Ole Miss women fall at home to Florida

By School Report

OXFORD, Miss. – Despite three players in double figures and two with double-doubles, the Ole Miss women’s basketball team fell at home to Florida, 59-55, Thursday night.

With the loss, Ole Miss fell to 10-5 overall (0-1 SEC) while Florida improved to 11-4 overall (1-1 SEC).

Nikki Byrd recorded her 10th double-double of the season and 15th of her career with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Kenyotta Jenkins recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Valencia McFarland recorded 13 points and five assists.

“I am extremely proud of this team and we have really good things happening,” head coach Renee Ladner said. “We are moving forward and moving in the right direction. We played hard and we played together. We still have to make players understand their roles but we left everything on the floor.”

The Rebels opened the game on an 11-2 run with 15:18 to play but the Gators quickly used a 16-2 run of their own to pull ahead 18-13 with under nine minutes remaining. Ole Miss pulled to within one, 20-19, with 6:51 to play on a basket from Nikki Byrd.

At the half, Florida led Ole Miss, 37-28. Valencia McFarland led the Rebels with seven points while Byrd had six points and five rebounds. The Rebels shot 36.4 percent (12-33) from the floor while the Gators shot 46.7 percent (14-30).

In the second half, Ole Miss cut Florida’s lead to four, 46-42, on a layup from Byrd with 11:34 to play.

Florida pushed its lead to nine, 53-44, with 7:31 and the Rebels again cut the lead to four, 53-49, on a three-point play from Byrd.

For the game, Ole Miss shot 38.1 percent from the floor (24-63) while Florida shot 35.6 percent (21-59).

Ole Miss will travel to No. 21 Vanderbilt on Sunday at 2 p.m.