Overcoming a 16-point halftime deficit, the Lady Rebels came from behind to top Vanderbilt 72-67 at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum in its SEC opener today.Senior guard Kayla Melson played a big role in the game for Ole Miss and finished with a career-high 30 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the floor. She also made 12 of 14 free throws in 40 minutes of work.
“Outstanding game, she just did what she had to do for us,” Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said. “She doesn’t always have to score, she just has to be the leader on the floor. That’s what she did today, she motivated us.”
TURNING IT OVER: In the first half 14 turnovers led to 15 points for Vanderbilt, while the Lady Commodores only allowed one point off of five turnovers.
The two roles flipped in the second half, as Ole Miss (8-5 overall, 1-0 SEC) finished the game with 20 points off of 14 Vanderbilt (9-5, 0-1) turnovers.
FLIPPING THE COURT: Better play on defense, and the ability to grab a rebound, hit the breakout pass and flip the court also played a big role in Ole Miss’ second-half comeback.
LEADERS: All-SEC performer Jence Rhodes and Hannah Tuomi led Vanderbilt with 16 points apiece.
Freshman point guard Valencia McFarland had 15 points for Ole Miss in 40 minutes.
NEXT UP: Ole Miss will return to action next Sunday, traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., to play Tennessee. The game is set for an 11 a.m. start and will be televised on CSS. (January 2, 2011)