OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss couldn't stop Tennessee Thursday night.
Mother Nature was a different story.
Inclement weather helped to create an unusual ending to the Lady Vols' 66-39 SEC women's basketball victory over the Rebels.
The game was stopped with 5 minutes, 24 seconds remaining when heavy rains began seeping through the Tad Smith Coliseum roof. Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner said that wind was the problem. A new roof was put on the coliseum last year.
"(The rain) was blowing up under the ventilation system,'' she said.
A large wastebasket was placed on the floor just over center court in front of Tennessee's bench. It was flanked by multiple towels.
There was a 20-minute delay and game officials checked with the conference office before the decision to end the game prematurely.
"When we have a wet floor we're not going to play on it,'' UT coach Pat Summitt said. "We have to protect our student-athletes. Renee and I both agreed on that."
The Lady Vols are getting used to unusual circumstances. A 66-42 victory over Georgia Tech at the Paradise Jam on Nov. 26 was interrupted several times by power outages.
"Something about this year,'' UT forward Vicki Baugh said. "We have fun dancing while we're waiting. We're used to it."
Glory Johnson led No. 4 Tennessee (27-2, 15-0 SEC) with 18 points and nine rebounds. Baugh matched her SEC high with 12 points. Alicia Manning scored 11 and Shekinna Stricklen had 10.
Despite playing without center Kelley Cain, who didn't make the trip because of a sore right hip, UT outrebounded the Rebels 43-15.
Valencia McFarland scored 14 for Ole Miss (10-17, 3-12).
Johnson tried to dunk on a second-half breakaway but lost control of the basketball going up and ended up grabbing the rim instead.
"I still thought I was going to have it,'' Johnson said. "My teammates had my back with the rebound. So I will pretend we just wanted to get a few more offensive rebounds."
Manning salvaged the play with a rebound basket.
Baugh said that Johnson was doomed by her takeoff.
"She jumped from the free-throw line,'' Baugh said. "Just a little soon."
One game after clinching the SEC regular-season championship, Tennessee didn't seem to be lacking for motivation at the outset.
A businesslike approach was evident during an early timeout when Baugh spoke to the team in its huddle before the coaches.
It was apparent on the court as well as the starters set the tone and the Lady Vols quickly bolted to a double-figure lead. The reserves then had their say. Baugh showed off her jumper, hitting a 16-footer and a pull-up shot off the dribble.
Kamiko Williams and Johnson played a hoops version of volleyball with Johnson rebounding Williams miss off the glass and scoring for a 31-7 lead.
Ole Miss looked especially overmatched without leading scorer Kayla Melson, who missed her sixth consecutive game with a concussion. The Rebels also were missing forward Pa'Sonna Hope, the team's leading rebounder.
Despite falling behind twice by 24 points before halftime, Ole Miss kept Tennessee in sight thanks to an aggressive zone defense and 15 Lady Vols turnovers.
A flurry of 3-pointers pulled the Rebels within 49-35 early in the second half but they couldn't sustain the scoring.
Tennessee returns home to plays LSU Sunday with a chance to complete its first undefeated conference regular season since 2007.
"Let's just hope we get home tonight,'' Summitt said.
Bjorklund Honored: UT's Angie Bjorklund has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America second team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Bjorklund is a repeat honoree. She made the first team last season.