Ole Miss beats Bama, secures fourth seed at SEC tourney
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - There's no doubt Ole Miss women's basketball is ever out of a fight, as the Rebels completed yet another comeback this time to defeat Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sunday, 57-55. The win pushed Ole Miss to 11 victories in conference to tie a program best. The Rebels end the regular season finishing fourth in the SEC.
A career-high day from Marquesha Davis with 26 points including four free throws in the final minute, pushed Ole Miss (22-7, 11-5 SEC) past Alabama (20-9, 9-7 SEC) to end conference play on a high note. For the 11th time, Ole Miss finishes its season in the top-four of the SEC.
Defense is always the name of Ole Miss' game, holding Alabama to shoot 32.9% from the field. Tyia Singleton was a force around the rim, with seven of the team's nine blocks. Singleton's seven rejections set a new career high.
Opening off of a clock malfunction, Singleton didn't let it phase her by burying a three from the top of the arc for the first points of the day. In traditional fashion, the Ole Miss defense set the tone early by restricting the Crimson Tide from the basket for over six minutes in the opening quarter. With a last second shot to beat the clock from Baker, Ole Miss went up 17-9 through 10.
The Rebel defense continued to puzzle the Crimson Tide in the second quarter, holding them to yet another multi-minute scoring drought. At the other end of the court, Davis controlled the scoring in a mesmerizing fashion with 12 points in the first half. Ole Miss fell into a shooting slump of its own, while Alabama used the three ball to keep it tight at 25-24 going into halftime.
With Ole Miss struggling to reach the basket, Alabama took its first lead of the day early into the third quarter. Davis cut the deficit to five by driving through the lane to provide the Rebels with an offensive spark as Ole Miss worked to battle back. A layup in the waning seconds from Alabama allowed the Crimson Tide to take a 41-35 lead heading into the fourth.
Three straight buckets from Davis cut the Crimson Tide lead to two, as Ole Miss proved they weren't done yet. Fighting back from down six, the Rebels retook the lead at 47-45 just as Madison Scott began to cook offensively with eight of her 10 points in the final quarter.
Holding Alabama scoreless for over two and a half minutes after the under-five media timeout, Ole Miss' 6-0 run provided its largest lead since the second quarter. The Crimson Tide fired back with back-to-back threes with less than two minutes remaining to tie the game up at 53 all. Davis was calm at the charity stripe hitting back-to-back free throws to take a lead. Alabama answered with a layup for the fifth and final tie of the game at 55. With three seconds to go, Davis once again at the line sealed the comeback victory for the Rebels, 57-55.
Ole Miss earns the four seed for the SEC Tournament and an automatic double-bye to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals where it will face off against the winner of game 4 on Friday (March 3) at approximately 2:30 pm. ET.