RUSTON - Louisiana Tech used a 27-0 second half run to overcome a nine-point deficit to down Ole Miss 88-70 before 2,817 fans at the Tad Smith Coliseum Wednesday night.
Trailing 49-40 at the 17:14 mark of the second half, junior guard Aarica Ray-Boyd ignited the rally, hitting four straight three-pointers on four straight offensive possessions to give the Lady Techsters a 52-49 lead and the momentum.
Ray-Boyd's hot shooting seemed to bring life back into a weary team on both the offensive and defensive ends. The Techsters kept Ole Miss without an offensive bucket for over an eight minute stretch as the Lady Rebels didn't score from the field until ARmintie Price hit a jumper at the 8:41 mark.
"I just told this team that in my 20 years I don't think I've ever been prouder of any group," said Tech head coach Kurt Budke. "What you saw tonight was this basketball team do a lot of growing up. So many of these kids still have to get used to their roles on this team and they did that in the second half. We just beat a very good basketball team on its home court; a basketball team that only lost two home games all of last year."
Ray-Boyd's shooting helped Tech to 10-of-19 from beyond the arc, the fifth most three-pointers made in Techster history.
Tech jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead early on before Ole Miss took the lead at 15-14 on an Amber Watts bucket at the 11:48 mark. Watts scored 18 first half points to help the Lady Rebels to a 38-34 halftime advantage.
Watts and the Lady Rebels consistently hurt Tech inside in the first half as they hit 13-of-15 free throws to build the lead.
"They were really hurting us inside in the first half," Budke said. "If they weren't scoring then they were drawing fouls and getting points at the foul line. I thought Ty Moore's defensive job against Watts in the second half was one of the keys to this game."
Watts was only 1-of-4 from the field in the second half and only made it to the free throw line six times after shooting 11 in the first 20 minutes.
Tech's guard duo of Lakiste Barkus and Tasha Crain were also instrumental in the victory as both players played all 40 minutes of the game. Barkus ended the night with a career-high 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals while Crain scored a career-high 19 points, with seven assists and three blocks.
Tamika Kursh also had a big night for Tech, scoring a career-high 15 points while grabbing five rebounds.
For the game Tech hit 52 percent (28-54) of its shots.
Louisiana Tech will open the home portion of its slate Sunday against Arkansas State at 2 p.m. All area high school students can attend the game free of charge.