Jence Rhoads had 16 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals but Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team blew a 16-point halftime lead and lost 72-67  at Ole Miss in their Southeastern Conference opener Sunday.
A 17-2 Ole Miss run turned an eight-point Commodores’ lead (56-48) into a 65-58 deficit with 2:27 to play.
Rhoads scored the only VU basket during that 5:20 stretch when she made a layup. That briefly put her team back in front, 58-57, after the Lady Rebels had taken the lead for the first time since early in the first half.
Christina Foggie’s 3-pointer ended the run, and Hannah Tuomi’s laup with 53 seconds to go got the Commodores within two, 65-63.
Ole Miss (8-5, 1-0 in the SEC) made five straight free throws in the final minute to thwart the comeback attempt.
Vanderbilt (9-5, 0-1) held the home team without a field goal for 7:11 of the first half and turned a one-point lead into a 15-point advantage, 28-13. Rhoads made a pair of layups in the final 90 seconds of the first half, which pushed the lead to 18 before Ole Miss made a layup.
The Commodores’ halftime edge was 40-24.
Tuomi scored 16 points and tied Rhoads for team-high honors. Jasmine Lister added 15 points and three assists.
Ole Miss’ Kayla Melson led all scorers with 30 points, 24 of them in the second half when she made six of eight field goals and 12 of 13 free throws.