Ole Miss women’s basketball looks for confidence-boosting win against Vandy

Posted on Feb 1 2018 - 7:56am by Caroline McCray

The Vanderbilt Commodores women’s basketball team will travel to Oxford on Thursday to take on the Ole Miss Rebels for the first time since 2016.

This game will mark the 49th meeting in the two teams’ all-time series, which Vanderbilt leads 31-16. The last time the Commodores played in Oxford was Jan. 3, 2016, when the Rebels took home a close win with a final score of 55-52. Vanderbilt has not won in Oxford since the 2013-14 season and totals only eight victories in Oxford.

Coming into Thursday, both Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are trying to bounce back from tough losses at home. The Rebels lost 69-49 to Mississippi State on Sunday, while the Commodores fell to Texas A&M 91-67. Both teams have had slow starts to conference play and currently hold a 1-7 record. Vanderbilt’s sole conference win was against Kentucky, and the Rebels’ came against Florida.

However, there is no lack of talent between these two teams. Vanderbilt had three players score in the double digits during Sunday’s game against the Aggies. Chelsie Hall led the team with 16 points, followed by Kayla Overbeck with 14 and Christa Reed with 13. Reed also led the team defensively with six rebounds.

Hall is having a remarkable freshman season for the Commodores. She is averaging 13.1 points per game and the freshman guard has already scored

Head coach Matt Insell talks with sophomore guard Madinah Muhammad during a game earlier this season. (Photo by: Cameron Brooks)

double figures in 15 games this season.

On the other end of the court, Ole Miss junior Madinah Muhammad continues to lead the Rebels offensively. The 5-foot-8 guard from Chicago is ranked No. 6 in the SEC for points scored per game with an average of 17.8. In addition, Muhammad is also ranked second in the SEC, averaging 2.5 three-pointers per game and having made more than 50 three-point shots this season.

Barely trailing Muhammad is her teammate and fellow guard Alissa Alston. Alston currently averages 14.4 points per game and is ranked No. 7 in the SEC for most assists this season with 85. Alston scored a career high of 27 points in the game against South Alabama earlier this season and will be critical for the Rebels’ success against Vanderbilt.

Getting an early lead against the Commodores will be crucial for the Rebels on Thursday. Ole Miss is 10-1 this season when it is winning at halftime. The only game Ole Miss lost while winning at the half was against Florida on Jan. 21, who it beat later in the year. The Rebels were up 29-26 at half but fell just short and lost 61-60 to the Gators.

Muhammad currently has scored 964 points in her basketball career at Ole Miss – not far from reaching the coveted 1,000 point-mark, which could come with a fantastic outing Thursday. She would be the 29th Rebel to ever reach 1,000 points.

Another important factor for Ole Miss is freshman Promise Taylor, who has 58 blocks this season. The three-time SEC Freshman of the Week is on track to beat the school record for most blocks in a single season, surpassing Shawn Goff, who set the current record during the 2007-08 season with 67 blocks.

A win Thursday night will be the first win for the Rebels since the game against Florida on Feb. 7 and would give the team a much-needed confidence boost. Tip off for the game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at The Pavilion, and the game will be streamed live on SEC Network+.