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Monday, September 22, 2014

Ole Miss women hold off ULM, 78-72

BLOG — The Ole Miss women’s basketball team overcame a poor shooting start to extend its winning streak to three with a 78-72 victory over Louisiana-Monroe Tuesday at C.M. “Tad’ Smith Coliseum.

Senior point guard Valencia McFarland, who scored for the 95th straight game, poured in 23 points to lead the Lady Rebels, who improved to .500 at 4-4. Sophomore Gracie Frizzell knocked down four 3-pointers on her way to 17 points while junior forward Tia Faleru reached double figures for the sixth time this season with 13 points.

“This is a big win for us,” Ole Miss coach Matt Insell said. “This is a big win for our basketball team right there for our confidence and our toughness factor. This win right here is going to win us a lot more basketball games.”

Playing its third game in five days, Ole Miss held an 11-point lead with 1:52 left before fatigue started setting in. Louisiana-Monroe, which got a game-high 34 points from guard Ashleigh Simmons, reeled off 10 of the next 13 points to close the gap to 76-72 with 18 seconds remaining.

But the Lady Warhawks couldn’t get any closer.

“Our legs were shot,” Insell said. “There was times out there I had to call timeouts just to rest our bunch because I knew our team was tired, but I just told them, ‘Just dig deep and find something else.’ And they did it.”

The Lady Rebels’ weary legs were evident early as Ole Miss struggled to get anything to fall. Outside of a trio of 3-pointers from Frizzell, perhaps the freshest Lady Rebel on the floor getting a spot start in place of the injured Danielle McCray, Ole Miss hit just eight shots in the first 20 minutes and ended the half trailing 32-28.

The halftime break served Ole Miss well. The Lady Rebels came out firing, grabbed the lead six minutes into the second half and never relinquished it. Ole Miss’ aggressiveness helped its second-half turnaround as the Lady Rebels shot 26 free throws, sinking 19 of them.

Ole Miss will return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. at Tulane.

For complete coverage from Tuesday’s game, see Wednesday’s edition of the EAGLE. (November 27, 2013)

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