Head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin and the Rebels will look for a bounce-back victory against the Temple Owls on Wednesday night. Ole Miss took down the Owls last year with a convincing 64-48 win on the road.
With an almost entirely new team and a head coach in her first season, the Rebels still have a lot of room to grow and improve this season. The game on Wednesday will be a litmus test for the Rebels.
“We’re learning how to win through adversity,” McPhee-McCuin said, following the weekend loss to IUPUI. “In order to win, you can’t just want to win in your heart. You have to be willing to do what it (takes), and IUPUI did what it took to win on the road.”
Temple has started off this season 2-0, most recently beating Saint Joseph’s 58-52 in the first stop of their six-game road trip. The Owls will bring a couple of Preseason second-team All-AAC members, Mia Davis and Alliya Butts, to Oxford. Davis leads the Owls in scoring with 16.5 points per game, while also averaging 8.5 rebounds. Butts has averaged 15 points per game while dishing out a team-high 3.5 assists per game through Temple’s first two contests.
In the Rebels’ showdown with the Owls last year, Shandricka Sessom scored a team-high 23 points to go with eight boards. The senior is coming off a torn ACL this season but seems to be getting back to her scoring ways, as she scored 11 points in the loss to IUPUI. The Rebels will look to lean on Sessom, as well as Crystal Allen, offensively. Allen had 23 points in the game against IUPUI and leads the Rebels in scoring, averaging an impressive 18.5 points this season.
“Crystal (Allen) is a competitor,” McPhee-McCuin said. “She loves to play. She is going to give 100 percent, 100 percent of the time when she is out there.”
Energy and effort on the defensive side of the ball are two things Coach Yo has been preaching to this team in the early stages of the season and two things the Rebels will need to bring in order to knock off this undefeated Temple team. McPhee-McCuin knows it will take time for things to start clicking offensively, as the Rebels are looking to build a sense of cohesiveness.