RUSTON, La. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - Ole Miss women's basketball fought tooth-and-nail with an upstart Louisiana Tech squad until the end, but foul trouble reared its ugly head in an 80-71 loss to the Lady Techsters on Saturday afternoon.
The Rebels (5-7) outshot LA Tech (7-3) 43.4 to 38.7 percent and received three double-digit scoring efforts, but a 35-point performance from Tech's Kierra Anthony and 55 combined team fouls proved too much to overcome in what was otherwise a back-and-forth affair that featured six lead changes and 12 ties.
"For this being our first road game, we just have some things we need to continue to work on," said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "I don't think we weathered the storm well. We are still a work in progress and we have to get the team to fully buy-in to the gameplan. There were a lot of moments where we didn't trust the gameplan and they were able to hurt us on the offensive end."
Anthony, who earlier this season was the ESPNW National Player of the Week following a Conference USA record 50 points vs. Houston, sank all 13 of her attempts from the free throw line, accounting for almost half of LA Tech's 29-of-39 clip from the charity stripe.
Ole Miss also took advantage of the high volume of fouls, shooting 21-of-30 from the line, with five Rebels knocking down at least five. But the LA Tech edge in free throws, as well as 19 points off 23 Rebel turnovers, helped the Lady Techsters edge out the win.
The first quarter saw Ole Miss and LA Tech fight to a draw at 23-23 after 21 combined free throw attempts in the opening frame. La'Karis Salter (16 points, four rebounds, one steal) scored seven of her 16 points in the first to pace the Rebels, while Cecilia Muhate (eight points, nine rebounds, two assists, 6-of-6 FT) hit four of her six free throws. Tech took the second and third quarters at an advantage of 49-32 after shooting 40.5 percent in those quarters, despite Shandricka Sessom (20 points, eight rebounds, two assists) scoring 12 of her 20 in the third. Ole Miss made a run of it in the fourth, winning the frame 15-8 after Salter poured in nine of her 16 points despite playing with four fouls.
Also scoring in double-digits for Ole Miss was Jhileiya Dunlap, who put in 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and four blocks.
The Rebels return home next Wednesday (Dec. 19) to host Troy for the final game before the holiday break. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT inside The Pavilion at Ole Miss.