Turmoil continues for the Lady Rebels

Five games into National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Southeastern Conference (SEC) play, Bahamian Yolett “Coach Yo” McPhee-McCuin and the University of Mississippi Lady Rebels are still in search for their first win.

Women’s Basketball Head Coach McPhee-McCuin and the Lady Rebels have a 7-11 win-loss record overall, 0-5 SEC. They play the Auburn Tigers on the road in Auburn, Alabama, at 7 o’clock tonight.

McPhee-McCuin and the Lady Rebels will also be looking for their first road win of the season tonight.

The Tigers are winless in SEC play through five games as well.

The last time these two teams played each other last year January, Auburn won 64-51 on the Rebels’ home floor.

The Rebels’ last win against Auburn was in February 2018 when they won 63-59 at home.

It has been a tough season for the Bahamian Women’s Basketball National Head Coach as she had to release her second-leading scorer and steals leader, Bahamian guard Valerie Nesbitt.

In the Rebels’ last game against the University of Missouri on Sunday, they fell 71-57. Deja Cage scored a team-high 19 points in the loss.

The Rebels got off to a slow start in that game sinking into a 22-6 first-quarter hole.

They went on a 23-1 scoring run at the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter that tied the game up at 33 with 8:28 left in the third quarter.

Unfortunately, McPhee-McCuin’s team ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.

“I thought today we started off slow for whatever reason,” said McPhee-McCuin. “I’m glad that we were able to pick it up and we made a strong push, but we just ran out of gas. What we take from this is that we can’t have starts like this. We have to give ourselves a chance from the beginning. We are just going to continue to fight and continue to push.”

With a 7-11 record, the Bahamian is hopeful.

“We just have to keep fighting,” McPhee-McCuin said. “We have to keep getting better and laying the foundation. I’m not going to let the results of wins and losses define this group. We’ve been through a lot, but we are going to keep working at it. We feel like we’re on track.”

This is McPhee-McCuin’s second season at Ole Miss. She is 16-33 during that time and is looking to build a winning culture. In her seventh season as a NCAA head coach, she has a 110-96 overall record.

McPhee-McCuin is known for transforming the Jacksonville University Lady Dolphins into a winning team, and took them to the NCAA Tournament during the 2015-16 season. They won the Atlantic Sun Conference title that same season, scoring an upset over Florida Gulf Coast University.

In their next game, Auburn’s center Unique Thompson is expected to be a force to reckon with. She is averaging 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games against the Lady Rebels.

After this game, the Rebels will have a tough match-up against the nationally number eight ranked Mississippi State University Bulldogs. They are 16-3 overall and 5-1 in SEC play. The Bulldogs lost in the Elite Eight to the University of Oregon Ducks, 88-84, during last year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The Lady Rebels are 7-1 this season when leading at the intermission. When they trail at the half, they are 0-10.

Ole Miss holds the nation’s 29th-toughest future schedule according the NCAA’s strength of schedule rankings.

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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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