DULUTH, GA (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) - Jessica Jackson had 21 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season and second against Ole Miss (12-19, 2-14 SEC), but a last-second jumper from the freshman was too strong and the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (19-11, 6-10 SEC) fell 63-62 at the 2014 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament in Duluth, Ga., on Wednesday.
A contested game down the stretch with both sides hitting big baskets late to trade leads, Jackson had a good look on a jumper after a full-court heave and designed play, but it was the Lady Rebels who came out with the victory.
Arkansas held an 11-10 lead by the first media timeout, as Jessica Jackson led all scorers with seven points on 3-for-4 shooting. The freshman also hauled in three rebounds to help on the glass, as the Razorbacks were out-rebounding the Lady Rebels early. The trend continued for the Razorbacks, as Jackson kept scoring in bunches and UA kept rebounding. UA had an 11-to-4 advantage on the board, including four offensive rebounds, while Jackson had four rebounds and 11 points of her own. UA led 21-13 by the 10:34 mark of the first half. The scoring and shooting efficiency became contagious as the first half rolled on, with the team shooting 59 percent collectively (40% 3PT) and five different Razorbacks with at least four points or more. Ole Miss upheld the hot shooting while Arkansas began to cool a bit, which helped the Lady Rebels trim the lead possession-by-possession until it was just a one possession game by halftime. Tia Faleru and Valencia McFarland each had 10 points for UM in the first half.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the early part of the second half, as teams traded leads. UA created a balanced scoring attack after Jackson carried the load in the first half, with five different Razorbacks scoring five points or more and UA holding a 43-42 lead with 11:30 to play. It was a battle for position down low offensively, as UM finished with 44 points in the paint while UA had 36. Jackson collected her second double-double against Ole Miss this season (fifth of the season) with an offensive rebound and putback score to give UA a 48-44 lead with nine minutes left. Bria Pitts came in from off the bench to spark UA late with two 3-pointers that helped extend UA's lead to six points with 7:20 to go. Making three straight 3-pointers and building a 7-2 run late in the second half, UA built a 10-point lead with less than five minutes to play.
Holding an eight-point lead with 3:41 left UA was held over three minutes without a basket, which allowed UM to climb back into the game and take a late lead. The two traded big shots back-and-forth down the final minute of the game, but it was Ole Miss who came out on top after Jackson's last-second jumper from the wing was just too strong and off back rim.