January 14, 2019 9:48:04 AM
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Crystal Allen had 26 of her 28 points in the second half Sunday to lead the Ole Miss women's basketball team to a 55-49 victory against No. 16 Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference game at Memorial Coliseum.
La'Karis Salter added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Ole Miss (7-11, 1-3 SEC), which gave coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin her first career SEC win.
The win was Ole Miss' first at Kentucky since 2007 (Jan. 14, 2007; 67-65, OT) and their first ranked win on the road since 2011 (at No. 23 Arkansas, Jan. 23, 2011; 69-65).
Freshman Rhyne Howard led Kentucky (15-3, 2-2) with 20 points. The Wildcats played without leading scorer and senior guard Maci Morris, who was a last-minute scratch due to illness. Senior point guard Taylor Murray played 35 minutes after suffering a bruised left knee on a hard foul late in the second quarter Thursday at Tennessee. She missed all eight of her shots and had two points.
Ole Miss outscored the Wildcats 23-13 in the fourth quarter, taking the lead for good with a 6-0 run, capped by Salter's tip-in that made it 48-44 with 2 minutes, 3 seconds to play. Kentucky made two of its last 10 shots from the field and went 5-for-17 with four turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"I'm really happy for the team," McPhee-McCuin said. "My message to them after the LSU game was: ladies, there will come a time, and I don't know if it will be Sunday, where we will beat the team that nobody expects us to beat. In order to do that, we will need everybody. And as the game was going on, in the huddles I kept saying there will come a time. And today was our time."
Ole Miss forced 19 turnovers and held Kentucky to 17-for-64 shooting (26.6 percent) from the field.
"Kentucky is a great team," McPhee-McCuin said. "I don't think one game in the SEC should sway your thoughts when they beat Tennessee. This is the SEC. You have to come to play every night. It just happened to be our night. I am extremely proud of my team."
Salter had eight of her points in the first half. She finished with her second career double-double. She also had three assists, three blocked shots, and three steals
Allen took over in the second half to record her seventh 20-point game this season.
"Crystal and I have had a lot of conversations lately," McPhee-McCuin said. "We really had a heart-to-heart after the LSU game. I just really thought she was overthinking things and she was not being herself. I said sweetheart, now your character is being tested. Now we are in the storm."
The Rebels took the lead 42-41 with 5 minutes, 42 seconds to play on a 3-pointer by Allen. She gave the Rebels the lead for good at the 3:12 mark on a pair of free throws to make it 46-44. Kentucky turned it into a foul fest in the final minutes, but Ole Miss shot 50 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and hit 92.3 percent of its free throws. Allen was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
"We weren't afraid of coming in and playing someone that was ranked," McPhee-McCuin said. "That is what is good about a young team."
Ole Miss will play host to Florida at 3 p.m. Sunday at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
n Texas A&M 70, Alabama 43: At College Station, Texas, Ciera Johnson had a game-high 18 points to lead three players in double figures Sunday in the Aggies' home victory against the Crimson Tide at Reed Arena.
Shambria Washington had 14 points and Chennedy Carter had 11 for Texas A&M (13-4, 2-2).
Cierra Johnson had eight points to lead Alabama (9-8, 1-3). The Crimson Tide shot 17-for-63 (27 percent) from the field.
Texas A&M jumped out to a 15-6 first quarter lead and never looked back. The Aggies held the 31-17 advantage at halftime. They led in double figures for the majority of the second half.
In the third quarter, freshman De'Sha Benjamin cut the Texas A&M lead to nine when she finished the old-fashioned three-point play with four minutes to go. The Aggies responded by finishing the third frame on a 13-0 run to go up 53-31 heading to the final quarter.
Alabama will play host to Tennessee at 8 p.m. Thursday (SEC Network) at Coleman Coliseum.