Strong Fourth Quarter Propels Ole Miss to Victory

Nov. 26, 2016

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LAS VEGAS-
Ole Miss extended its season opening win streak to five straight with a 69-44 win over Wisconsin out of the Big Ten in the opening round of the lady Rebel Round-Up hosted by UNLV on Saturday. Ole Miss will play the host Lady Rebels on Sunday at 4:30 PM PT for the championship.

Madinah Muhammad (Chicago, Ill.) had a career night with 22 points, while Torri Lewis (Olive Branch, Miss.) was also in double figures with 10 points. Freshman Kate Rodgers (Birmingham, Ala.) led the way on the glass with a team-best eight rebounds in just 13 minutes of action - all coming in the second half.

The Rebels, who outscored Wisconsin, 21-9, in the second quarter started slow in the third quarter and had the Badgers in the bonus early in the quarter as Wisconsin used five unanswered to open the quarter but a triple from Lewis stopped the momentum. Although the Rebels shot just 9.1 percent in the third stanza (1-of-11), they were able to keep the Badgers from cutting too much into the lead by being excellent on the defensive end.

Ole Miss (5-0) was able to keep the lead and used the fourth quarter to pull away. Ole Miss used four early fast break points from Muhammad and Erika Sisk (Oxford, Miss.) forcing Wisconsin to take a timeout just 1:30 into the fourth quarter, while going to work on the offensive end, outscoring the Badgers, 20-6 en route to fifth straight win. Rodgers was a huge spark off the bench with eight rebounds in the fourth quarter.

The Ole Miss defense was again on display holding the Badgers to just 23.3 percent shooting (10-of-43) for the game, while forcing 31 turnovers, which led to 41 points for Ole Miss. Wisconsin became the fourth Ole Miss opponent that failed to reach 50 points this season.

Ole Miss used the momentum from the end of the first quarter and translated it to an 8-0 run counting Alston's free throws at the end of the first quarter. The Rebels scored 11 unanswered points to open the second quarter highlighted by 13 second-quarter points from Muhammad. The Rebels really clamped down on defense and forced the Badgers into 15 first half turnovers, leading to 23 Ole Miss points.

The first quarter was a quick one as both teams got up and down the floor and aside from an early 7-4 lead for Ole Miss courtesy of a triple from Muhammad, the score was never more than a possession throughout the first quarter. Freshman Shelby Gibson (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) provided a spark off the bench with a steal, which resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play, which kept the lead with Ole Miss. The game was tight but the Rebels were able to gain some momentum at the end of the quarter with three straight free throws from Alissa Alston (New Haven, Conn.) to take a 20-18 lead.

From The Head Coach
On the win ...
What a win for us. The team played extremely hard. We had a lot of kids step up and make plays. We got into some foul trouble. The game was called really tight and we got into some foul trouble, but we had some players come in and step up. Kate Rodgers didn't play a minute in the first half, but came in the second half and played 13 minutes and had eight rebounds. When we were struggling to rebound, she came in and got boards for us. Huge win and I couldn't be any prouder of our basketball team." 

On Kate Rodgers being ready ...
"I tell them all, you have to be ready to go. You never know when your number is going to be called. We started getting beat on the boards and she came in and made big plays for us. She got us slowed down. The third quarter was sluggish, but we got back in, in the fourth quarter and got a big win. When you beat a power five team by more than 20 points you've done something." 

On the difference in the third and fourth quarters ...
"We just settled down and started executing offensively. We get in these little funks where we try to go off on our own a little bit, we've got to stay out of that, but we need to know that no matter what we need to keep executing and scoring within the offense. Madinah Muhammad was huge. She's coming on and getting better and better. Torri Lewis played her butt off. Shandricka Sessom scored five points and played 17 minutes. Torri Lewis just battled. Good to have Alissa Alston back out there, it's good when you can keep Alissa and Erika out there fresh; just very proud of our basketball team." 

On numerous players stepping up through out the game ...
"It's huge. We have good depth and we've just got to keep it going. We're 5-0 and just beat Wisconsin. It's a good win. UNLV has a good team. They beat USC and they are undefeated. They have a good basketball team and I'm concerned about them. We'll enjoy this one and start watching some film and be ready to go tomorrow."

 Rebel Sidelines
-Ole Miss ties the series with today's win and wins its first non-conference power five win since defeating Utah at the Nugget Classic in 2014-15.

-Erika Sisk moves eight points way from her 1,000th career point.

-Olympian Ruthie Bolton came to support the Rebels in Las Vegas. Earlier this season, Bolton spoke to the team about "flexing their muscles"

-Ole Miss has held an opponent to single digits in nine of its 20 quarters of basketball this season.

-Alissa Alston tied her career-high with six free throws. She was 6-of-7 from the line.

-Madinah Muhammad set a new career high with 22 points. She joins Shandricka Sessom as 20 points scorers for Ole Miss this season.

-Taylor Manuel set a new career high with four steals 

Up Next
Ole Miss will play UNLV on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 PT. The game will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network (FREE). 

Next Five Games
Nov. 27 - vs. UNLV                                        4:30 PM
Dec. 1 - vs. Jackson State@                           11 AM
Dec. 4 - at West Virginia#                              3 PM
Dec. 10 - vs. Louisiana Monroe                       1 PM
Dec. 14 - vs. Oregon                                      6 PM 

^-At UNLV Lady Rebel Roundup (Las Vegas, Nevada)
@-14th Annual Kids Game
#-SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Keep Up With the Rebels
Keep up to date with the Ole Miss women's basketball team throughout the season on social media. For all Ole Miss women's basketball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB on Instagram at Ole MissWBB and on Snapchat with the handle @OleMissWBB. Fans can also follow Ole Miss women's basketball head coach Matt Insell on Twitter at @minsell.


 

 

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