Women’s Basketball Treks to Florida to Begin SEC Play

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2022

OXFORD, Miss. – After having its first two SEC games postponed due to COVID-19, the Rebels are ready to go with their first conference test at Florida, Thursday (Jan. 6) at 5 p.m. CT on SEC Network +. Ole Miss is searching for its first win in Gainesville since 2017.

TEAM FACTS

Ole Miss Rebels (12-1, 0-0 SEC)
Head Coach: Yolett McPhee-McCuin • 4th Season at Ole Miss (43-58) • 137-121 career record (9th Season)

Florida (10-4, 0-1 SEC)
Interim Head Coach: Kelly Rae Finley • 1st Season at Florida (10-4) • 10-4 career record (1st Season)

ON THE AIR

Television/Online: SEC Network +
Play by Play: Kyle Krooks
Analyst: Brittany Davis

OLE MISS RADIO

Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Graham Doty
SERIES NOTES

SERIES HISTORY vs. FLORIDA
The Gators have claimed the last three matchups in the series that dates back to 1979, as UF leads overall 24-19.

The Rebels last defeated the Gators in 2019, 76-66 at the SJB Pavilion. Ole Miss last left Gainesville with a win in 2017 with an 84-75 victory. In the last 10 matchups, Ole Miss has come away with a win four times.

FIRST MEETING

  • 3/08/79 – UM, 101-78 – at Auburn

LAST MEETING

  • 01/24/21 – UF, 79-68 – in Oxford

SCOUTING THE GATORS
The Gators concluded their non-conference slate on a four game winning streak, to close out with a record of 10-3. It was the first time since 2015-16 that the Gators finished with 10 wins through non-conference play.

In its SEC opener against No. 13 Georgia, Florida carried a one point lead heading into the fourth quarter before being outscored 24-19 in the final 10 minutes to fall 73-69.

OUTINGS AGAINST FLORIDA
Austin    10.0 ppg      7.0 rpg    3.0 apg

Reid        9.0 ppg      2.0 rpg    2.3 apg

Johnson  4.0 ppg     5.0 rpg     5.0 apg

Collins    11.0 ppg    2.0 rpg

Kitchens  3.5 ppg     3.0 rpg    0.5 apg

Scott    18.0 ppg      4.0 rpg    2.0 apg

THE REBELS IN SEC OPENERS
After the postponement of its first two SEC games due to COVID-19, the Rebels begin conference play on the road for the first time since 2019.

Ole Miss has dropped its past three SEC openers, with its last win in its first conference game coming in 2017 over Arkansas. The Rebels defeated the Razorbacks 73-64 from the SJB Pavilion.

In its first SEC game on the road, Ole Miss has not started off with a conference road play with a win since a 74-66 win at Auburn in 2007.
LAST TIME OUT
In the finale of the West Palm Beach Invitational, Ole Miss faced its toughest test to date in No. 18 South Florida and came out on top with a 61-53 victory.

It was a balanced attack from the Rebels, with seven contributing five or more points. For the third game this season, Madison Scott led the squad with 12 points. Off the bench, Angel Baker contributed double-digit points for the second game in a row.

After trailing by four in the third quarter, the Rebel offense kicked it into high gear outscoring the Bulls 35-23 in the second half to complete the comeback and secure the win.

STATEMENT. MADE.
Not only did Ole Miss pick up its first ranked win of the season, it also was the first non-conference win over a ranked opponent for the program since 2007.

As one of the country’s hottest teams, the Rebels are one of six teams in the nation to win their last 10 games.

WE’VE GOT AN ANGEL ON OUR SIDE
With a dominant performance at the West Palm Beach Invitational, Angel Baker was named the co-SEC Player of the Week on Dec. 28.

The senior guard was a key piece to the two victories, as Baker averaged 14.5 points per game, shooting 61.5% from the field. In the win over Texas Tech, Baker came off the bench to score a season-high 24 points.

Baker is the first Rebel to earn a weekly SEC nod since Shakira Austin was named the SEC Player of the Week in February of last season.

A DECEMBER TO REMEMBER
As Ole Miss continued its remarkable winning streak, the program’s six wins in the month of December are the most by any Rebel team since 2016.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
Not only are the Rebels one of the best teams in the SEC in terms of taking the ball away from its opponents, they showed that they could take care of the ball on their own against USF.

The nine turnovers surrendered to the Bulls, were the fewest in any game this season by the Rebels.

PICK POCKET PROS
Ole Miss recorded a season-high 17 steals versus Samford on Dec. 17. The Rebels have recorded double-digit steals in nine of 13 games this season.

