Rebels rolls past Arkansas

OXFORD – Bianca Thomas scored a game-high 26 points and pulled down seven rebounds in leading Ole Miss to an 86-71 victory over Arkansas Sunday afternoon from Tad Smith Coliseum.

It was the 10th time this season and the fourth straight game that Thomas has scored at least 20 points. She is now averaging 23.7 points per game during conference play.

Thomas also upped her total career points to 1,188 to move into 16th place on Ole Miss’ all-time scoring list.

Kayla Melson finished with 12 points and 10 assists for her second double-double of the season, while Elizabeth Robertson added 13 points and seven rebounds.

Shantell Black rounded out the Rebels in double figures with 14 points and five assists, while Nikki Byrd recorded a team-high eight rebounds.

Razorbacks Ashley McCray, Charity Ford and Lyndsay Harris all scored 14 points.

Black gave Ole Miss a 54-41 lead minutes into the second half on a three-pointer from the wing, but Arkansas answered with a 10-2 run to cut the Rebel lead to 56-51 on a jumper from C’eira Ricketts.

Rebel forward LaKendra Phillips stopped the Arkansas run with an old fashioned three-point play to put Ole Miss back up by eight points. Phillips converted a tough layup on the baseline after weaving her way through two defenders before hitting the ensuing free throw.

The Ole Miss lead didn’t last long, however, as Arkansas cut its deficit to just two points with 8:49 to play. After baskets from Ford and Ashley Daniels, Harris hit a deep three-pointers and Ricketts scored on the following play to pull the Razorbacks as close as they had been since the 11:24 mark of the first half.

Thomas scored on back-to-back layups to put the Rebels ahead by six points, and Ole Miss used a 9-2 run thereafter to increase its lead up to 13 points on a jumper from Melson. Ole Miss never let Arkansas get any closer than 10 points over the final five minutes.

Arkansas (8-8, 0-3 SEC) took its largest lead of the game at 13-9 following a three-pointer from Harris with just under 14 minutes in the first half. But Ole Miss used a 26-9 run over the next eight minutes to take a 35-22 lead with 5:32 remaining and never trailed again.

Ole Miss stretched its lead out to 15 points before Arkansas closed the half on a 5-0 run to head into halftime trailing 43-33.

With the win, the Rebels improve to 13-0 all-time against Arkansas inside Tad Smith Coliseum and have won nine of the last 10 against the Razorbacks.

Ole Miss returns to action Jan. 17 when the Rebels welcome No. 11 LSU to Tad Smith Coliseum.

Ole Miss Media Relations