Head coach Yolett McCain-McCuin and the Ole Miss Rebels will look to end a three-game losing streak in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup against TCU at 8 p.m. tonight in the Pavilion.
The Rebels are coming off of a 0-3 showing in the 2018 Paradise Jam during Thanksgiving break with loses to No. 2 UConn, Purdue and St. John’s.
The 4-1 TCU Horned Frogs come to Oxford with confidence, finishing 1-1 in the SDSU Thanksgiving Classic in San Diego last week. The Horned Frogs fell to BYU 58-61, but coasted to an 81-64 win over hosts San Diego State.
TCU is an experienced team, returning all five starters from the team that went 23-13 last season and lost to Indiana in the WNIT Semifinals.
Their upperclassmen have delivered so far as they have three players averaging double digit scoring this season in seniors Jordan Moore (15.6), Amy Okonkwo (12.2) and junior Kianna Ray (14.2). The production translates on the defensive end as well as the Horned Frogs rank No. 9 in blocks per game (6.6) and No. 24 in assist/turnover ratio (1.26).
The 3-4 Rebels have largely relied on newcomers so far in this season. Transfers Crystal Allen, La’Karis Salter and Jhileiya Dunlap have accounted for more than half of the team’s points. The Rebels have also had help from freshman point guard Mimi Reid, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week for her performances in wins over Temple and Western Michigan.
Although the results in the Virgin Islands weren’t what the team hoped for, the Rebels have something to build upon after showing toughness against stiff competition.
The Rebels lost 50-90 in game one on Thursday against perennial powerhouse UConn, a team coming off of 10 straight Final Four appearances. The next day, Purdue was able to fight off a late game push to secure a 70-59 win over the Rebels. The closest game of the weekend came on Saturday against St. John’s. The Rebels were down 30-18 at halftime but clawed back into the game with a 20-3 run. The Rebels came up just short in the nail-bitter with a final score of 59-64.
Allen, a senior guard, has been Ole Miss’ most consistent scoring option with double digits in all the Paradise Jam games including a career-high 26 against St. John’s. Allen was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Rebels have outscored their opponents in the fourth quarter of every game this season, but they’ll need a more complete game to challenge a tough TCU team.