Ole Miss Drops Heartbreaker at Arkansas

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Ole Miss Guard Valencia McFarland
Ole Miss Guard Valencia McFarland

Jan. 19, 2014

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Valencia McFarland had a look at a three that would have tied the game with two seconds left, but couldn’t get it to fall as the Ole Miss women’s basketball team dropped a 68-65 heartbreaker on the road at Arkansas on Sunday (Jan. 19).

With the game tied at 59-59 with 3:44 left, Arkansas took a one-point 62-60 lead before McFarland nailed a dead on triple from the left side to give the lead back to the Rebels, but a layup from Arkansas’ Melissa Wolff coupled with the Razorbacks nailing some free throws down the stretch sealed the win for Arkansas.

"I challenged them at halftime to step up and stop letting people just score on them at will and what an effort in the second half," said head coach Matt Insell. "We were down 16 with 16 minutes to go and they could have quit, but this team they kept fighting and I’m hurting for them. I have a locker room full of players that are hurting. There wasn’t a player in that locker room that wasn’t crying or upset because they gave everything they had. They wanted to win."

McFarland led Ole Miss with 25 points – her second consecutive game of 20 or more – and was joined in double figures by Monique Jackson who had a career-high 11 points of the bench. Tia Faleru picked up a team-best seven rebounds for Ole Miss (9-10, 0-5 SEC).

Arkansas (15-4, 2-4 SEC) extended its lead to 13 points, 48-32 – the largest of the game at the first media timeout of the half, but Shequila Joseph nailed a three-pointer just before the media timeout, which seemed to spark the Rebels.

After the media timeout, the Rebels embarked on a 22-2 run to cut the once 16-point lead to just one possession, 45-42, with 11:57 left. Ole Miss took the lead on a McFarland layup and pushed it all the way to seven points at the 7:10 mark. Arkansas battled back and forced a tied at 57 with 4:34 left and from that point, it was a chess-match between the teams.

Ole Miss opened the game on fire, jumping out to a 9-4 lead behind early buckets from Tia Faleru and Valencia McFarland. McFarland led the way with eight of Ole Miss’ first 12 points and has 11 first half points and was 5-of-6 from the free throw line. The Rebels defense was the story early as they gave the home team all they could handle on that end.

Arkansas wouldn’t go away and used a 9-3 run to take their first lead of the game, 13-12, at the 11:19 mark. The Rebels saw the Arkansas lead swell to 12 points but Ole Miss was able to get the lead back down to single digits with layups from Danielle McCray and Diara Moore. The 7-2 Ole Miss spurt was punctuated by a triple from Arkansas native Gracie Frizzell.

The Rebels couldn’t keep the Razorbacks off the board in the final minutes of the half as they scored two buckets to take a nine point, 37-28, lead into the break.  Faleru lead Ole Miss on the glass with seven rebounds but was an uncharacteristic, 1-of-13 from the field in the first frame. McFarland’s 11 led the Rebel offense.

The Rebels are back at home on Jan. 23 when they take on in-state rival Mississippi State as part of Ole Miss’ “Beat State Week” Tip is set for 6 p.m. from the Tad Smith Coliseum.  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 106 consecutive games and her consecutive games started streak to 96 games … The game served as a Homecoming for Gracie Frizzell who hails from Little Rock, Ark., and assistant coach Todd Schaeffer, who’s wide is an Arkansas native. Schaeffer also spent time coaching at Arkansas State before coming to Ole Miss …Ole Miss debuted a new starting lineup today with Amber Singletary getting the nod. It is Ole Miss’s fourth lineup of the season … Ole Miss has now dropped its last 10 SEC games dating back to last season  …  McFarland picked up her seventh game of 20+ this season and her second consecutive. 

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