The Lady Rebels fell to Alabama at home Sunday, dropping their third straight SEC game 65-57.
Good defense allowed the Tide to gain a lead early in the game, shooting 60 percent from behind the arc the first half, while keeping Ole Miss under 15 percent from the arc lead to a score of 25-19 at the end of the first half. Both teams caused a lot of commotion on the defensive end, forcing double-digit turnovers on both sides in the first half. The Rebels couldn’t seem to find their stride offensively much in the first quarter, but as the defense forced turnovers, more opportunities opened, and eventually Ole Miss started to heat up offensively in the second half.
Ole Miss came out of the gates running in after the break, quickly tying the game at 25 early in the third quarter. Both teams gathered somewhat of an offensive rhythm in the third quarter, with the Rebels more than doubling their first-half score to narrow the Alabama lead to 44-43. The fourth quarter went more in favor of the Crimson Tide: Ole Miss was able to take the lead early in the fourth, but Alabama eventually pulled away when Ole Miss went cold from the field.
Madinah Muhammad played well for the Rebels in the loss, posting 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Ole Miss shot a disparaging 21-59 from the field, good for just 36 percent, while Alabama shot an efficient 58 percent, going 21-44.
“They put their head and drove the ball to the rim, and we didn’t have any toughness to stop it,” Head Coach Matt Insell said. “We got them out of everything they were doing offensively, but we were not very tough.”
Ole Miss tried to make up for its shooting woes at the free-throw line, going an impressive 13-17 from the charity stripe, but it wasn’t enough to push the game in their favor.
Insell accredited the defeat to toughness the opposing team showed.
“True credit goes to Alabama, they made plays when they had to make plays. The Tide just played a lot tougher than our team, and we continued to miss layups at the rim and have defensive breakdowns on the weak side and helps side, and those things matter down the stretch of the game,” Insell said. “They put their heads down and drove to the rim, and we had nothing to stop it. We got them out of everything offensively, but we lacked toughness in so many areas, and it shows throughout the course of a ball game.”
The impact player on Alabama’s side was freshman guard Jordan Lewis, who scored 22 points with six rebounds and four assists. She played well despite being a freshman and showed great maturity in leading Alabama to a victory on the road. She left her mark on the game offensively and defensively, tacking a steal to her stat sheet.
“Jordan Lewis beat us every way she could beat us,” Insell said. “There’s nothing more to that. She was the difference in the basketball game.”
With this game behind them, the Rebels begin to look forward toward their game Wednesday against a formidable Kentucky team.