The Ole Miss women’s basketball team lost on the road to No. 12 South Carolina 76 42 in Columbia.
The Rebels dropped their fifth straight game, falling to 8-16 on the season and 2-8 in conference play. Both teams experienced offensive struggles early on, failing to score for nearly four minutes before putting a flurry of points on the board in the middle of the first period.
Head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin continued to experiment with the starting lineup, again benching star fifth-year seniors Crystal Allen and La’Karis Salter, instead opting to bring them in early in the first period. This seemed to work well for the two seniors, as Salter finished with six points and two rebounds in the first period and Allen recorded three points and two boards in the period as well.
Ole Miss continued to struggle with miscues, however, turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes and seven times total in the first quarter.
The Rebels looked stronger to begin the second period, cleaning up their turnover problems and cutting the lead to three. They hit a wall halfway through the period though, and a 13-4 run by South Carolina extended the lead to 12.
The Gamecocks cut through Ole Miss’s 2-3 zone with surgical precision, exploiting holes in the high post and lazy rotations on the baseline to get open looks. After three scoreless minutes, the Rebs finally broke through on a Salter triple, managing to cut the lead back to single digits before the half.
Allen, whose inexplicable, well-documented struggles in the first half of games had been a source of headaches for coaches, finally broke through against South Carolina. She led all scorers with nine in the first half, shooting 4-for-8 from the field and 1-for-3 from deep.
South Carolina dominated the second half from the outset, forcing countless turnovers, playing smothering defense, and knocking down shots from all three levels. The Rebels managed just one made basket in the period, going 1-for-8 from the field including 1-for-5 from deep.
They got to the line once in the period, converting both free throws and bringing their scoring total for the quarter to five. The Rebels shot the ball once in the first six-plus minutes of the period, a 3-pt make from redshirt senior Shandricka Sessom.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Rebels could not slow the Gamecocks offense or generate any of their own. They ended the game with a whopping 23 turnovers, including 20 in the first three quarters.
Allen finished with 13 pts on 5-for-16 shooting and was 1-for-7 from beyond the arc. Sessom recorded 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including 1-for-4 from 3-point range. She also led the team in rebounds with seven. The Rebels managed just 6 assists in the entire game, with seemingly every pass being tipped or intercepted by Gamecock defenders.
The Rebels will have a week off to rest and regroup before facing Vanderbilt at home next Thursday.