Rebels Set to Host No. 2 Mississippi State
Jan. 26, 2018

The Last Meeting
Ole Miss45
#3 Mississippi State76
January 11, 2018
Starkville, Miss.
Rebels Fall to No. 3/4 Mississippi State, 76-45
Standing 6-foot-7, Mississippi State's Teaira McGowan is a monstrous force on the interior for opponents to deal with, and was too much for Ole Miss to handle in a 76-45 loss to the Bulldogs in Starkville on Thursday night.


OXFORD, Miss.
– After traveling to Starkville earlier this month, the Rebels will now host No. 2 Mississippi State for a national-televised rivalry game on ESPNU on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. inside The Pavilion at Ole Miss.


PROMOTIONS

• Replica Ole Miss jersey giveaway to the first 1,000 fans
• $5 tickets
• We Back Pat
• Junior Madinah Muhammad signing autographs postgame

TEAM FACTS

Ole Miss Rebels (11-9, 1-6 SEC)

Head Coach: Matt Insell • 5th Season at Ole Miss (69-77) • 69-77 career record (5th Season)

No. 2 Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-0, 7-0 SEC)

Head Coach: Vic Schaefer • 6th Season at MSU (145-51) • 145-51 career record (6th season)

ON THE AIR


Television/Online:
ESPNU | Play-by-Play: Roy Philpott; Color: Brooke Weisbrod
Radio:
105.1 / 105.5 FM | Play-by-Play: Graham Doty; Color: Lindsay Roy
Audio:
RebelVision (OleMissSports.com)

SERIES NOTES (Ole Miss leads, 63-31)


At Oxford:
Ole Miss leads 29-12
At Starkville:
Ole Miss leads 25-18
At Neutral Sites:
Ole Miss leads 9-1
Longest UM Streak:
33 (1982-97)
Longest MSU Streak:
8 (2014-Present)
Biggest UM Win:
43 (2/27/85 - at Oxford)
Biggest MSU Win:
31 (1/11/18 - at Starkville)
Most UM Points:
100 (3/4/94 - at Chattanooga)
Most MSU Points:
87 (1/27/02 - at Oxford)
Last 10 Meetings:
MSU leads 8-2

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TEAM NOTES


STORIED RIVALRY

Ole Miss and Mississippi State will resume their intense rivalry, meeting for the 95th time this coming Sunday afternoon on national TV on ESPNU.

The Rebels hold a 63-31 edge in the all-time series, winning 50 of the first 51 matchups from 1975-97. Ole Miss won 33 in a row from Jan. 23, 1982 until Feb. 19, 1997, but the tide has turned maroon since. The Bulldogs have taken 30 of the last 43 contests, including the last eight in a row.

Ole Miss holds a 29-12 lead at home and a 25-18 lead in Starkville, as well as a 9-1 lead in neutral site contests.

Mississippi State took the first meeting of the year in Starkville while ranked No. 3 nationally at 76-45.

VS. RANKED COMPETITION

Ole Miss takes on its sixth ranked opponent of the season in No. 2 Mississippi State after falling at No. 9 Oregon on Dec. 17 (90-46), vs. No. 4 South Carolina on Jan. 4 (88-62), at No. 3 Mississippi State on Jan. 11 (76-45),vs. No. 11 Missouri on Jan. 18 (67-48) and at No. 10 Tennessee on Jan. 25 (75-66). The Rebels own 29 wins all-time against national Top-10 teams, the last coming on Jan. 21, 2016 vs. No. 9 Kentucky (73-65).

That victory was the fourth top-25 win for head coach Matt Insell at Ole Miss, with other top-25 wins coming vs. No. 25 Oregon (Dec. 14, 2016; 83-67), No. 13 Kentucky (Feb. 23, 2015; 67-59) and No. 18 Georgia (Jan. 15, 2015; 55-52).

This will be the fourth all-time matchup against a top-10 Mississippi State team, with all four occurrences coming in the last two seasons.

REBELS MAKING ALL-SEC PUSH

Despite a slow start to SEC season, Rebel juniors Alissa Alston and Madinah Muhammad, as well as freshman Promise Taylor, have put together strong resumes for potential postseason honors.

