Women's Hoops Lets Win Slip Away Against No. 17/18 Kentucky

Kayla Melson (AP)

Jan. 27, 2011

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OXFORD, Miss. - After committing just five turnovers in the first half, Ole Miss turned the ball over 18 times in the second half as the Rebels fell to No. 17/18 Kentucky 74-68 Thursday night.

With the loss, Ole Miss fell to 9-10 overall (2-5 SEC) while No. 17/18 Kentucky improved to 16-4 overall (5-2 SEC).

Ole Miss led by 11 in each half but Kentucky turned up its full court press midway through the second half to take the lead.  The Wildcats scored 25 points off of turnovers in the game. 

"We allowed their pressure to make us throw the ball away," head coach Renee Ladner said.  "On our end of the floor we took good shots.  But you can't become rattled. We quit attacking and it cost us the game tonight.  They stepped up their intensity and we fell apart."

Kentucky stepped up its full court press and forced Ole Miss to turn the ball over on three consecutive possessions.  The Wildcats cut Ole Miss' lead to 51-49 with 10:13 left in the game.

Kentucky took their first lead since the 9:14 mark in the first half when they went up 55-53 with 7:20 to play.

Nelson led Ole Miss with a career-high 22 points while Valencia McFarland scored 21 and Kayla Melson added 17.  The Rebels attempted just 37 field goals in the game and ended the game shooting a season-high 59.5 percent from the floor (22-of-37).  The Wildcats ended the game shooting 46.2 percent (30-of-65). 

Ole Miss pushed its lead to five, 16-11, on a pair of free throws from Courtney Marbra with 12:05 left in the half.  Kentucky tied the game at 16-16 before the Rebels extended their lead to five again, 29-24, on a jumper by Shae Nelson with 4:33 remaining in the half.

Ole Miss pushed its lead to 11, 36-25, on a put back from Nikki Byrd with 20 seconds remaining.  The Wildcats hit a three at the buzzer as the Rebels went into the half up, 36-28.

At the half, Nelson had 17 points, including five three pointers, while Melson had six.  The Rebels shot a season-best 52 percent (10-of-19) from the floor in the first half while Kentucky shot 33.3 percent (9-of-27). 

A three-point play from Melson followed by a pair of free throws on the next possession gave Ole Miss a 47-36 lead with 13:57 to play. 

Ole Miss will play at Vanderbilt Sunday at 2 p.m.  The game will be televised on SportSouth.

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