No. 10 Tennessee hands Ole Miss their fourth straight loss

Published 8:07 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ole Miss mounted a comeback and even had the game tied in the second half but No. 10 Tennessee stiffened their defense and held off the Rebels for a 75-66 win on Thursday night inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Lady Volunteers avenged their 67-62 loss at the hands of Ole Miss from a season ago, ending a 20-year losing skid.

For the Rebels (11-9, 1-6 Southeastern Conference), it was their fourth straight conference loss and their eighth loss in 10 games.

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Madinah Muhammad scored a game-high — and career-high — 31 points and eight rebounds to lead the Rebels. Alissa Alston scored 19 points as the only other Rebel in double figures. Alston also had a team-high four assists.

The game looked primed for another blowout loss for Ole Miss, but a 14-0 run to close out the first half brought the Rebels back within two with Tennessee taking a 40-38 lead into the intermission.

Things became interesting around the four-minute mark of the third quarter when Alston hit a layup to tie the game at 49-all.

From there, Tennessee’s defense put on the clamps.

Scoring 22 of her points in the first half, Muhammad could not get open looks or find the basket much in the final two quarters. Tennessee used the Rebels’ cooled-off shooting to go on a 27-16 run the final 14 minutes of the game.

Rennia Davis scored 18 points to lead Tennessee (17-3, 5-2). Anastasia Hayes scored 16 points, Jaime Nared added 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Mercedes Russell chipped in 13 points.

Tennessee dominated in the hustle stats, outrebounding the Rebels 39-36. They outscored Ole Miss 20-4 in fastbreak points as well as off the bench 24-10.

Ole Miss returns home for yet another top-10 challenge, hosting No. 2 Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPNU.