Nov. 26, 2013
Box Score Photo Gallery Press Conference BEYOND THE GAME
OXFORD, Miss. –The Ole Miss women’s basketball team, led by 23 points and 10 assists from senior Valencia McFarland, picked up its third consecutive win with a 78-72 win over Louisiana-Monroe at Tad Smith Coliseum on Tuesday (Nov. 26).
Playing its third game in five days, Ole Miss (4-4) scored 12 points out of the locker room to take a 41-40 lead –its first since the 4:54 mark of the first half-- and extended it to 51-47 minutes later. The Rebels wouldn't trail again en route to their third straight win.
“I’m very proud of our team’s effort tonight,” said head coach Matt Insell. “We have played three games in five days. It was very tough on them. I told the team when we got back from Hawaii that we needed to win three out of three, and they did that. A big reason we did that was Valencia McFarland. She took over that basketball game in the second half, and she has done that these last three games. She has stepped up in leading our basketball team, and I couldn’t be more proud of a player than I am of her.”
For the third straight game, McFarland led the Rebels from the floor. She scored a season-high 23 points and picked up her first double-double of the season with 10 assists. Reigning Co-SEC Player of the Week, Tia Faleru grabbed eight rebounds to lead Ole Miss’ rebounding efforts and added 13 points. McFarland’s 23 points was a season-best and marked her third straight game of 20 or more points.
It was a total team effort against Louisiana-Monroe (2-3) as the Warhawks wouldn’t go quietly. After Ole Miss took a 13-point lead with two minutes left in the contest, Louisiana-Monroe cut the lead to just two possessions with under a minute to play behind baskets from Ashleigh Simmons and Alexar Tugler, but Ole Miss sealed the victory from the free throw line.
Louisiana-Monroe’s Simmons led all-scorers with 34 points and 10 rebounds.
"We dug deep,” said Insell. “This is a big win for our basketball team, for our confidence and toughness. This win will win us a lot more basketball games."
Redshirt sophomore Gracie Frizzell, was deadly from long range against the Warhawks. She scored a season-best 17 points, and went 4-of-8 from downtown. Faleru also reached double-figures for the fourth straight game and was just two rebounds shy of her third consecutive double-double.
The second half was as tight as can be, with neither team taking more than a four-point lead until 12 minutes into the second half. Ole Miss tightened up on defense and was able to get some fastbreak buckets, outscoring Louisiana-Monroe, 16-2 on fast break points for the contest. The Rebels also took advantage of the 22 Warhawk turnovers, scoring a season-high 24 points off Louisiana-Monroe miscues. After scoring just 28 points in the first half, Ole Miss scored 50 points in the second half and shot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) from the floor, up from 26.2 (11-of-42) in the first half.
The Rebels opened the game cold from the floor, failing to connect on their first six shots and found themselves in a 10-2 hole. Frizzell’s sharpshooting helped the Rebels get back in the game, as the Arkansas native hit two big treys, and the Rebels were able to cut the Monroe lead to just two points, 14-12, at the 13:57 mark.
The game went back and forth for the majority of the first half and Ole Miss was able to tie the game five times, but the visitors closed the half on a 8-2 run to take a 32-28 lead into halftime.
Ole Miss nailed four first half three-pointers, three from Frizzell, and forced the visitors into 12 turnovers in the first half, but couldn’t get much going from the field, shooting just 26.2 (11-of-42) from the floor.
Ole Miss hits the road for the first time in three games when it travels to New Orleans to take on Tulane on Saturday (Nov. 30). Tip is set for 2 p.m. at Tulane’s Devlin Fieldhouse. The Rebels return to Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday Dec. 4 for the School Kids Game, when they host Louisiana Tech. Tipoff is at 11 a.m. 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 4-1 at the Tad Pad this season … Valencia McFarland extends her scoring streak to 95 consecutive games and her consecutive games started streak to 86 games … Gracie Frizzell back in the starting lineup tonight, first start since the Central Arkansas game … Frizzell with a season-best four triples … McFarland scored 20 or more points for the third straight game and was two shy of her career-best of 25 points … Ole Miss scored 50 or more points in the second half for the third time this season … McFarland picked up her third career double-double and her 10 assists is one shy her career high.