Nov. 22, 2013
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BEYOND THE GAME: Faleru, Defense Spark Big Second Half
OXFORD, Miss. – Holding a five-point halftime lead, the Ole Miss women’s basketball team scored 12 unanswered points to open the second half and cruised to a 96-69 win over Southeastern Louisiana at the Tad Smith Coliseum on Friday (Nov. 22). The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Rebels and moves Ole Miss to 2-1 at the Tad Pad this season.
“The effort was there today and that’s the big thing that I’m asking them to do,” said head coach Matt Insell. We changed some things up with our lineup and I’m happy with the way that Danielle McCray came out and responded by starting. She did really well today. It was a great team win. We’re going to clean up some things but we’re getting there defensively. It’s a work in progress, but we’re getting there and we just keep getting better every day.”
Valencia McFarland led the way for the Rebels 20 points, for her first 20-point outing this season. For the second consecutive game, Tia Faleru posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, giving her an SEC-best fourth double-double on the year. For the first time this season, Ole Miss had five players in double-figures. Joining McFarland and Faleru were Danielle McCray with 12 points, Diara Moore with 17 and Kenyotta Jenkins with 11.
Ole Miss (2-4) came out of the locker room on fire and with nine unanswered points extended its lead to 40-25 with less than a minute off the game clock which forced the visitors to call a timeout. Ole Miss never let up and extended its lead to 20-points, and wouldn’t relinquish its double- digit lead for the remainder of the contest.
The Rebels clamped down on the defensive side of the ball, forcing the Lions into ill-advised shots and 21 turnovers, with 11 of those coming in the second half. The home team had its best shooting night of the season, shooting 51.4 percent (36-of-70), while pulling down 48 rebounds to go along with a season-best 21 assists and 12 steals.
Faleru went to work in the second half. After scoring just three points in the first half, the junior exploded for 15 points in the second half and grabbed 10 boards in the second frame en route to her second consecutive double-double.
Ole Miss utilized a balanced attack with each of its 11 players scoring at least a point. The home team really dominated in the paint scoring 50 points in the paint while also scoring 27 points off Southeastern Louisiana turnovers.
Southeastern Louisiana scored the first points of the game, but from that point it was all Ole Miss. Valencia McFarland scored back-to-back fast break buckets to give Ole Miss a 4-2 lead early and that sparked an 11-2 run for the Rebels, who jumped out to an 18-9 lead at the 11:45 mark.
The Rebels utilized their post players early, forcing the visiting Lions into jump shots while capitalizing on the inside on the other end to the tune of 22 points in the first half. Ole Miss also made the most of its turnovers with 11 points off Southeastern Louisiana giveaways and eight fastbreak points
Ole Miss scored seven points and took a 14-point lead, the largest lead of the half, 26-12 at the 8:33 mark. The Lions started to cut back into the lead and we’re able to cut the double digit lead to single digits at 27-21 with 5:32 left, utilizing several Ole Miss miscues and scoring buckets inside.
With the lead down to five points with 2:31 remaining in the half, buckets from Kenyotta Jenkins and Diara Moore gave Ole Miss a 33-25 halftime advantage. The Rebel bench was quite active in the first half, outscoring their counterparts from Southeastern Louisiana, 11-4.
In her first start of the season, Danielle McCray excelled. The Florida native scored a season-best 12 points while grabbing four rebounds. She also dished out a pair of assists and had two blocked shots.
Ole Miss is back in action on Sunday (Nov. 24) when they take on Tennessee State. Game time is set for 2 p.m. in the Tad Smith Coliseum. Bring your ticket from the Ole Miss-Missouri football game and you can get in for FREE. It’s also Club Sports Day. For ticket information, go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).
Ole Miss moves to 2-1 at the Tad Pad this season … Today’s game was the second doubleheader for the Rebels this season. The Ole Miss basketball teams will play one more doubleheader on Tuesday when the women face Louisiana-Monroe following the men’s game against North Carolina A&T … Valencia McFarland extends her scoring streak to 93 consecutive games and her consecutive games started streak to 84 games … The Rebels are now 16-0 against Southeastern Louisiana and 59-9 against teams from the Southland Conference … Ole Miss debuted a new starting lineup, its third of the season, as Danielle McCray earned her first start of the season .. Bretta Hart saw her first game action since the season-opener in tonight’s contest.