Ole Miss Women Fall in Heartbreaker at No. 24 Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) – The Ole Miss women’s basketball team (10-16, 2-11 SEC) fought back from nine points down in the fourth quarter to take a 51-50 lead, but Tennessee closed the game with seven straight points to take the 57-51 win over Ole Miss. Shandricka Sessom (Byhalia, Miss.) lead all-scorers with 21 points and A’Queen Hayes (Horn Lake, Miss.) was in double figures for the third straight game with 12 points and team-best eight rebounds.
Ole Miss fought back and after scoring just six points in the third quarter found themselves down nine points with 7:40 remaining but dug in and scored 10 straight points to take a 51-50 lead but a bucket from Tennessee’s Dunbar in the paint and a triple on the other end shifted the momentum to the home team.
Out of the halftime break, Tennessee went 5-of-5 from the floor early to take a 40-39 lead at the media timeout. It was the first lead for the Lady Vols since the early minutes of the second quarter. The Rebels struggled from the floor and closed the third quarter without a bucket in the last 7:35, but found themselves down just seven points, heading into the decisive fourth quarter.
The first half was a game of runs and Tennessee scored 10 unanswered points to open the second quarter before a triple from Shequila Joseph (London, England) ended Ole Miss’ nearly four minute drought. Torri Lewis (Olive Branch, Miss.) got into the three-point action with her 39th triple of the season, which was her seventh triple in the last eight games, and the Rebels took a 29-24 lead, courtesy of a 7-0 Ole Miss run.
Ole Miss had one of its better shooting nights against the Lady Vols in the first half. The Rebels were 13-of-31 from the floor for 41.6 percent shooting and it was even better from long range as Ole Miss was 5-of-10 from the three-point line and with Sessom leading the way with three treys.
Ole Miss jumped out to a 6-2 lead behind four points from A’Queen Hayes, but the Lady Volunteers responded with a seven unanswered to take a 9-6 lead at the 5:40 mark forcing the Rebels to call a timeout to regroup. Out of the timeout, Ole Miss responded in a big way with an 8-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back treys from the left side from Sessom off the bench. Sessom was the highlight of the first quarter as she went 3-of-3 from long range for 11 points including a dagger as time expired at the end of the first quarter, to give Ole Miss a 19-14 lead.
-The all-time series between Ole Miss and Tennessee moves to 44-7 in favor of Tennessee. The Lady Volunteers have won the last 28 games in the series and Ole Miss hasn’t won in Knoxville since 1987.
-Ole Miss head coach Alex (Fuller) Simmons returned to her alma mater in tonight’s contest. She was a part of the 2007 and 2008 national championships. Additionally, Kiara Golden’s father, LaMarcus Golden played at Tennessee.
-Bretta Hart picked up her second consecutive start in tonight’s contest. Hart, a junior, has started nine games this season each coming this season.
-Sessom was in double figures for the second consecutive game and for the 22nd time this season. She reached double figures.
-A’Queen Hayes with her 12 points picked up her third straight game in double figures. She has reached double figures in four of the last six games.
-Ole Miss held a 33-30 lead at the break, marking the first time Ole Miss has led the Lady Vols since a 30-25 halftime lead on Feb. 11, 2010 in Oxford. Ole Miss went on to drop that game 61-58 on a last second shot from UT’s Angie Bjorklund
-Tonight’s game was the first Play4Kay game for Ole Miss this season. The Rebels donned pink shoes for the contest. Ole Miss will host it’s own Play4Kay game on Sunday (Feb. 21) when they host Mississippi State in nationally televised game on ESPN2. Ole Miss will partner with Baptist – North Mississippi and the Kay Yow Foundation for the game and will wear pink jerseys.
The Rebels will head back to the Pavilion for its eighth annual Play4Kay game against Mississippi State on Sunday. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and will feature Lowell Galinda and Chiney Ogwumike on the call. Fans in the Oxford, Lafayette area can hear Graham Doty and Armintie Herrington on the call on 105.1/105.5 in Oxford/Batesville and on OleMissSports.com
Next Five Games
2/21/16- vs. Mississippi State* 4 p.m. ESPN2
2/25/16- vs. South Carolina 8 p.m. SEC Network&
2/28/16- at Arkansas 3 p.m. SEC Network
3/2-6/16- at SEC Tournament TBA SEC Network
*Play4Kay/Tickled Pink at The Pavilion Game
&- SEC Network Whiparound coverage