The Rebels average 11.1 steals per game, second among all SEC teams, and ranking top-30 in the nation.

TAKING AND MAKING

Ole Miss has scored 20-plus points off turnovers in eight of 13 games this season. Over the last four games, the Rebels have scored 16.3 points off turnovers.

PUCKETT IN THE PICTURE
Senior Andeija Puckett’s role in the rotation has steadily increased throughout the season, after missing last season due to injury. At Hofstra on Dec. 11, Puckett put forth 9 points (4-7 fg), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in a season-high 19 minutes of game time. Versus Samford on Dec. 17, Puckett reached double-digits for the first time in her Rebel career, scoring 10 points and adding a season-high 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

365 DEGREES
Ole Miss has enforced rotational basketball all season long. No one player on the Rebels averages more than 25 minutes per game. Minutes leader Shakira Austin averages 24.7 minutes per game played. The most an Ole Miss player has played in a single game is 32 minutes (Madison Scott versus Belmont on Nov. 11, 2021 in the season opener).

Three Rebels average between 20-24.6 minutes per game. Six Rebels average between 14.4-19.3 minutes per game. Five Rebels average between 5.1-10.4 minutes per game. Nine Rebels have played in all 13 games this season.

STAYING HOT
Ole Miss is riding its longest winning streak since 1991 when Ole Miss won 25 games in a row, as the Rebels have won the last 12 straight.

The 12 straight wins ranks third all-time in consecutive victories in program history.

This sets the longest streak of McPhee-McCuin’s career, and her longest at Ole Miss.

WITNESSING HISTORY

Less than halfway into the 2021-22 season, the Rebels continue to rewrite history.

Holding Samford to 48 points set the program record for scoring defense keeping the most opponents under 50 points in a season.

Ole Miss tied the program record against Hofstra, with three other Rebel teams keeping seven opponents under 50. It only took one game later to break that record, keeping its eighth opponent under 50 points.

BLOCK PARTY QUEEN
With her first two of three blocks at Hofstra, Shakira Austin eclipsed the 200 career block mark.

Austin currently ranks second in the SEC and 13th nationally with a total of 204 blocks throughout her four year career.

DEFENSE > OFFENSE
The Rebels continue to slow down their opponents at a record pace, as 13 games into the season Ole Miss has held eight opponents under 50 points for a program record.

Ole Miss currently ranks in the top-10 nationally in scoring defense and first in the SEC, allowing an average of 49.5 points per game.

The pressure on the opposite side of the ball has proven to be too much, as the Rebels rank second in the conference forcing an average of 20.9 turnovers per game.

NOTHING BUT NET

In the first NET Ranking of the season on Dec. 5, Ole Miss debuted as one of the top-50 programs in the nation at 46.

The Rebels continue to climb, hititng a season-low at No. 37 on Dec. 28. As of Jan. 3, the Rebels sit at 39.

With SEC play hitting, the potential of 11 top-50 NET matchups awaits with five top-25 as well.

SHOOTING HER SHOT (PERFECTLY)
Against the Bearcats, Madison Scott’s 8-of-8 mark to finish with 18 points accomplished a new Rebel feat.

Scott became the only player at Ole Miss in the last 20 seasons to shoot 1.000 or better with eight or more attempts in a single game.

RUNNING DEEP
The Rebel bench has been instrumental this season, contributing 20 or more points in 11 games.

WE’VE GOT A FEW ARTISTS

Throughout the season Ole Miss has continued to make its presence known in the paint, scoring an average of 42.9 points in the paint per game.

Ole Miss posted a season-high 46 points on the inside in the win at Cincinnati.

DEZ’S TIME TO SHINE

After making her first five career starts, Destiny Salary showed that she’s not going away with a stellar performance at Cincinnati.

The Tennessee transfer provided a huge impact against the Bearcats with a career-high 15 points and a career-high eight rebounds to lead the Rebels. The sophomore also dished out four assists, her second game with four or more this season.

ROAD TOUGH AND TESTED

With wins at Cal, Cincinnati and Hofstra, Ole Miss began its almost nationwide non-conference tour with a record of 3-0.

This is the first time that the Rebels have begun their time on the road with three wins since 2000.

WE DEFEND

Defense is the name of the Rebel game and for three games in a row against San Diego State, Cal and New Orleans, Ole Miss has held each opponent under 50 points.

The feat was last accomplished by the Rebels in January of 1991 holding Jackson State, Mississippi State and Prairie View A&M under 50 points each.

ALL OUT EFFORT

It was a total team effort from Ole Miss in the win at Cal, with four Rebels scoring in double figures for the first time this season.

