The Ole Miss women’s basketball team’s abysmal 2019-20 season came to an end with a 64-53 loss to Missouri in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
The Rebels finished the season 7-23 on a 17-game losing streak.
Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin — commonly known as Coach Yo — came into her new position as head coach two years ago with an unparalleled energy and quickly made herself one of the most recognizable coaches on campus.Still, that hasn’t translated to the court as her teams have struggled to even come close to competing against power five opponents. The young coach has gone 3-30 against SEC opponents in her two years in Oxford.
This season marks the first time the Rebels have gone winless in the SEC since Ole Miss started competing in women’s basketball in 1974. Matt Insell went 1-15 in 2017-18 in his fifth year at the helm before being fired, making way for McPhee-McCuin.
Despite the discouraging numbers and 17-game skid to finish the season, Coach Yo was still encouraged about the future after a 84-59 loss to Mississippi State in the Pavilion on Sunday.
“I don’t feel anything. I think that this has happened before with a coach so I don’t think this is a new record, you probably want to check that, and they weren’t in year two,” she said after the loss. “I just know where we’re going. We just signed the No. 1 class in the SEC. There’s no secret we have a gang of kids in sweatsuits that are excited about playing and would have made a complete difference.”
Results have been disappointing in the last two years has been hurt by injuries and has the benefit of better talent coming in for the next season.
McPhee-McCuin signed the No. 9 recruiting class in the country for 2020 featuring a five-star duo in Jacorriah Bracey and Madison Scott as well as Snudda Collings and Caitlin McGee. Donetta Johnson, who redshirted this season due to NCAA transfer rules, will join the top class in the SEC.
Sarah Dumitrescu is due to return next season to play a major role after tearing her ACL early in the season.
Athletics Director Keith Carter has demonstrated a willingness to shake things up when things aren’t working with coaching changes in football, softball and volleyball all in his first 100 days in the position, but was quick to confirm he has no intention of firing Coach Yo before next season.
“She came into a really tough situation,” he said. “So we’re excited about where the program was going to go and get some young ladies that are sitting out this year as transfers, and then obviously we have the top recruiting class in the SEC coming in for next year as freshmen. We’re certainly committed to her and in this thing for the long term and look forward to seeing what Coach Yo can do in the future.”
Coach Yo’s position is safe for now, but a failure to produce wins next year could lead to another coaching search for Keith Carter.
“You’ll have to get my end-of-season thoughts probably a week after the season when I have the chance to digest everything,” McPhee-McCuin said. “You may not believe it, but when you’re in a grind, you don’t think about anything. When we were 25-4 I didn’t think about our record. You always think about what’s next.”