Women’s basketball falls in overtime heartbreaker to No. 1 South Carolina, 64-57

Published 11:00 am Monday, February 20, 2023

Facing its second-consecutive top-five opponent, Ole Miss was almost the first team in the nation to crack the code to undefeated South Carolina by pushing it to overtime before falling, 64-57. Ole Miss was the second team this season and first in SEC play, to push the Gamecocks to the brink with extra time.

Ole Miss (20-7, 9-5 SEC) showed no fear against the reigning national champions in No. 1 South Carolina (27-0, 14-0 SEC), putting its 32-game winning streak in jeopardy. Angel Baker brought the energy for Ole Miss, with a team-high 17 points. Baker has now led the Rebels in 15 games this season.

Snudda Collins joined Baker in double-figures, shooting 5-of-7 from the field.

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Rita Igbokwe was once again a defensive force, tying a career-high with six blocks against the Gamecocks. Igbokwe is now three rejections away from hitting 200 in her career. As a team, the Rebels out blocked the nation’s leading team, eight to five.

Marquesha Davis got the Rebels going after dicing up the defending national player of the year in Aliyah Boston to put Ole Miss on the board. The Gamecocks asserted their dominance, with an 8-0 run to lead early at 12-6. Defensively, Ole Miss answered by holding South Carolina scoreless for over two minutes to pull within two. A layup within the final seconds of the first quarter provided the Gamecocks a 16-14 lead through 10.

Holding the Gamecocks scoreless for another stretch, a Baker layup evened up the score at 21 all. Both teams found itself in a scoring slump, unable to reach the basket for an extended period in the second. A banked-in triple from Collins reignited Ole Miss, as it worked to keep pace with South Carolina. Back-to-back free throws from Davis lifted the Rebels to within one at the half, trailing 29-28.

Ole Miss kept swinging in the third, meeting the Gamecocks once again to tie the score at 33. Both traded buckets back and forth, until a 6-0 run from South Carolina provided its largest lead since the first quarter at 44-38. Locking down the Gamecocks the final three minutes of the third quarter, the Rebs kept this one in reach down by two at 44-42.

On the verge of knocking off the No. 1 team in the nation for the second time in program history, the Rebels worked together to capitalize off of Gamecock turnovers to remain in the fight. Back-to-back buckets from Collins, brought the Rebels within two at 52-50 with 4:31 remaining. Five straight points from Baker provided the Rebels the lead at 55-54 with over a minute left. A made free-throw from Boston tied the game at 55 all to force a third overtime for Ole Miss this year.

The speed of South Carolina showed within the final five minutes, with back-to-back buckets to begin overtime. A jumper from Myah Taylor wound up to be Ole Miss’ only points in extra time, as South Carolina outscored the Rebels 9-2 to avoid the upset, defeating the Rebels, 64-57.

The Rebels return to the SJB Pavilion for its final home game of the season, where they will honor their four seniors on Thursday against Missouri. Tipoff against the Tigers is set for 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network +.