Trailing at the half, Ole Miss was unable to piece together its second straight comeback, ultimately falling 65-51 at Tennessee from Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday night.
Despite Ole Miss (18-5, 7-3 SEC) staying within two possessions of Tennessee (17-8, 9-1 SEC) for most of the game, the Lady Vols pulled away with a 22-point fourth quarter to walk away with the win.
With a team-high 14 points, Angel Bakerrecorded her 16th game this season in double figures. Grabbing a season-best 10 rebounds, Marquesha Davis added 11 points for her first career-double-double.
As one of the nation’s best defending the three ball, Ole Miss held Tennessee to only three triples. It’s the 20th time this season the Rebels have held its opponent to five or fewer three’s.
Following a struggle to reach the basket almost four minutes in, Snudda Collins broke the scoring open with a clean jumper. The Rebels kept pace with the Lady Vols, due to four makes from the charity stripe in the opening quarter as Tennessee built a 15-8 lead.
The Ole Miss offense remained stagnant, with its defense helping to keep it within striking distance. A three ball from Ayanna Thompson charged the Rebels to hit three field goals in a row, closed the gap to a two-possession game. Holding the Lady Vols to 1-of-10 from the field in their final shots of half, Ole Miss trailed Tennessee 28-21 going into the break.
In a battle of the boards, the Rebels aggressiveness on the defensive end allowed them to string stops together to keep the Lady Vol lead tight. Ole Miss remained within two possessions for most of the third quarter, as the Rebels cut it to 37-32 with 4:14 left. The Lady Vols started to heat up right as the Rebels hit a shooting slump, with Tennessee utilizing a 6-0 run to grow its lead by nine at 43-34 at the end of the quarter.
Baker found her footing with back-to-back buckets as the Rebels remained in the fight, with a 7-0 run of their own. An and-1to seal Davis’ first double-double, once again brought Ole Miss within two possessions, down 47-41 with 6:56 left. Tennessee responded with a 6-0 run to take its then largest lead of the game at 13 with the clock dwindling down. Despite Baker’s eight points in the final quarter, the Rebels were unable to overcome the winningest program in the history of women’s basketball, falling 65-51 to the Lady Vols.
Ole Miss returns home Sunday (Feb. 5) against Florida in search of its third straight win against the Gators. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. CT, airing nationally on ESPNU.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports