The Ole Miss Lady Rebels (18-5, 7-3 SEC) fell to the Tennessee Lady Volunteers (17-8, 9-1) in Knoxville on Thursday evening after committing 16 turnovers throughout the contest, including seven in the fourth quarter.
“Tonight, a lot of our wounds were self-inflicted,” head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said after the game.
McPhee-McCuin went on to say, “Just not us being tough and I thought when we got it down to four (points), we had the momentum and then they (Tennessee) go crashing the boards again and I just think our team was deflated.”
Points were at a premium this contest, as shots were hard to fall for both teams, but especially for the Rebels. They shot 36% from the floor and shot at just 11% from the three-point line, making just one three pointer in nine tries.
The Rebels were entering the game on a two-game winning streak that included a historic 19-point comeback against Arkansas last Sunday night.
A win in Knoxville would have placed the Rebels third in the SEC and moved their net ranking higher as well.
Entering the fourth quarter, Ole Miss found themselves down by 13 points with 8:58 left in the game.
Senior guard Angel Baker scored a two-point jumper and a fast break layup on back-to-back plays to close the margin to nine points. Marquesha Davis hit a crucial jumper and converted the and-one after being fouled on the shot.
Within 1:40 the Rebels closed the defect from 13 to six points. After a media timeout, turnovers reared its ugly head and interrupted another potential come-from-behind victory.
Tennessee was able to build the lead back up to 10 and although Baker tried to cut the lead down, sloppy mistakes by the Rebels prevented that.
Ole Miss only mustered 12 offensive rebounds compared to Tenneesse’s 19. The added possessions for the Lady Volunteers gave them a tremendous advantage over the Lady Rebels.
“I just thought we had a mental letdown,” McPhee-McCuin said after the game. “I don’t know that there was anything that they (Tennessee) did. I just thought we had a mental letdown. I’m not trying to take anything away from Tennessee. I think they should be ranked. I think they’re a Top 25 team.