Ole Miss women’s basketball will hit the road to take on the No. 10 University of Tennessee on Thursday night in Knoxville, Tennessee, where the Rebels have not won in 31 years.
Coming off of three consecutive conference losses, the Rebels are looking to make a comeback in the SEC standings. The first step is a win against a tough Volunteers opponent in a historic Thompson–Boling Arena that proves tough for visitors to leave victorious.
With a subpar in-conference record of 1-5, Ole Miss is fighting an uphill battle entering the game against Tennessee, who is 4-2 in conference play. Furthermore, the odds are stacked against the Rebels, simply looking at the all-time series record, which Tennessee leads 44-8.
Last season, Ole Miss was able to snap the longest winning streak in the series at 28 wins for Tennessee. The Rebels claimed this 67-62 win over Tennessee holding Tennessee to just 1-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc on the night.
One way Ole Miss can work toward a victory is by forcing the other team into turnovers. Ole Miss has forced at least 14 turnovers in each of its last four games, as well as in 15 of 19 games played this season. The Rebels have proven successful when forcing 15 or more turnovers and have solidified a strong 10-3 recond in those games this year.
In addition to turnovers, a key factor in Ole Miss’ success throughout 2017/18 has been getting off to a strong start. This early jump has been crucial for the Rebels this year, going 10-1 in games where they hold a lead at halftime.
Despite its conference record, Ole Miss shouldn’t be counted out for the rest of the season. With players like Promise Taylor, who was just named SEC Freshman of the Week for the third time this season, Ole Miss is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Alongside Taylor is junior Madinah Muhammad, who has also been a game-changer for the Rebels as she closes in on 1,000 career points. Not only is she on pace to become one of the top scorers at Ole Miss, but with 326 points over the past 19 games, she has plenty of time to surpass her previous career single-season high of 365, set as a sophomore last year.
After opening the season on a historic 9-1 run, the Rebels have hit a tough stretch of schedule against some of the toughest teams in not only their conference but also the nation. Over the last nine games, the Rebels are 2-7, but that includes four ranked losses to No. 9 Oregon, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 11 Missouri.
Thursday night’s game is only the beginning of a long road of conference matchups for the Rebels. After returning from Knoxville, they will play their long-time rival No. 2 Mississippi State and then Vanderbilt the following week. Head coach Matt Insell will look to set the tone for the remainder of the season with a prominent road victory against the Vols on Thursday night.
Tipoff will be at 6 p.m., and the game will be aired on SEC Network.