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Ole Miss women fall at No. 5 South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Ole Miss women’s basketball team battled from start to finish with the No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks on Thursday night but couldn’t score the upset road victory, falling 65-46 at Colonial Life Arena.

Ole Miss scored five straight to open the fourth quarter and got the lead to 15 points, 55-40, at the 8:08 mark, but back-to-back big points from South Carolina’s Bianca Cuevas-Moore stopped any of Ole Miss’ momentum and sparked a 7-0 South Carolina run which saw the Gamecocks pull ahead, 59-40, at the media timeout, a lead they wouldn’t give up the rest of the way.

Taylor Manuel was a huge spark in the second half for the Rebels. The forward scored 13 points in the second half and was Ole Miss’ presence in the paint throughout. Shandricka Sessom added 11 points for Ole Miss, her third straight game in double figures and 15th of the season. Sessom also led the way on the glass with seven rebounds. Ole Miss couldn’t get any offensive rhythm all night, shooting just 36 percent (19 of 52) from the floor and 6 of 14 from the free throw line.

Out of halftime, Ole Miss forced a South Carolina turnover on the first play, and a foul on the other end sent Manuel to the line. The forward tallied five early points and established herself in the paint for the Rebels, who tried to chip away at the Gamecock lead by getting out in transition and getting to the free throw line. Ole Miss was able to make some headway but couldn’t stop the Gamecocks’ Kaela Davis, who seemed to make shots from everywhere.

The game was fairly evenly played in the first quarter with the Gamecocks leading 12-7 at the first media timeout. The Rebels made the Gamecocks convert from the line early with six of their first 12 points coming from the free throw line.