#25 Alissa Alston • PG • Junior

• 17.9 PPG (15th SEC); 13.6 PPG in SEC play
• 4.7 Assists/Game (T-4th SEC)
• 1.5 Assist/Turnover Ratio (9th SEC)
• 35.4 Minutes/Game (3rd SEC)
• 13 double-digit games
• Four 20-point games; career-high 27 vs. South Alabama
• Has had at least four assists in 11 games
• Has scored in double digits with at least five assists in five games
• Career-high 10 assists vs. Delaware State
• Career-long eight-game double-digit streak from Dec. 9 to Jan. 7
• 584 career points (269 this season)

#20 Madinah Muhammad • G • Junior

• 17.9 PPG (6th SEC); 17.9 PPG in SEC play
• .859 FT% (2nd SEC); would rank third in single-season history if season ended today
• 50 threes made (2.5/game, 3rd SEC)
• 34.1 minutes/game (5th SEC); 39.0 in SEC play
• Has scored in double-digits in 18 of 20 games played
• Scored 20-plus seven times, 30-plus twice
• On career-long nine-game double-digit streak
• Has played at least 37 minutes in all seven SEC games, including 40 in three games
• 948 career points; on pace for 1,109 by the end of the regular season

#55 Promise Taylor • F • Freshman

• Three-time SEC Freshman of the Week
• 9.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG
• SEC’s top-ranked freshman in shooting percentage (4th, .603)
• SEC’s top-ranked freshman in blocks (2.8/game)
• Ranks 16th nationally in blocks
• On pace to break single-season record with 80 blocks by the end of the regular season
• .603 shooting percentage would trail only Eugenia Conner’s .604 from 1983 for the Ole Miss single-season record
• Shooting .643 in SEC play

WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE

Ole Miss has forced at least 14 turnovers in each of its last five games, as well as in 16 of 20 games played this season. The Rebels are very successful when forcing 15 or more turnovers, going 10-3 in such games this year.

In those 10 victories with at least 15 turnovers forced, Ole Miss is winning by an average of 19.7 PPG.

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WIN

Getting off to a good start has been crucial for the Rebels this season, going 10-1 overall when holding a halftime lead -- with the first loss with a halftime lead coming just this past Sunday at Florida.

When leading at the half, Ole Miss is beating opponents by an average of 19.1 PPG.

TOUGH STRETCH

After opening the season on a historic 9-1 run, the Rebels have run into a brutal stretch of schedule against some of the toughest teams in the nation. Over the last 10 games, the Rebels are 2-8, but that includes five ranked losses in the last seven games to to No. 9 Oregon, No. 4 South Carolina, No. 3 Mississippi State, No. 11 Missouri and No. 10 Tennessee. Combined, those 10 opponents are 115-46 (.714), with those five ranked opponents a combined 74-9 (.892).

After Sunday, Ole Miss will have played six nationally-ranked teams this season, all within the top-12. Combined, they own a current average RPI of 10.2, an average national ranking of 6.5 and a combined record of 90-12 (.882).

Ole Miss ranks in or near the top-100 in strength of schedule (47) and RPI (101).

LAST TIME OUT (at No. 10 Tennessee)

Ole Miss had the 10th-ranked Lady Vols on the ropes for much of the game, but Tennessee pulled away late despite a valiant effort by the Rebels in a 75-66 loss at Thompson-Boling Arena on Jan. 25.

The Rebels were paced by a mesmerizing career-night by junior Madinah Muhammad (31 points, eight rebounds, 7-of-10 3PT), but the Lady Vols held her to just nine second-half points.

Ole Miss, led by Muhammad, ripped off an explosive 14-0 run to close the second quarter and pull within two at halftime at 40-38. The Rebel defense played their part, holding the Lady Vols scoreless over the last 6:10 to play in the half, leaving room for Muhammad’s offensive showcase.

Muhammad owned 12 of those 14 points during the run, including four straight treys. Muhammad ended the night with a career-high 31 points and seven total three-pointers, tied for the third-most in a single-game in Ole Miss history.

Ole Miss kept the pedal down, tying the game at 49-49 on an Alissa Alston (19 points, four assists, four rebounds) layup with 2:54 to play in the third, but Tennessee responded by breaking another five-plus minute scoring drought with a 6-0 run for some breathing room - ending the third quarter at 57-51.

The Rebels closed on an 11-1 run over the final two minutes of play, but Tennessee stretched to a 19-point lead with 2:32 left that provided enough cushion for the late Rebel charge.

VALUABLE EXPERIENCE

The silver lining to losing someone as valuable as Shandricka Sessom so early in the season is that plenty of Rebels are gaining valuable starting experience early in their careers. Of the 11 active Rebels on the roster, 10 have started a game for Ole Miss this season -- five of whom are underclassmen. Ole Miss has used nine different starting lineup combinations this season, with the most frequent one also being the most recent: Alissa Alston, Madinah Muhammad, Chyna Nixon, Bree Glover and Shelby Gibson.

BLOCK PARTY

Ole Miss has been a dominant force in shot blocking this season, thanks primarily to freshman center Promise Taylor. The Rebels rank 31st in the NCAA in blocks per game (5.0) and 27th in total blocks (100) -- 55 of which come from Taylor, who ranks 13th in total blocks and 16th in blocks per game (2.8). The Rebels have blocked at least five shots in 10 games this year and at least four in 16 contests.