Austin led all scorers with 14, followed by Madison Scott and Lashonda Monk with a season-high 12 points while Snudda Collins added 10 in her second double digit performance of the year.

SHE’S STOLEN OUR HEARTS

There’s a reason why Lashonda Monk ranks second in the nation in active career steals with a total of 393.

The graduate transfer has a total of 168so far this season, and recorded a steal in each of the first nine games this season.

MILESTONE WATCH

Lashonda Monk is seven steals away from cracking 400 in her career to become one of 31 in NCAA history to eclipse that mark.

SHUTTING IT DOWN 

From the floor against Cal, Ole Miss held an opposing Power Five opponent to the lowest field goal percentage allowed within the past 10 seasons.

The Bears shot 13-of-56 from the field, hitting 23.2 percent of their shots.

The 19 point win over the Bears was the largest margin of victory against a Power Five team since defeating Wisconsin by 25 points in 2016.

THANKFUL FOR NOVEMBER 

The month of November was good to the Rebels with six wins in their first seven games.

This marked the most wins in the month of November for Ole Miss since totaling six in 2017.

OFF THE LINE

Three-point defense has been a point of emphasis during the Coach Yo era, with 63 of 96 opponents being held to five or fewer.

1st Season (2018-19)

17-of-31 (54.8%)

2nd Season (2019-20)

21-of-30 (70.0%)

3rd Season (2020-21)

14-of-22 (63.6 %)

4th Season (2021-22)

8-of-13 (61.5%)

DEFENSE ON LOCK
The Rebels have been unstoppable on the defensive side of the ball, holding their opponents to an average of 49.5 points per game.

The 44 points allowed to the Lady Techsters was the first time since the 2011-2012 season that Ole Miss has kept its opponents under 50 points in back-to-back games. The Rebels followed this up again, keeping San Diego State and Cal under the mark as well.

The Lady Techsters were also held to just a mere 2 points in the second quarter, the fewest amount of points allowed by the Rebels in a quarter since the women’s game moved to the format in 2015-2016.

SHARING IS CARING
The Rebels continue to drop dimes at a record pace, recording their fifth 20 plus assist game against Samford with 21.

Lashonda Monk tied a career-high with nine against the New Orleans, tying the most in a single-game by a Rebel in 2021.

Against Lamar and MVSU, the Rebels also racked up 24 assists. Against the Devilettes, Reid and Shakira Austin led the team with five a piece, while Austin set a new career-high.

All three outings tied the third most assists in a single game for the Rebels within the last four seasons.

DROPPIN’ DIMES
Only 13 games into the season, the Rebels are on track to make history with five games already with 20 or more assists.

Last season, Ole Miss dished out 20 plus assists in five games, while the program record for the most 20 plus assist games in a single-season is six.

CRASHING THE BOARDS
Powered by Shakira Austin, the Rebels were absolutely dominant on both sides of the boards, outrebounding their opponents by an average of 20.5 rebounds against Lamar and LA Tech.

The last time the Rebels accomplished this feat was in 2008, out rebounding Alcorn State and Nicholls State by 21 and 22 rebounds a piece.

BACK IN BUSINESS
After scoring three field goals through the first two games, Preseason All-SEC center Shakira Austin found herself back in usual form scoring 20 points and adding 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the season against Lamar

Austin followed up her performance with her 29th career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds against the Lady Techsters.

The Virginia native continues to lead the conference in active career boards with a total of 899 and ranks 13th nationally.

HOT HANDS x2
Coming off the bench against MVSU, Lashonda Monk and Caitlin McGee combined to go a perfect 10-of-10 from the field.

Monk dropped a then season-high 11 points, while McGee tied her career-high with a total of 13.

The two are the first Rebels to be perfect from the field with five or more attempts since teammate Madison Scott shot 5-of-5 in the season opener against McNeese last season.

RIGHT ON TARGET
In her second game as a Rebel after transferring from Wright State, Angel Baker put on a show against MVSU with a total of 18 points and shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Baker’s 80% clip from three was the highest by a Rebel with five or more attempts since Shandricka Sessom went 5-of-6 for 83.3 percent against Delaware State in 2017.

Last season Baker knocked down 43 triples, including her career-high of six against Green Bay.

WE’VE GOT A THIEF!
Against the Bruins, Madison Scott was aggressive defensively finishing with a career-high six steals. This marked the most steals by a Rebel in a single-game since November of 2019 when Valerie Nesbit tallied six against Pitt.

Shakira Austin bested this feat against The Pride, with a career-high six steals for the center.

