Rebels finish the season on five game losing streak after Tennessee loss

Posted on Mar 4 2019 - 5:50am by Jake Davis

The Ole Miss women’s basketball team closed out its regular season with a home loss to Tennessee on Sunday. The Rebels finished 9-21 this season, 3-13 in conference, dropping their final five games of the season after a win over Vanderbilt at home on Feb. 14.

The Rebels struggled in their final game of the regular season, falling to the Volunteers 81-56 in Oxford. Redshirt senior Crystal Allen got the scoring going with five quick points in the opening minutes, hitting a 3-pointer after a steal by fellow redshirt senior Shandricka Sessom.

Ole Miss guard Crystal Allen drives the ball down court on Sunday. Allen scored 30 points during the game, more than any other player. Photo by Katherine Butler

It would all be downhill from there, however, as Tennessee scored the next eight points and ended the first quarter on a 23-8 run. Allen finished with 10 points in the quarter but also committed 2 key turnovers. The Rebels committed 8 total turnovers in the period, with ball control being an issue.

The second quarter would prove to be even more disappointing for the Rebs, with the only bright spot being some aggressive play from redshirt senior La’Karis Salter. She came up with the only two baskets of the period for Ole Miss as they watched their deficit grow from 10 to 24 in the quarter. Salter played aggressive defense and provided the only offense of the quarter for the Rebs, who struggled to get open looks throughout the period.

The third quarter was a high-scoring affair for both sides, and while Ole Miss was finally able to score consistently, its permeable defense led to open looks for the Volunteers. The Rebels saw their deficit grow to 35 on a jumper from Tennessee’s Rae Burrell and failed to make any sizable dent in the Tennessee lead.

Allen contributed 7 more points in the quarter, scoring more freely and creating opportunities for her teammates along the way. Ole Miss committed 6 turnovers in the period but recovered well in transition and allowed just 3 points off of those turnovers.

A layup by freshman Taylor Smith cut the Volunteers’ lead to 31 entering the final quarter. The Rebels refused to go down without a fight.

Crystal Allen championed the Rebels in the fourth quarter, posting an impressive 13 points in the quarter to bring her total to 30 for the game. She hit the only 3 3-pointers of the game for Ole Miss as the team continued to struggle with shooting the ball from outside.

Freshman Gabby Crawford was a bright spot for the Rebels, scoring 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting while also recording 9 boards and a steal.

Salter and Sessom both struggled in their final regular season game for Ole Miss. Salter managed just 4 points on 2-4 shooting, all of which came in the second quarter. Sessom finished the game scoreless on 5 shots, including two misses from beyond 3-point range. She did manage to contribute 5 boards, an assist and a steal.

The Rebels closed out their regular season on a foul note but managed to finish 12th in the SEC after being voted last by coaches in the preseason poll. Their focus now shifts to the first round of the SEC Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina, where they will play what could be their final game of the season.

Ole Miss will take on the Florida Gators on March 6 in the first round of the SEC Tournament.