The Ole Miss Women’s basketball team started off its season on a positive note by defeating Southeastern Louisiana University 81-31 Friday afternoon.
Sophomore Madinah Muhammad, who had 16 points during the game, led the Rebels to victory over the Lions, while fifth-year senior Taylor Manuel and freshman Shelby Gibson followed with 14 points each.
“In my opinion, Madinah was our player of the game today,” Coach Matt Insell said. “She played extremely well especially since she had to play multiple positions due to some injuries, but I’m really happy with her.”
Ole Miss came out fighting with 17 points in the first five minutes of the first quarter and held a great lead over the Southeastern throughout the whole game. Coach Insell was pleased to see the team making their shots especially down on the block.
“Taylor Manuel and Shelby Gibson are very smart players and we know that when we throw that ball to them, we’ll get a basket,” Insell said. “That hasn’t been the case in years past, but today we made a lot of lay-ups.”
As a graduate student, Manuel has adapted well to the team, according to Coach Insell, and he’s excited to see how she plays during the rest of the season.
“Manuel is really talented,” Insell said. “She’s come in here as a fifth year senior, and she’s been able to fit in with our other players extremely well.”
Coach Insell also hopes that freshman Shelby Gibson will be able to learn from her fellow forward and teammate.
“Taylor brings a lot of smartness to the game where Shelby will get to learn from her and that’s just going to help Shelby more and more each and every day,” Insell said.
With 14 points and 6 rebounds in her college game debut, Gibson didn’t surprise her coach or her teammates with her level of play.
“We watch it every day in practice,” Insell said. “She’s been like that since the first day that she’s been here.”
With its first regular season win in the books, Ole Miss will take on Lipscomb on Sunday at 5 p.m. at The Pavilion, but Coach Insell believes there is still a lot of cleaning up to do.
“If we didn’t have anything to clean up at this point in the season, then I’d be scared about that,” Insell said. “Continuing to improve each and every day is important, and I’m happy about how the team played tonight.”