FOCUSED FROM THE LINE
In the season opener against Belmont, the Rebels shot 12-of-13 from the line, their highest percentage with 10 or more attempts since making 15-of-16 against Florida in the SEC Tournament in 2019.

GROCERY LIST COMPLETE
Yolett McPhee-McCuin and Co. made sure to check everything off their list this off-season, scouring the transfer portal to bring in three new Rebel guards to Oxford. Bringing in more NCAA Tournament experience to the court, all three look to make a strong impact on the hardwood.

Angel Baker – Sr.*- Wright State

  • Two-time First-Team All Horizon League.
  • 2021 Horizon League Tournament MVP.
  • Dropped 26 points in the win in First Round of the NCAA Tournament against No. 4 Arkansas.
  • Grabbed 12 boards against the Razorbacks for her second double-double of the year.
  • Drained 43 3’s in 2020-21, shooting 35.2% from beyond the arc.

Lashonda Monk – Gr. –  ECU

  • Two-time AAC Defensive Player of the Year, the first player in conference history to win the award multiple times.
  • Four-time All-AAC honoree.
  • Set the ECU single-season steals record with 125 in 2019-20.
  • Enters the SEC as the active career leader in steals.

Destiny Salary – So. – Tennessee

  • Reached the Second Round of the NCAA  Tournament with the Lady Vols last season.
  • Appeared in 24 games as a freshman.
  • Became one of just 45 Lady Vols to score in double-digits in a debut, logging 10 points against Western Kentucky.
  • No. 57 player and a four-star prospect by ESPN out of Jonesboro High School.

NOT A TYPO
Shakira Austin had herself quite the Tuesday on November 9, earning herself a spot on three national award watchlists by the time lunch rolled around. The center found herself on the Wade Trophy Watch List, The John R. Wooden Award Watch List and the Naismith Watch List as one of the top players in women’s college basketball.

Austin recently also earned a spot on the Lisa Leslie Watch List, awarded to the best center in women’s college basketball at the end of the season.

HIGH RESULTS, HIGH EXPECTATIONS
With all five starters from last season returning, the coaches through SEC recognized the potential of this year’s Rebs, picking them to finish sixth in the SEC in the preseason coaches poll.

Sixth is the highest preseason ranking by the coaches since the SEC Coaches Poll began predicting order of finish in 2007-08, and the best overall since being picked fifth in the 2005-06 media poll.

Ole Miss was also picked to finish eighth in the SEC Preseason Media Poll, its best in that poll since 2015-16.

Austin also earned herself Preseason All-SEC honors in both polls, adding to her collection of preseason acclaim.

POSTSEASON RUN FOR THE REBS
Ole Miss rebounded from an 0-16 SEC season in 2019-20 in demonstrative fashion, putting the SEC on notice with an exciting 2020-21 season that saw the Rebels advance to the WNIT final — the furthest postseason run in program history. Ole Miss ultimately fell to Rice in the title game, 71-58, but still made a lot of noise along the way in head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s fourth season in Oxford.

BRUTAL FINAL STRETCH
Ole Miss came up short of its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007 after putting together a strong resume, particularly down the stretch in February. The Rebels ended with a NET of 43 and a strength of schedule of 82, which included a 4-8 record against the NET Top-50, a 3-6 record against ranked teams and a 5-6 record against current NCAA Tournament teams. Over their last eight games prior to the WNIT, the Rebels were 4-4 against an average NET of 16.8 (only two games at home), and over a brutal stretch of the last five games Ole Miss was 2-3 vs. an average NET of 13.4 (only one game at home).

PROOF OF CONCEPT
A strong turnaround season for Ole Miss was rewarded thusly by the SEC coaches, with three Rebels earning all-conference honors following the conclusion of the regular season: Shakira Austin (First-Team All-SEC), Madison Scott (Freshman of the Year, All-Freshman) and Snudda Collins (All-Freshman). The three total team selections (All-SEC, All-Freshman) are the most by a Rebel squad since 1992, and trail only the 1988 team’s five members and the 1990 team’s four members since the All-Freshman team began in 1987.

OLE MISS EARNS PROGRAM WIN NO. 850
The Rebel win vs. Samford in the First Round of the WNIT marked the 850th win in program history. All-time, Ole Miss is currently 852-583 (.594) in 46 years of NCAA Division I competition. Entering the 2020-21 season, only 44 programs have eclipsed the 850-win threshold.

UP NEXT
The Rebels return back to the SJB Pavilion to begin a three game homestand against No. 7 Tennessee. The showdown against the Lady Vols will air at 12 p.m. CT on SEC Network.