Ole Miss avenged their loss to Vanderbilt from earlier in the season by beating the Commodores 65-60 on Valentine’s Day.
The Rebels had a much needed bye week to prepare for this game. Ole Miss was on a five-game losing streak before tonight and needed the week to work on their issues and get back on track.
Ole Miss started the game strong and quickly went up 22-13 in the first quarter before Vanderbilt went on an 8-0 run at the start of the second quarter. The Rebels managed to keep the lead throughout and went into halftime up by five.
After a fairly dominating first half, the second half was not as controlled. The third and fourth quarters consisted of several lead changes with no team being ahead by more than three until the Rebels pulled away at the very end.
Crystal Allen started another game on the bench on Thursday. Allen has been in a slump recently but came up big when it mattered. She led the Rebels with 14 points in the first half. She hit the go-ahead three from the corner to put Ole Miss up by two with 51 seconds left, and ultimately win the game for the Rebels.
“We knew secretly that Crystal was back to start the week of preparation,” head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said. “She had her pep and started being herself.
Allen had 23 points and only two turnovers all game.
La’Karis Salter also came up big for the Rebels later in the game. Salter hit three significant three pointers to give the Rebels momentum. She also had a big night defensively. Salter was primarily guarding Vanderbilt’s standout player Mariella Fasoula. While she’s not an easy person to guard, Salter got stops when the Rebels needed it.
“Once she hit one then hit two, she feels like she’s on fire so it’s like, ‘oh yeah she’ll keep going’,” Allen said about Salter. “Sometimes when she lets it go I know it’s going in by the way she shot it.”
Shandricka Sessom had 18 points and five rebound while Mimi Reid was the key distributer in the win with a team-high nine assists.
Coach McPhee-McCuin noted their goal for this point in the season is to get a first round bye in the SEC tournament. A team that was predicted to finish last in the SEC is now inching their way up the SEC ladder. The Valentine’s Day helps the team get that much closer to their goal.
The Rebels, now at 9-16, will travel to Georgia for a 6 p.m. tip-off on Monday.