OXFORD, Miss. – Senior Shamka Christon scored a season-high 33 points, but it was too little, too late for the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks as Ole Miss held off second-half rallies for an 84-73 win in the final regular season game of the Southeastern Conference season.
Arkansas, 16-11, dropped to 5-9 in conference play while Ole Miss picked up its seventh league win of the year. The Lady Rebels are 16-12 overall, 7-7 in SEC play.
Ole Miss goes into the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville as the seventh seed.
The Lady’Backs face Mississippi State in the opening game of the tournament. The Lady Bulldogs survived in overtime against Alabama. Tipoff is noon on Thursday, March 4, at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville.
“We made it a run late, but they regrouped,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said.
Arkansas opened the game cold, hitting only 22.6% from the field. Christon had only six first half points as the Lady’Backs struggled but trailed by only five at half, 29-24.
“We got off to a slow start, but both teams seemed sluggish early,” Gardner said.
The Lady Rebels’ Armintie Price had only one field goal and four rebounds in the first half, but the Ole Miss freshman exploded in the second half to score 16 points. She finished the game with 18 to lead four Ole Miss players in double-digits, and pulled down 17 rebounds.
“She dominated the glass in the second half,” Gardner said. “She really wanted this game, but their whole team wanted it.”
Christon’s 27 second-half points broke her own record for points scored in a half for a regular season SEC game. Midway through the second half, Christon had all but three of Arkansas’ points for the period.
For all her scoring, Arkansas was unable to take advantage at crucial times. The Lady’Backs cut the margin to seven, 40-33, as Christon hit one of two from the line. Ole Miss responded with a six-point burst in the next 50 seconds.
Christon brought Arkansas back again, hitting a two-pointer with 5:46 to play to make it an eight-point game, 68-60, but a breakaway layup by Price and a pair of free throws from Carletta Brown gave Ole Miss back a 12-point margin.
The Lady’Backs’ last stand came in the last three minutes with a 5-0 run keyed by steals and layups by Rochelle Vaughn and Kristin Peoples made it a five-point game, 73-68, with 2:15 to play.
Brown was the difference maker again, hitting two layups and a fastbreak layup around Christon’s final three-pointer.
Peoples finished with 17 points for Arkansas along with 10 from senior Shanna Harmon.
Brown had 17 for Ole Miss and 13 assists. Genice Terry scored 13 and Tywanna Inmon 10.