Because of the surge in blocked shots, the Rebels -- at 5.0 blocks per game -- are currently on pace for 145 total blocks by season’s end, potentially destroying the current single-season record of 129 set in 1982-83.

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INDIVIDUAL NOTES


FRESHMAN PHENOM

Freshman Promise Taylor was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the third time this season, making her the winningest freshman of the award in Ole Miss women’s basketball history.

Taylor has recorded two double-doubles this season and ranks as the SEC’s top freshman in shooting (fourth, .603).

ON PACE FOR GREATNESS

Freshman Promise Taylor is on pace to break the single-season blocks record. At her current pace of 2.8 per game, Taylor would have 80 total blocks by season’s end -- passing the previous record of 67 set by Shawn Goff in 2007-08.

MUHAMMAD CLOSING IN ON 1,000

Junior Madinah Muhammad is closing in on history after an incredible career-high 31-point night at No. 10 Tennessee leaves her with 948 points in her Rebel career. Muhammad has exploded for 357 points through 20 games, giving her plenty of time to pass by her previous career single-season high of 365 set as a sophomore last year.

Muhammad is on pace to become one of the top scorers in Ole Miss history, currently on pace for 1,109 by the end of her junior season using her current 17.9 PPG average. If she does, she will become the 29th Rebel to ever eclipse the 1,000-point threshold. She would also become the second junior in as many seasons to pass the milestone (senior Shandricka Sessom did so in 2016-17), and the third in the last six seasons (Valencia McFarland, 2012-13).

GETTING THOSE MINUTES

They not only lead the Rebels in scoring, but juniors Madinah Muhammad and Alissa Alston have seen an extraordinary amount of court time in the past few games as well. 

Muhammad has played at least 37 in every SEC game this season and every game overall going back to the non-conference finale vs. Texas Southern at home on Dec. 28, eclipsing 40 minutes played in four games since. Since then, Muhammad has played 39.1 minutes per game, which constitutes as 94.8 percent of available minutes during that stretch.

Alston, meanwhile, has had one minor break due to foul trouble vs. Missouri on Jan. 18. With that game taken out, Alston has played at least 38 minutes a game going back to the SEC opener at Arkansas -- or, 97.6 percent of all available minutes in those six games. In a double-overtime game vs. Florida on Jan. 7 that had 50 available minutes, Alston played in 49 of them -- hitting the game-tying layup in single-overtime to force a second OT.

The duo played 95 percent of all Rebel minutes in four games from Dec. 31 to Jan. 11 (170 total minutes), with Alston playing 167 minutes (98.2 percent) and Muhammad 156 minutes (91.8 percent).

Both rank in the top-three of minutes played in SEC play, with Muhammad ranking second with 39.0 and Alston third with 38.6.

HEARTBREAKING LOSS

Senior and Preseason Second-Team All-SEC member Shandricka Sessom tore her ACL during the closing minutes of the first quarter vs. Middle Tennessee on Nov. 29, ending her season. Sessom, who was averaging 17.7 PPG, will redshirt and return in 2018-19.

Sessom currently ranks as the 24th-best scorer in Ole Miss history with 1,131 career points scored.

TOURNAMENT TEAMS ON THE DOCKET

Ole Miss plays 12 schools in 2017-18 that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17. The Rebels came out victorious against the first, Troy (96-93), and won at Temple, 64-48, before losing at No. 9 Oregon on Dec. 17, vs. No. 4/5 South Carolina on Jan. 4, at No. 3/4 Mississippi State on Jan. 11 and vs. No. 11/12 Missouri on Jan. 18.

Troy (Nov. 21, W, 96-93)

1st Round, lost to runner-up Mississippi St.

Temple (Nov. 25, W, 64-48)

1st Round, lost to Oregon

No. 9 Oregon (Dec. 17, L, 90-46)

Elite Eight, lost to UConn

Texas Southern (Dec. 28, W, 73-58)

1st Round, lost to Baylor

No. 3/4 South Carolina (Jan. 4, L, 88-62)

Defending NCAA Champions

No. 3/4 Mississippi State (Jan. 11, L, 76-45; Jan. 28)

Defending NCAA runners-up

No. 11/12 Missouri (Jan. 18, L, 67-48)

2nd Round, lost to Florida State

No. 10 Tennessee (Jan. 25, L, 75-66)

2nd Round, lost to Louisville

Texas A&M (Feb. 8, in College Station)

2nd Round, lost to UCLA

LSU (Feb. 15, in Baton Rouge)

1st Round, lost to Cal

Kentucky (Feb. 22, at home)

2nd Round, lost to Ohio State

Auburn (Feb. 25, in Auburn)

1st Round, lost to NC State

Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB on Instagram at Ole MissWBB and on Snapchat with the handle @OleMissWBB. Fans can also follow Ole Miss women's basketball head coach Matt Insell on Twitter at @minsell.


 

 

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