High volume shooting and suffocating defense helped Ole Miss Women’s Basketball steamroll over Mississippi Valley State 94-44 to get their first win of the year after a loss to Belmont last week. The Lady Rebels shot through the roof from the field going 44.4% from the three-point line. Both of those stats are major improvements after the Lady Rebels went 0-5 from the three-point line in their previous matchup. Four players were able to hit double-digits, led by senior guard Angel Baker with a season high 18 points with 7-11 from the FG, 4-5 from the three, eight rebounds and two assists.
The Lady Rebels had a strong showing on defense, out rebounding Mississippi Valley State on the boards 44-28. Leading the charge was senior center Shakira Austin, leading the team with 10 rebounds. Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin (Coach Yo) had her defense causing multiple pass deflections that caused Mississippi Valley State to never get in a consistent rhythm. MVS shot 28.0% from the field and 29% from the three-point line. The Rebels defense came away with 17 steals and forced 21 turnovers.
“It was better to finish off on the win side of the win column so I’m grateful for that today,” Coach Yo said. “I really wanted to see our team be more disciplined, play our style of basketball. I thought that we had a lot of moments when we had those opportunities, and I still think that there’s a lot more we can improve on, but it was good to see Angel score today. It was good to see a lot of people scoring. I’m trying to just figure it out as far as line up and rotations and that’s going to take some time but a lot of good stuff today.”
MVS tried to stay in the fight early in the first quarter, but after committing five fouls, the Rebels converted 5-6 free throws to give them a comfortable 10 point lead. The game was still within reach for MVS but the Rebel offense exploded, coming up with 33 points in the second half. Two runs of 7-0 and 6-0 pushed the lead further for the Rebels. The biggest run of the second quarter was a 14-2 run that spanned for 3:22 in the game.
When they needed momentum, guards Baker and Jacorriah Bracey hit back to back threes at the 8:44 mark and the 8:04 mark. The second quarter was when Ole Miss saw their best shooting percentage of the night, having shot 81.3% from the field goal and 60% from the three point line. Combine that with 80% from the free throw line and the Rebels sat comfortably with a big lead. The Rebels did however hit a wall scoring in the third quarter. The Rebels scored nine points and shot their worst percentage of the evening at 40% from the slot and only 17.8% from the free throw line. The offense needed to help push them back on top and the bench came up huge with 54 points, which was over half of the points on the scoreboard.
“I was excited about everybody else and what everybody does, from Mimi’s (Reid) leadership on the floor all the way to Leah’s coming in and get playing composed,” Coach Yo said. “Try to get everybody in and give everybody some minutes so that they can get the feel of what it’s like. You never know when you need them in and their numbers are going to be called for longer periods of time. I charge them on running our system offensively and defensively and that’s what we’re going to do.”
This was a game that Ole Miss needed to boost their confidence and to get them on the right track for down the road. The Rebels will continue their home stretch on Tuesday, Nov. 16 against Lamar University at 6 p.m. CST at the SJB Pavilion on SEC Network+.