LEXINGTON, Ky. - With a 6-0 road start on the line, Ole Miss fought through a tough 40 minutes against No. 23 Kentucky to come away with its second win over a ranked team of the season in a 63-54 victory from Rupp Arena Sunday. The Rebels continue their best start in SEC play since 2010, moving to 5-1 in league play.
Carried by Shakira Austin, Ole Miss (16-2, 4-1 SEC) fought through tough stretches to keep a pesky Kentucky (8-7, 1-4 SEC) from coming within reach. Despite Ole Miss leading for 38 minutes of the game, the Rebels never led by more than 12.
Austin pieced together her sixth 20-point outing of the season, leading the Rebels with 24 points as four finished in double-figures. Snudda Collins was a sharpshooter from three, tying a season-high with four triples in a 12-point performance. Coming in key in the fourth quarter was Madison Scott with seven of her 10 points in the final quarter.
Defensively, Austin added her 11th multi-block game this year. Ole Miss didn't allow its opponent to hit a single three for the second time in SEC play as Kentucky shot 0-for-6 from deep. The Rebels love to make their opponents pay for its mistakes, cashing in on 18 Wildcat turnovers for 20 points.
Scoring was difficult to come by in the opening minutes of the game with three field goals combined from both teams in the first five minutes. 90 seconds changed this instantly for the Rebels with a fast 11-0 run, powered by two Collins triples. UK fired back with an 8-0 run of its own, rattling off four consecutive field goals to tighten the gap.
The game hit a shooting slump in the second, with both teams struggling to convert from the floor. Kentucky continued to push the Rebels as a 7-0 run brought them within two at 24-22. Back-to-back jumpers gave Ole Miss a small cushion heading into the break, leading 28-25.
Ole Miss utilized five staight Wildcat turnovers in short succession to extend its lead up to seven near the mid-point of the third. Despite the Rebels leading almost the entirety of the game, Kentucky seemed to always have an answer to draw close.
Cool, calm, and collected, back-to-back Scott buckets provided Ole Miss with its largest lead of the second half up by nine at 54-45 with a little less than six minutes remaining. Yet another UK run brought the game within two possessions, as the Rebels struggled to stay out of foul trouble.
Austin came up clutch with two straight jumpers to provide the Rebels with some breathing room to create an eight-point lead with time ticking down toward the end of the fourth quarter. Ole Miss limited UK to one basket in the final four minutes to leave Rupp Arena with its fifth SEC win, 63-54.
Ole Miss will remain idle on Thursday and enjoy a week in between games before a home matchup with No. 13 Georgia next Sunday (Jan. 30) from the SJB Pavilion. Tipoff versus the Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. CT on SEC Network +.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB and on Instagram at Ole MissWBB. You can also follow head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin on Twitter at @YolettMcCuin.