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Ashlyn Baggett leads McNeese past Ole Miss

Last Modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 8:02 PM

Special to the American Press

NEW ORLEANS — In a career filled with highlight, Ashlyn Baggett hand another Saturday.

Baggett scored a career-high 32 points to lead McNeese State past SEC foe Ole Miss 80-75 in the opening round of the Tulane Double Tree Classic.

The win snapped the Cowgirls three-game losing streak and evened their record at 5-5. It also pushed McNeese into today’s tournament title game against host Tulane (9-2). Tip off is set for 3 p.m.

“This is a great boost for our program,” said McNeese State head coach Brooks Donald Williams. “To beat an SEC team says a lot about our kids and where we are.”

Now, the Cowgirls get their shot at the host team.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” said Donald Williams. “Tulane is a great team, very well coached. They play well. This is another first for us and we are looking forward to the opportunity.”

Baggett, a senior guard, hit on 12 of her 25 shots from the floor, including 5-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line. She also added five rebounds to her resume.

“She took the game over,” said Donald Williams. “We saw this coming. She has had a look in her eye of late. Today, she played with a sense of urgency.”

Two other Cowgirls also scored in double figures with Cecilia Okoye recording her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Twin sister Caitlyn Baggett ended the game with 10 points and six rebounds and dished out a team-high seven assists.

Ole Miss came out in the second half and scored the first six points on consecutive three-pointers by Gracie Frizzell to take a 44-37 lead, but McNeese rallied right back to take the lead and extended it by as much as nine (63-54) with 8:35 left in the game.

Two minutes later, McNeese trailed 68-65 but Ashlyn’s layup cut the lead to one.

Ole Miss’ bench was called for a technical foul on the next play and Caitlyn Baggett made one of two free throws to tie the game at 68. McNeese also gained possession on the technical and Ashlyn Baggett drained a three for a 71-68 Cowgirl lead.

McNeese held as much as a seven point lead with 2:15 left in the game but Ole Miss would take advantage of a few missed free throws by the Cowgirls down the stretch to cut the lead to two (77-75) on another three by Frizzell and a jumper by Courtney Marba.

A free throw by Ashlyn Baggett with :21.1 left and two by Alaina Verdin would seal the victory for the Cowgirls.

Ole Miss jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game before the Cowgirls clawed their way back after going on an 8-2 run to cut the lead Ole Miss lead to 12-10 with 13:15 left in the half. Ole Miss then went on an 8-0 run of its own in the next five minutes and extended their lead to 20-10.

McNeese countered with another run, this time a 18-2 run to take the lead for the first time in the game (28-22). Two free throws by Caitlyn sparked the run, then Ashlyn Baggett hit two three’s during the run before Okoye’s two free throws gave the Cowgirls their first lead of the game.

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