ATHENS, Ga. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss women’s basketball fought out of the gate and received another high-octane performance from senior Crystal Allen, but an efficient offense and tight defense helped Georgia pull away for a 78-56 win at Stegeman Coliseum on Monday night.
The Rebels drew 10-10 by the first media timeout of the game, hitting their first four shots from the field. Georgia responded with a 14-3 run to close the first quarter, though, a gap Ole Miss would fail to close the remainder of the game. Georgia had 23 assists on 31 made field goals and forced 17 Rebel turnovers that the Bulldogs turned into 20 points.
“The first five minutes we were doing fine, but we hit a little adversity and I thought for fifteen minutes, the last five minutes of the first quarter and all 10 minutes of the second quarter, we just got manhandled,” said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “That was disappointing for us. On the bright side, in the third and fourth, we fought. I played my young kids. We were able to get some kind of activity, but we have got to figure out a way to keep it going from beginning to end.”
Crystal Allen ended up with 21 points, her 10th game with 20 points or more this season. Allen scored 16 of her 21 in the fourth quarter alone, as well as 19 just in the second half. Allen has scored in double digits in all but three games this season.
All five Rebel freshmen played at least 14 minutes, with solid performances coming from Taylor Smith (seven points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal), Mimi Reid (six points, two rebounds, two assists) and Gabby Crawford (four points, six rebounds).
“At one point, I had four freshmen on the floor,” McPhee-McCuin said. “This was their first time being thrown in the fire and I was pretty proud of them and how they competed for the time that they played. We are going to try and build off of that.”
Georgia received a strong outing from Preseason All-SEC member Caliya Robinson, who scored 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. In her last three games vs. Ole Miss, Robinson is averaging 23.3 PPG and is shooting 67.4 percent from the field. Georgia also received important games from Maya Caldwell (15 points, five rebounds) and Taja Cole (four points, four rebounds, 10 assists, three steals).
Up next, Ole Miss plays host to in-state rival, No. 6 Mississippi State, at The Pavilion on Thursday night, with tipoff slated for 7 p.m. CT.
“I just want to see fight,” McPhee-McCuin said. “I want the last picture when people think about Ole Miss Basketball is competitiveness, toughness and fight. There has not been one coach that we have competed against that has not talked to me before and after the game about how hard my kids play.”