OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss was on fire from the field for much of the game, but Alabama withstood the offensive onslaught and was able to pull away for an 82-79 victory over the Rebel women’s basketball team at The Pavilion on Sunday.
The Rebels drained a season-high 11 three-pointers in a blistering first half (ending with a season-high 15; third-most all-time), but the Crimson Tide were able to hang around despite the hot shooting, seizing the momentum in the second half where they used a 24-of-27 back half clip from the charity stripe to their advantage.
Ole Miss wasted no time, opening the game 6-of-9 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. The Rebels jumped out to a 14-5 lead at the first media timeout thanks to two quick treys by junior Torri Lewis (26 points, five rebounds, 7-of-11 3PT), who led the deep shooting showcase for the Rebels.
Lewis, who sank the third-most threes in a single-game in NCAA history her freshman year with 10 vs. New Orleans on Dec. 14, 2015, dropped seven treys this afternoon – tied for the most by an individual in the SEC this season. She’s the second Rebel to do so this season (Madinah Muhammad nailed seven at Tennessee, the most by a Rebel against the Lady Vols), and her 26 points today register as the most she’s scored since that 36-point outing vs. New Orleans in 2015. This is the third game in her last four where she has had at least four treys, making her 15-of-31 in that span (including 11-of-20 in her last two games).
Alabama closed the quarter on a 9-3 run and opened the second with an 8-2 run (for a total run of 17-5), but then Shelby Gibson (20 points, 4-of-6 3PT) decided to get in on the three-point shooting fun. Gibson, who entered the season with just seven career three-pointers, nailed a career-high four today – including two during a stretch where she scored eight straight Rebel points. Gibson ended with 20 points, her third-career 20-point game – all coming this season.
Junior Madinah Muhammad (11 points, five rebounds, three assists) returned from injury today and hopped right into the shooting fun, sinking back-to-back threes at the tail end of the half to help the Rebels to a 41-34 halftime lead.
Alabama’s defense adjusted at halftime, though, stifling the hot-shooting Rebels to a 4-of-14 clip from three the remainder of the game to come within one heading into the fourth at 56-55.
It was a thrilling run to the finish, with the Rebels leading 79-78 with 36 seconds left to play after a tug-of-war fourth quarter with the Crimson Tide. However, misfortune reared its ugly at just that point, as Alissa Alston (11 points, nine assists) had the ball stripped from her by Alabama’s Shaquera Wade (10 points, six rebounds, five assists), who ran down for a layup to take an 80-79 lead with 15 seconds left. The Rebels were unable to convert after the timeout, and a pair of Alabama free throws with seven seconds to play finalized the game at 82-79.
Ole Miss hits the road once again this coming Thursday (Feb. 15) for a showdown in the bayou with LSU.