Rebels Drop SEC Home Opener to Arkansas

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OXFORD, Miss. -- The Ole Miss women’s basketball team had a tough time slowing down a potent Arkansas offense, as the Rebels fell to the Razorbacks, 85-55, at The Pavilion on Sunday.

Despite drawing even elsewhere on the stat sheet, Ole Miss (6-10, 0-2 SEC) struggled offensively for much of the game. Meanwhile, Arkansas (12-4, 1-1 SEC) had no such troubles, shooting 47.8 percent overall and going 12-of-30 from beyond the arc against a Rebel three-point defense that was holding opponents to 28.7 percent overall entering today. By contrast, the Rebels tied a season-low 20 percent from three on a 3-of-15 clip.

“(Arkansas’ shooting) was the game,” said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “And I don’t think it was because our kids didn’t play hard. Our reality is we’re in the SEC, and it gets tough. But on the flip side, there were a lot of positives from our freshmen, and I don’t think we can expect Crystal to give us a 20-point night every game. It’s just getting easier to defend if she’s the only one scoring.”

Arkansas was able to hold top Rebel scorer Crystal Allen to just 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting. Today still marked her 14th double-digit game in 16 tries this season, but it was her first game not at or above 20 points since Dec. 15. Fellow senior La’Karis Salter also reached double figures, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Both Allen and Salter scored nine of their points in the second half.

Shannon Dozier (six points, two rebounds, two steals), Shandricka Sessom (six points, five rebounds, two assists) and Taylor Smith (six rebounds, two steals) all chipped in six points. Freshman Gabby Crawford (four points) led with seven rebounds, while Mahogany Matthews (four points) added three blocks in the effort.

The Rebels managed to keep Arkansas off the free throw line for much of the game (entering they held the 10th most free throws made nationally) and tied 39-39 on the glass, but four Razorbacks scored in double-digits amid the flurry of Arkansas buckets: Chelsea Dungee (17 points, 3-of-7 3PT), Jailyn Mason (16 points, six rebounds, three assists, 4-of-6 3PT), Malica Monk (16 points, five assists, 2-of-5 3PT) and Kiara Williams (13 points, 10 rebounds, five steals).

Ole Miss remains at home this coming Thursday when it will host LSU. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT inside The Pavilion