The Ole Miss Lady Rebels took a trip down to Fayetteville to take on No. 24 Arkansas in a highly anticipated SEC matchup. Ole Miss, after its huge win at home against Mississippi State, had an opportunity to make a statement on the road, and the Rebels did just that in an impossible come-from-behind win.
First half struggles
The game started like any other, as both teams exchanged buckets for the first 10 minutes, resulting in an 18-16 first quarter score favoring Arkansas. The second quarter is when things started to get out of hand for Ole Miss.
The second quarter became the Erynn Barnum show. The one-two punch of Makayla Daniels and Barnum tore the Lady Rebels apart, and this tandem, along with some tremendous team defense, gave the Lady Razorbacks a 39-20 halftime lead.
Ole Miss scored only four points in the second quarter, which is among its worst scoring totals of the year. Not just that, but the 20 total points at halftime is the lowest of any half this season.
Whatever head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said to her players at halftime needs to be studied by coaches across all sports. Her squad was down by as many as 19 points, and they found a way to come together and climb back into this game.
Basketball is a game of runs, and Ole Miss further proved this fact in the second half against Arkansas. A combination of stellar defense and methodical offense allowed the Rebels to go on multiple runs, two of which topped out at 8-0 and 11-0, which they used to regain the lead with a couple of minutes remaining.
Ole Miss trailed by two with seven seconds remaining, but a miscommunication on defense by the Razorbacks in transition led to the Rebels hitting the game-tying layup to force overtime.
In overtime, these teams traded blows, as Ole Miss took an initial lead followed by a small Arkansas run to regain control. It was not until Arkansas’ Rylee Langerman fouled Ole Miss’ Snudda Collins on a three-point jumper that any team could create separation.
Up two points, Collins proceeded to nail all three free throws to extend the lead to two possessions, and those foul shots would end up being the dagger that secured the comeback for Ole Miss.
What’s next for the Rebels?
Ole Miss takes on the Tennessee Volunteers on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 5:30 p.m. CST in Knoxville.
There are several places in sports that are hard to go into and come away with a win; Cameron Indoor Stadium, Rupp Arena Lambeau Field and Arrowhead are among the toughest, but Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena sits comfortably on that list.
Coming off this Arkansas game, Tennessee is yet another major test for the Lady Rebels on their journey to prove they are the real deal. The Vols sit just above Ole Miss in the SEC standings at 8-0, so this game could also have big SEC tournament implications.