LADY REBS SNATCH 71-68 WIN
By Chris Burrows
STARKVILLE Van Chancellor knew the importance of the game, but he didn’t dare tell his Ole Miss Lady Rebels.
Instead, he spent a timeout in the final three minutes telling “my girls to relax, stay with them and we’d find a way to win.”
That’s exactly what happened as Ole Miss ran off a 12-6 spurt in the final two minutes to snatch a 71-68 victory Wednesday from gritty Mississippi State.
The road win, before 872 in Humphrey Coliseum, lifted Ole Miss to 17-8 overall and 6-4 in the SEC, a crucial number of victories according to Chancellor.
“As far as making the NCAA Tournament, I think this one was a `must’ win for us,” Chancellor said. “Nothing is guaranteed, but I believe that six SEC wins is a must to get in.
“I didn’t want to tell my players before the game. I wanted to do all I could to keep the pressure off of them.”
Instead, it was Mississippi State (13-12, 4-6) that supplied the pressure. Sharon Fanning’s Lady Dogs had first half leads of 9-0, 15-5 and held a 62-59 edge with just more than two minutes remaining. That set up the decisive rally.
“We played hard,” Fanning said. “We had a couple of crucial turnovers and mental mistakes that hurt us late.”
After Ole Miss recaptured the lead at 68-66, freshman guard Christie Sides (17 points) came up the game’s biggest play – stealing the ball from MSU’s Sharon Thompson with 23 seconds left.
Sides was fouled five seconds later and drilled two free throws for an insurmountable four-point lead. MSU got off a potential tying 3-point shot from 25 feet that didn’t come close.
Along with Sides, fellow guard Lisa Miller had 20 points and Yolanda Moore had 17 for the winners. MSU got 17 points apiece from LaToya Graham and LaCharlotte Smith.
“Coach (Chancellor) told us (during the last timeout) that we had to step up and make the plays,” Sides said. “We did it as a team.”