Ole Miss falls, 79-51, to No. 7 Mississippi State
Starkville, MS– Ole Miss Women’s head basketball coach Matt Insell insisted his team didn’t play with enough fire and energy in its third road game in four games.
But Mississippi State did, and the No. 7/6 Bulldogs (17-2, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) fed off the energy of the home crowd to defeat the Rebels 79-51 inside Humphrey Coliseum on Monday night.
(Click here for Box Score.)
MSU has held 12 of its opponents this season below 60 points, including five of the last seven. The Bulldogs haven’t allowed any foe to score over 70 points this season. MSU has now won 16 in a row inside Humphrey Coliseum, the ninth longest streak in the nation.
“I’m really proud of my players, my kids. I always say that, sometimes I get an email saying ‘they aren’t kids; they are are young ladies’, but they are my kids and I am really proud of them,” MSU’s coach Vic Schaefer said about his team, which shot 28 for 57 from the floor. “I thought they played extremely hard.
“I thought they came out and punched first and kept punching in the first half.”
Ole Miss stayed with MSU for most of the first half and both programs struggled at times finding rhythm on offense, but the Bulldogs were finally able to break that pattern with three foul shots by sophomore guard Morgan William after the Rebels’ head coach Matt Insell was called for a technical foul for arguing with the referees on back-to-back fouls on A’Queen Hayes, who went out of the game with her team down 23-17 at the 5:53 mark.
“I thought both of her fouls were very questionable fouls. I don’t think she fouled either time,” Insell said. “But that’s my opinion and I don’t get paid to referee. I get paid to coach, so my opinion really doesn’t matter.”
William finished with 16 points for the Bulldogs. Chinwe Okorie added 10; Teaira McCowan had 10.
Before the fouls were called on Hayes, Ole Miss (9-9, 1-4) was down 19-17 after Shandricka Sessom’s jumper. Sessom led the team with 14 points on 6 of 19 shooting. But, overall, the Rebels had a difficult time keeping up the high energy that had them in the fight early on.
Madinah Muhammad had 10 points for Ole Miss, but the maroon-clad crowd gave MSU life when it, at times, looked rattled by the Rebels’ pressure defense.
Before the half, William found the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, Victoria Vivians, for a wide open 3-pointer from the corner to put MSU up 32-20. Ole Miss’ Alissa Alston’s 1 for 2 effort from the free throw line sliced the Bulldogs’ lead to 32-23, but MSU ran off seven quick points to go into halftime up 39-23.
Ole Miss shot 33.9 percent (19 for 56) for the game–8 for 26 in the first half–and committed 16 turnovers, which turned into 27 points for MSU.
“I was really pleased with our defense,” Schaefer said.
A crowd of 7,128 attended Monday night’s SEC game, which is the second largest crowd in school history. The Bulldogs’ 28-point win over the Rebels is now the largest margin of victory in the series. MSU out-rebounded Ole Miss, 46-29.
Insell mentioned William is the engine that makes MSU’s train runs. Schaefer’s response: “He’s dead on.”
Ole Miss hosts No. 9 Kentucky (8:00 p.m. CT, SEC ) on Thursday.
Feature image credit: Kelly Price/MSU Athletic Media Relations
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.