August 02, 2020

Ole Miss outlasts Black Bears 64-50

Women’s College Basketball

ORONO – There are two ways to look at the last-second 3-pointer made by Mississippi point guard Diane Pimpton, which ended the first half of Sunday’s Maine Tip-Off Classic finale against the host University of Maine Black Bears at the Alfond Arena.

According to Rebels Coach Van Chancellor, Pimpton’s hoop, which gave Ole Miss a three-point edge heading into the locker rooms, “saved the team from a real good butt-chewing.”

In the end, however, it was this same shot – from the right wing, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net – which took the momentum away from the young Black Bears, gave it to an equally inexperienced Ole Miss team, and carried the nationally ranked Lady Rebels to a 64-50 victory.

The win gave Ole Miss, ranked 12th in the nation, a perfect 2-0 start to the season. Maine, which went 0-2 in the Tip-Off Classic, fell to 0-3 overall.

“I thought Maine was a very scrappy basketball team,” Chancellor said. “Gosh, they just never quit. They played hard, really hard. They just couldn’t get the ball to go into the basket when they needed it and we just happened to have a little more athletic abilty.”

Coach Joanne Palombo’s Maine team, sparked by the play of freshman Stacia Rustad off the bench, looked impressive early, rebounding from a quick 6-2 deficit to take a 14-6 lead with 12:25 left.

Rustad (10 points) capped off the 12-0 Maine run by sandwiching a 12-foot jumper and a 3-pointer from the wing around a hoop by teammate Erin Grealy.

Ole Miss crept back into the game, chipping away at the lead over the next 10 minutes. Back-to-back buckets by center Susan Byrd (4-for-4 shooting, five rebounds, four blocks) closed the gap to 23-20 before the Rebels allowed their defense to take over.

Yolanda Moore caused a turnover, leading to Pimpton’s first of two 3-pointers. The hoop tied the game 23-23 with 1:03 left.

Maine’s Seana Dionne and Ole Miss’s Kacy Williams swapped buckets before, following a miss by Maine’s Stephanie Guidi, Pimpton’s second 3-pointer gave the Rebels the lead for good.

“The clock was running down and I just shot the ball,” said Pimpton, who finished with six points and six assists in 38 minutes of action. “I thought I was open and I thought I could make it. Both shots fell.”

“I thought it brought us back to reality and we realized we were playing against top-notch competition,” said Maine point guard Chrissy Strong. “There we were, up by nine, and we may have gotten a little lax on defense. We realized we had to go out and play tough against them.”

Mississippi pulled away in the early moments of the second half, when first-team All-American and tournament MVP Clara Jackson scored 10 of her game-high 22 points amid a 20-7 run which gave the Rebels a 48-32 lead with 10 minutes left.

Maine cut that lead to 10 with senior Heather Briggs (team-high 15 points) scoring two hoops and freshman forward Catherine Gallant (10 points, nine rebounds) sinking two free throws, but the Rebels answered with six straight points to offset the run.

“I was very proud of our defense,” said Palombo. “We had a goal of keeping Ole Miss below 65 points. We achieved that goal. Just barely, but we got it. That’s a very good accomplishment, considering the caliber of players we were playing against.”

Rebels 64, Black Bears 50

(Sunday’s game)

Mississippi Maine women


Byrd 4 4 0 0 8 Strong 5 1 0 0 2

Pimpton 6 2 1 0 6 Grealy 7 3 2 1 7

Manuel 10 5 1 1 11 Gallant 8 3 6 4 10

Jackson 16 11 0 0 22 Briggs 15 6 4 2 15

Goehring 5 1 2 2 4 Buetow 7 1 0 0 2

N.Williams 1 0 0 0 0 Towle 0 0 0 0 0

K.Williams 4 1 0 0 2 Rustad 7 3 5 3 10

McNair 4 2 2 1 5 Philbrick 1 0 0 0 0

Moore 9 2 2 2 6 Dionne 0 0 2 2 2

Sullivan 0 0 2 2 2

Guidi 2 0 0 0 0

Totals 59 28 8 6 64 Totals 52 17 21 14 50

Mississippi 28 64

Maine 25 50

3-pt. goals: Mississippi (2-6): Pimpton 2-3, N.Williams 0-1, K.Williams 0-1, Manuel 0-1; Maine (2-5): Briggs 1-4, Rustad 1-1.

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