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Lady Rebels Fall at No. 6 Mississippi State, 80-49

STARKVILLE – Ole Miss fought in a ferocious first quarter against in-state rival No. 6 Mississippi State, but the two-time defending national finalist Bulldogs pulled away quickly for an 80-49 win at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

“Definitely was excited to be a part of a rivalry,” said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “This was my first experience here. It was an incredible environment. I thought that my team played their hearts out and there was a lot that I feel we can build on. For us and where we are trying to go, I thought this was a step forward.”

The Rebels (8-13, 2-5 SEC) weren’t rattled at the tipoff in front of 10,337 fans at The Hump, battling to an 8-6 lead after senior La’Karis Salter (13 points, 3-of-6 3PT, four rebounds, three blocks, two steals) scored the first five points in her first return to Starkville after transferring from MSU following the 2015-16 season. The Bulldogs (19-1, 7-0 SEC), who own the NCAA’s top scoring offense at 90.9 PPG and the nation’s top scoring margin at plus-34.9 PPG, quickly took control, though, ripping off a 12-2 run that Ole Miss was never able to surmount.

Salter tied a season-high 27 minutes for the Rebels today on her old court, recording her fourth double-digit game in her last six outings.

“I thought (Salter) did well,” said McPhee-McCuin. “I didn’t know what to expect from Big Ticket. I’m just glad she is scoring. I’m glad she played well. She is coming along as well and I thought she did a lot of good things. I thought that her presence alone for the rest of the young women was important.

Coming off of the bench for the first time as a Rebel, senior Crystal Allen scored a team-high 15 points while going 3-of-3 from the charity stripe. She has now made 37 straight from the foul line, which ranks as the third-longest active streak in the NCAA and the longest in the SEC.

Shannon Dozier also played well for the Rebels, scoring a career-high 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Mississippi State was led by the All-American duo of Teaira McCowan (33 points, 13 rebounds) and Anriel Howard (16 points, 11 rebounds). Ole Miss will play the Bulldogs again in Oxford on Feb. 21.

“I feel like people misconstrue what a rivalry is like,” McPhee-McCuin said. “Obviously, it is lopsided right now. But a rivalry is not about hating the other team. The rivalry is about having pride and loving your university. I wanted our young women to start to see and feel like the belong and they deserve to be there and to compete.”

Ole Miss returns to home to The Pavilion on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT to take on Auburn.

 

 

Tyler Wooten