January 17, 2011 8:08:00 AM
OXFORD -- Trailing by three with 22 seconds left in overtime, Shae Nelson''s 3-pointer was off the mark as the University of Mississippi women''s basketball team lost to South Carolina 63-58 Sunday.
The loss dropped Ole Miss to 8-8 and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference, while South Carolina improved to 10-8 and 2-3 SEC.
In regulation, with the game tied at 52, Kayla Melson''s runner with three seconds remaining was short to send the game into overtime.
Melson, who entered the game with 995 career points, finished with 21 and became the 24th player in Rebel history to record 1,000 career points.
South Carolina built an 18-6 lead with 10:06 to play before baskets on back-to-back possessions from Melson cut the 18-10 with 8:47 remaining.
The Rebels went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 25-24 with less than 30 seconds to play, but the Gamecocks'' Ieasia Walker hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give South Carolina a 28-24 lead at halftime.
Melson lead Ole Miss at the half with 10 points while Nikki Byrd scored eight and Valencia McFarland added six. The Rebels shot 44 percent from the floor (11 of 25), while the Gamecocks shot 42.3
percent (11 of 26).
A three-point play from McFarland gave Ole Miss its first lead, 33-32, with 13:29 remaining. South Carolina pushed its lead to 47-39 before Ole Miss used an 8-0 run to take a 48-47 lead with 3:38 to play. There were four lead changes and one tie in the final 3:22 of regulation.
McFarland added 15 and five assists, while Pa''Sonna Hope had a team-high five rebounds. The Rebels were outrebounded for the third game in a row, 43-29.
"We are just a step off," Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said. "I''m still proud of the effort and we have to regroup and reload and learn that every possession is critical."
Ole Miss will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at LSU.
n No. 20 Arkansas 57, Alabama 53: At Tuscaloosa, Ala., C''eira Ricketts scored 18 points and Sarah Watkins added 16 as No. 20 Arkansas survived 28 turnovers and defeated Alabama on Sunday Sunday in Coleman Coliseum.
Arkansas (15-2, 3-2 SEC) never trailed, though Alabama tied the score on five times. Watkins gave the Razorbacks the lead for good on two free throws with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left and Keira Peak, who had 11 for Arkansas, hit a 3-pointer with 3:01 to go for a 54-49 lead.
The loss drops the Crimson Tide to 11-7 and 0-5.
"Today was disappointing, no question about it," Alabama coach Wendell Hudson said. "When you get open passes and good shots and you don''t convert, that is the most discouraging thing about the game of basketball. Arkansas turned the ball over 28 times, and down the stretch in the last few minutes we rebounded the ball, we had them taking the shots we wanted them to take, we were forcing turnovers, and we didn''t get a basket out of that. That is discouraging."
Freshman Jasmine Robinson led Alabama with 12 points. Senior Tierney Jenkins and sophomore Celiscia Farmer each had eight points. Jenkins had a game-high seven rebounds.
Arkansas led the entire first half, but Alabama kept close allowing the Razorback lead to not reach more than six until late. During the final three minutes, Arkansas used a 10-3 run, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, for the 32-23 lead at halftime.
Robinson led Alabama in points at the break with eight.
The Crimson Tide cut its nine-point halftime deficit to four with 90 seconds played. Freshman Kaneisha Horn scored all five of Alabama''s points during that stretch.
"We tried to stay positive at halftime, and that worked for us because we came out ready," Horn said. "Coach (Hudson) told us we had to compete more than we did in the first half."
The Razorbacks remained in front by at least two until a pair of free throws by Robinson provided the fifth tie of the game with 7 minutes, 31 seconds to go.
Alabama, which lost its fifth in a row, pulled to within one, despite making only two of its final nine shots. They were only a little less sloppy than Arkansas with 24 turnovers. Shafontaye Myers'' jumper and two free throws cut it to 54-53 with 1:29 left.
Ricketts hit three free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the victory.
"I think there were a lot of times that we had people open at the basket, and we threw it too high," Hudson said. "On the fast break in that stretch I was talking about earlier, how we had opportunity after opportunity, that''s when we were passing it off each other''s feet and throwing it a little bit too high because they were thinking of how open their teammate was."
Alabama shot 40 percent (18 of 45) from the floor, while Arkansas hit 39.1 percent (18 of 46). The Razorbacks had five more 3-pointers and five more rebounds.
Alabama will play host to Georgia at 8 p.m. Thursday (CSS).
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