GREENVILLE, N.C. — Shakira Austin scored a career-high 29 points and Ole Miss smothered No. 13-ranked Arkansas with a 69-60 upset in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday night.
Donnetta Johnson scored 12 for Ole Miss, including the Rebels’ final four points.
The 11th-seeded Rebels take on third-seeded and No. 14-ranked Tennessee in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Lady Vols clipped Mississippi 68-67 during the conference season.
The tone of an impending upset was set early as Ole Miss (11-10) led by 10 after a quarter and by five at the half.
Sixth-seeded Arkansas (19-8) trailed 17-7 after the first 10 minutes, its lowest score to open a game this season, and the 28 points by halftime were its fewest scored in a first half since Jan. 1, 2017 (26).
Cold shooting against the Rebels hurt Arkansas, which saw Amber Ramirez, who was coming off a career-high 35 points in the regular season finale, be held to seven points by halftime and 10 for the game.
Ramirez finished 4 of 18 from the field, including 2 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc. The Razorbacks were 7 of 31 from deep, 22 of 68 from the field for 32%. Chelsea Dungee led Arkansas with 22 points and Destiny Slocum added 13.
Austin poured in her 29 on 10-for-16 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds — both setting high-water marks for Ole Miss at the SEC tournament. Austin scored the most points by a Rebel in the tournament since 2009 and had the most rebounds in the event since 2004.
Ole Miss dominated the boards 48-34, including 38 off the defensive glass, ending Arkansas possessions after a single shot. The Razorbacks scored nine second-chance points.
Austin scored seven in the third quarter, in which the Rebels never surrendered their lead, and then scored the first four points of the final period. The Razorbacks were 1 of 6 in the first 5 minutes of the fourth, scoring only on a Ramirez 3-pointer that cut the Ole Miss lead to 57-55. But the Razorbacks finished the final quarter 3 of 17 from the floor with four turnovers.
The Rebels were 6 of 14 shooting with 14 rebounds, 10 on defense, and three blocked shots in the final frame.