Sports

Nesbitt drops 15 points in Ole Miss conference opener

It was Bahamian Valerie Nesbitt’s first conference game for the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Lady Rebels women’s basketball team and she didn’t disappoint, scoring a side-high 15 points in a 58-51 home loss to the Georgia Bulldogs at the Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi, USA, on Thursday night.

That loss evened the Lady Rebels off at a 7-7 win-loss record on the season and 0-1 in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) play. The Bulldogs are now 10-4 on the season and 1-0 in the SEC.

Nesbitt also grabbed four rebounds and played some hard-nosed defense, finishing with three steals.

The Bahamian is tied for the steals lead in the SEC with 3.2 per contest and is tied for 16th in National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I play in the country. She is tied with Vanderbilt University’s guard Jordyn Cambridge.

One of her steals on Thursday was converted to a transition lay-up on the other end.

Nesbitt, who came to Ole Miss from Chipola College in Marianna, Florida, connected on seven of her 15 shots from the field on Thursday.

The Lady Rebels were in the game right up to the fourth quarter.

Nesbitt made a lay-up with 9:25 remaining in the fourth after her teammate Iyanla Kitchens came up with a steal. That lay-up tied the game at 39.

The Bulldogs went on a 9-0 scoring run with 7:16 remaining in the fourth to take a 53-44 lead. The Bulldogs cruised the rest of the way.

The Lady Rebels opened the game on a 7-0 scoring run, but the Bulldogs scored the game’s next 13 points and the game went back and forth until the Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth.

Ole Miss Head Coach Bahamian Yolett “Coach Yo” McPhee-McCuin said her players stuck to their three keys in the game.

“Tough one tonight,” said McPhee-McCuin. “We had three keys for this game – focus on boxing out and rebounding, play hard and leave everything out on the floor, and have positive touches, positive body language and a united front. I thought that we hit those three keys today.”

Nesbitt’s 15 points represented the ninth time she scored in double digits this season.

The guard has played in 14 games and started in 10 of those for the Lady Rebels. She is averaging 11.9 points per game – the second-most on her team. Nesbitt has 45 steals on the season – tied for 11th in the NCAA.

Nesbitt scored a season-high 20 points against Alcorn State University in November 2019. Her season high in steals of eight was recorded against Louisiana Tech in November 2019.

The junior is averaging 25.1 minutes a game and is shooting 46.1 percent from the field.

It is the rough part of the season for the Lady Rebels as they have to play against some of the toughest women’s basketball programs in the country during this stretch. Nevertheless, McPhee-McCuin said they are up for the challenge.

The Lady Rebels will play the nationally number 11 ranked Texas A&M Aggies on the road, at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, at 7 p.m. this evening. That game is set to be televised on the SEC Network.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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