Ole Miss Falls To Missouri In SEC Opener

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Valencia McFarland recorded her third double-double in the loss to Missouri.
Valencia McFarland recorded her third double-double in the loss to Missouri.

Jan. 2, 2014

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OXFORD, Miss. –  Ole Miss freshman Shequila Joseph tallied a career-high 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Ole Miss women’s basketball team dropped a 85-76 heartbreaker to Missouri in its SEC on Thursday night  at the Tad Smith Coliseum.

Ole Miss (9-6, 0-1 SEC) made a valiant second-half comeback after shooting just .26.3 (10-of-38) in the first half. The Rebels responded by shooting 47.1 percent (16of-34) and Joseph scored 14 of her 21 points in the second frame. Additionally, the Rebels warmed up from downtown nailing seven of their 11 triples in the second half.

The Rebels whittled a 12-point Mizzou (12-2, 1-0 SEC) lead down to four points with 2:07 remaining behind treys from Joseph and Diara Moore, but the Tigers responded with a triple from Maddie Stock and sealed the win from the line as Bri Kulas went 4-of-4 from the line down the stretch.

Valencia McFarland added 14 points and 10 assists for her third double-double of the season, while Moore and Gracie Frizzell added 14 and 10 points, respectively. Joseph, Tia Faleru and Kenyotta Jenkins led the rebounding efforts with seven boards each.

“Mizzou made a bunch of threes and shot 62% from the three-point line,” said head coach Matt Insell. “We didn’t do a good job of guarding them and talking defensively. We made a lot of mistakes defensively because we didn’t do a good job of communicating. They had wide open looks and if you give them wide open looks, they are going to make them.”

The Tigers, known for their three-point prowess, shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) and were one triple shy of tying the Tad Smith Coliseum record for three-pointers.

“We had some kids grow up tonight,” said Insell. “Shequila Joseph grew up and made some plays. Kenyotta Jenkins battled and I’m proud of her. We have to get better defensively. There’s no need to get down though. You have to have a short-term memory in this league. You have to get ready and bounce back in the next one.”

With the visitors owning a 38-33 lead early in the second half, the Rebels used three consecutive triples with Amber Singletary starting the action, to take its first and only lead of the game, 42-41, at the 17:31 mark of the second stanza. Joseph and Gracie Frizzell also drained treys in the 9-6 Ole Miss spurt before the Tigers responded with two triples of their own to regain the momentum.

Ole Miss started the game cold from the floor, shooting just 13 percent in the early going which allowed Missouri to jump out to an early seven-point lead behind early three-pointers. Morgan Eye nailed two in that stretch and combined with Morgan Stock for 10 of Mizzou’s 15 three-pointers on the night.

The Rebels couldn’t get much going on the offensive side of things in the first half  as the visitors held Ole Miss without a basket for nearly five minutes before a bucket from Jenkins ended the Rebel drought with a jumper to make the score 17-10 at the 7:46 mark.

With Mizzou holding a 10-point lead at the 7:02 mark, Ole Miss settled in on defense and with a steal and two buckets from Moore and a triple from Joseph, the Rebels got the score down to three-points, 18-21 with 4:53 remaining in the half.

Ole Miss closed the half with back-to-back threes from McFarland and Frizzell as Missouri took a 34-30 halftime lead.

The Rebels continue SEC action with a two-game road swing beginning on Jan. 9 when they travel to Tennessee for a televised contest on CSS at 7 p.m. ET. Ole Miss closes the road swing at Alabama on Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. For ticket information, go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).

Rebel Sidelines
Valencia McFarland extends her scoring streak to 102 consecutive games and her consecutive games started streak to 92 games … Ole Miss drops its SEC opener for the third consecutive year  … Ole Miss is 9-2 when scoring 70 or more points, the only teams Ole Miss has lost to when scoring 70+ is Baylor and Missouri ..,. Missouri’s 15 three points was one shy of the Tad Smith women’s record of 16 … Ole Miss has had at least one player score 20+ points in each of its last five games … Shequila Joseph is the first Ole Miss freshman with a 20-point game this season … Valencia McFarland’s double-double marks the fifth straight game an Ole Miss players has recorded a double-double, Ole Miss is 6-4 when they have at least one double-double ... The loss was the first home loss for the Rebels in the last seven games.

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