points to control the tempo. Tennessee responded with a six to zero run of their own, to retake the lead at 11-9. The Lady Vols utilized trips to the charity stripe to extend its lead, up 17-11 through the first quarter.
Responding when needed, Austin found herself driving through the lane to reach the basket, as she led all scorers with 10 points through the first media timeout of the second. Both teams struggled to convert, each facing multiple-minute scoring droughts. The Lady Vols heated back up quickly with a 13-0 run to claim momentum. In unfamiliar territory, the Rebels found themselves facing their largest deficit of the season at the half, trailing by 18.
Monk energized a Rebel surge in the third quarter, knocking down a triple as Ole Miss hit three straight field goals to cut into the Lady Vol lead. As Ole Miss kept knocking down shots, they were able to force Tennessee turnovers, to outscore the Lady Vols, 23-18 in the quarter.
Trailing by 13 with ten minutes remaining, Ole Miss clamped down on the Lady Vols, restricting them from a basket for over four minutes in the fourth. A 7-0 run driven by Austin and Scott assisted the Rebels to come within 10, as Ole Miss tightened the deficit to the closest mark since the 1st quarter, with two and a half minutes remaining. However, not enough time remained to complete the comeback with the Lady Vols walking away with a 70-58 win.
Ole Miss returns to action continuing with its second game of a three-game homestand with a tilt against Alabama Thursday (Jan. 13). The Rebels will welcome the Crimson Tide at 6 p.m. CT, streaming on SEC Network +.
Courtesy of Ole Miss