GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - The Ole Miss women’s basketball team fell in heartbreaking fashion at Florida, with the Gators knocking down a go-ahead layup with 27 seconds to play for the 61-60 win over the Rebels on Sunday.
Ole Miss (11-8, 1-5 SEC) and Florida (10-10, 2-5 SEC) went into double-overtime in Oxford on Jan. 7, and decided to repeat history with another nail-biter – this time with the Gators coming out on top.
The intensity was there right off the bat, with both teams battling to a 10-10 tie at the first media timeout. Ole Miss received two early threes from Madinah Muhammad (12 points, seven assists, four rebounds) in that effort, scoring seven of her 12 in the opening frame. The Gators came out of the media timeout on an 8-0 run to take an 18-10 lead and an 18-14 advantage after the first quarter.
Florida shot 46.2 percent from the field in the first, taking advantage of a 31.3 percent clip from the Rebels, but the second quarter belonged to Ole Miss in a big way. The Gators opened with a 6-0 run (which extended a 16-4 run going back into the first quarter), but that would be the final points for Florida for nearly the rest of the quarter.
Ole Miss exploded for a 15-0 run in the midst of a 6:19 Florida scoring drought instigated by a stout Rebel defense – giving the Rebels their first SEC halftime lead of the season at 29-26. Helping greatly in that effort was a 9-2 effort in points off turnovers off nine Gator mishaps in the first half.
The Rebels owned the middle quarters at a 32-25 edge, helped by an 11-3 run to open the third quarter. But the Gators turned on the jets in the fourth quarter, opening with a 17-0 run and holding the Rebels scoreless for 7:29 of the final frame.
Florida took their first lead in nearly two quarters at the 3:22 mark, but Promise Taylor (12 points, two blocks) broke the run with a layup at 2:31 to cut the Gator lead to 59-58 – setting up a wild run during the final minutes.
Junior Alissa Alston – the leading scorer for the Rebels at 17 points – took the lead right back for Ole Miss on the next possession on a layup, making it a 60-59 game, but Florida’s Haley Lorenzen (18 points, 13 rebounds) put back a missed three-pointer for the game-winning layup with 27 seconds to play.
The Rebels had a chance with 8.1 seconds to play, but Alston’s layup was blocked by Lorenzen and picked up by the Gators for the win.
Four Rebels were in double-digits: Alston (17), Muhammad (12), Taylor (12) and Shelby Gibson (10).
Ole Miss remains on the road at Tennessee on Jan. 25.