OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss received two electric offensive outings and timely runs in an impressive team victory over Kansas, 70-53, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Thursday night at The Pavilion.
Highly-touted newcomers Donnetta Johnson (21 points, four steals, three rebounds, two assists) and Shakira Austin (18 points, five rebounds, two blocks) combined for 39 points to pace the Rebels, who again showed prowess on defense as well by forcing 25 turnovers for the second game in a row. The Jayhawks didn’t make it easy, neither did playing without Austin for the entire second quarter due to foul trouble. But, Ole Miss combatted that with resolve to avenge a 23-16 third quarter advantage to Kansas with a sublime 21-8 fourth quarter and a 13-3 run to close out the win – the first for the Rebels over a Big 12 team since 2007.
“I thought it was a great game for us,” said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “I was really concerned about Kansas and their experience level, they’re well coached. I knew we would have to disrupt them defensively in order for us to have a chance. I thought that we did that for three quarters, and it ended up paying off for us.”
Ole Miss had to withstand two strong offensive outings from the Jayhawks from Holly Hersgieter (20 points, nine rebounds, three assists) and Aniya Thomas (14 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal), but a tenacious Rebel defense forced the aforementioned 25 turnovers to hold its second consecutive opponent to fewer than 60 points. Five different Rebels recorded a steal, highlighted by four from Johnson herself.