Thomas leads Rebels past Alabama 70-56

By Ole Miss Media Relations

OXFORD. – Bianca Thomas scored 25 points and had six rebounds to lead Ole Miss to a 70-56 victory over Alabama Wednesday night from Tad Smith Coliseum.

Kayla Melson scored a career-high 19 points and dished out five assists, while forward LaKendra Phillips pulled down a career-high nine rebounds.

Shantell Black finished with four assists and upped her career total to 448 to move into fifth place on the school’s all-time list, surpassing the 455 helpers recorded by Jackie Martin from 1987-92.

Ericka Russell hit five three-pointers for Alabama and paced the Crimson Tide with 22 points.

Ole Miss (10-5, 1-1 SEC) held a 13-9 lead with just over nine minutes left in the first half and used a 11-0 run over the next two minutes to open up a 24-9 advantage.

The Rebels increased their lead over the final five minutes and took a 17-point edge into halftime.

Melson gave Ole Miss its largest lead of the night at 50-29 with 12:44 left in the second half, but Alabama answered with a 7-0 run to trim the Rebel lead to 14 points.

Alabama (8-7, 0-2 SEC) continued to chip away and would climb within 10 points four different times throughout the second half on the hot shooting of Russell, but the Rebels answered with points each time and never let the lead sink into single digits.

On defense, Ole Miss forced Alabama into 21 turnovers and turned those miscues into 23 points. Melson tallied a game-high four steals, while five other Rebels collected two thefts apiece.

The Rebels have now beaten Alabama in nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.

Ole Miss returns to action Sunday at 2 p.m. when the Rebels host Arkansas from Tad Smith Coliseum.