Jan. 22, 2014
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — Diara Moore has taken a road less traveled to arrive at her senior year at Ole Miss, with many twists and turns, ups and downs along the way.
The Cedar Hills, Texas native has played in three different programs under four different coaching staffs, from the University of Kansas in the Big 12 Conference, to Independence (Kan.) Community College in the junior college ranks, to Ole Miss in the Southeastern Conference, where she has played the last two years.
“It’s been very different to say the least,” Moore said of her college career. “Moving from the Big 12, and then deciding to go to junior college because I didn’t want to sit out a year, and then getting the opportunity to play in the toughest conference in the nation, which is the SEC, so far, it’s been difficult and it’s different, but I’m very blessed when I think about the opportunities that I have been given.”
Even at Ole Miss, Moore has played for two different head coaches in Brett Frank and Matt Insell, which has been another adjustment for her.
“Adjusting to each of the different coaches because they all brought different styles and different plans for the teams has probably been the most challenging thing to do, but I have gotten adjusted to the ones here pretty well,” Moore said.
“It speaks volumes for her character and the person that she is,” said Insell, the Rebels’ first-year head coach. “Diara has had some ups and downs, and she’s had them in different programs. She’s had them here with me. The big thing with her is she just comes to work every day and she brings a winning attitude every day. And if she will do that, then she will have a lot of success in life, and she has started doing that.”
The 5-foot-7 guard has played in 46 games and started 44 games in her two-year Ole Miss career, having grown into the role as a third scorer and defensive stopper for the Rebels. She is third on the team in scoring for the second straight year averaging 10.8 points per game, having averaged 10.2 points per game last year.
Insell also described Moore as the team’s best on-ball defender when she wants to be, and when she competes defensively, she raises the energy of her teammates giving the team a great chance of doing something special.
“Diara is one of these players where you look up at the end of the game and she has 10-12 points, and you really don’t know how she got them, but she got them, and she’s going to do that each game,” Insell said. “She finds a way to do things. The biggest thing that she is to our team is when she’s going defensively, she creates chaos for the other team and helps us get stops time after time.”
One of three seniors on this year’s team, along with Kenyotta Jenkins and Valencia McFarland, Moore looks to leave her mark on the Ole Miss program before she plays her last game in the red and blue.
“I want people to remember this team because this team is very talented,” Moore said. “There are a lot of people out there who still might not believe in us, but we believe in us, and that’s all that matters — us 11 and the coaching staff. This year, with the team and coaches, we can definitely leave our mark in our senior years.”
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller