Rebels Welcome Vanderbilt for Thursday Night Game
Jan. 30, 2018
OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss women's basketball will play host to the Vanderbilt Commodores for a Thursday night showdown inside The Pavilion at Ole Miss. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT.
Mt. Rushmore Giveaway: Kimsey O'Neal statue to first 300 fans
Ole Miss Rebels (11-10, 1-7 SEC)
Head Coach: Matt Insell 5th Season at Ole Miss (69-78) 69-78 career record (5th Season)
Vanderbilt Commodores (5-17, 1-7 SEC)
Head Coach: Stephanie White 2nd Season at VU (19-33) 19-33 career record (2nd season)
ON THE AIR
Television/Online: SEC Network + | Play-by-Play: Seth Austin; Color: Lindsay Roy
Radio: 105.1 / 105.5 FM | Play-by-Play: Graham Doty
Audio: RebelVision (OleMissSports.com)
SERIES NOTES (Vanderbilt leads, 31-16)
At Oxford: Ole Miss leads 13-8
At Nashville: Vanderbilt leads 17-3
At Neutral Sites: Vanderbilt leads 6-0
Biggest VU Win: 37 (1/3/95 - at Nashville)
Biggest UM Win: 24 (1/29/85 - at Nashville)
Most UM Points: 85 (2/6/78 - at Nashville)
Most VU Points: 91 (1/3/95 - at Nashville)
Last 10 Meetings: Vanderbilt leads 8-2
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
14.4 PPG (18th SEC); 12.5 PPG in SEC play
4.5 Assists/Game (6th SEC)
1.5 Assist/Turnover Ratio (9th SEC)
34.4 Minutes/Game (4th 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
589 career points (274 this season)
#20 Madinah Muhammad G Junior
17.8 PPG (6th SEC); 17.6 PPG in SEC play
.844 FT% (2nd SEC); would rank fourth in single-season history if season ended today
52 threes made (2.5/game, 3rd SEC)
34.3 minutes/game (5th SEC); 39.0 in SEC play
Has scored in double-digits in 19 of 21 games played
Scored 20-plus seven times
Has scored 30-plus twice (Ole Miss hadn't had a 30-point game since 2015-16 entering the season)
On career-long 10-game double-digit streak
Has played at least 37 minutes in all eight SEC games, including 40 in three games
964 career points; on pace for 1,106 by the end of the regular season
Seven threes at No. 10 Tennessee ranks tied for third most in a single game in Ole Miss history; most ever by a Rebel vs. Tennessee
Seven threes at Tennessee ranks tied for the most in a single game in the SEC this year and leads in conference play
Has had seven assists in four games this year; has 61 total this year, a single-season career high
Has only missed multiple free throws in a game twice this season
Has made five or more free throws seven times this season (season-high 12 vs. Troy)
#55 Promise Taylor F Freshman
Three-time SEC Freshman of the Week
9.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG
SEC's top-ranked freshman in shooting percentage (4th, .613)
Leads SEC in shooting in conference play (.667)
SEC's top-ranked freshman in blocks (2.8/game); 16th nationally
On pace to break single-season record with 80 blocks by the end of the regular season; has 58, record is 67 set by Shawn Goff in 2007-08
.613 shooting percentage would rank as the Ole Miss single-season school record if the season ended today, bypassing Eugenia Conner's .604 from 1983
Has at least three blocks in 12 games and at least four blocks in six games this year
WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Ole Miss has forced double-digit turnovers in each of its last five games, as well as in 19 of 21 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.
When leading at the half, Ole Miss is beating opponents by an average of 19.1 PPG.
Ole Miss has played six nationally-ranked teams this season, all within the top-11 at the time of the game. Combined, they own a current average RPI of 9.2, an average national ranking of 6.5 and a combined record of 94-14 (.870).
The Rebels own the 31st toughest strength of schedule in the NCAA, with past oposition holding a .601 winning percentage (238-158) and future opposition holding a 108-60 record (.643). Ole Miss is ranked No. 100 in the RPI.
LAST TIME OUT (vs. Mississippi State)
Ole Miss won the second half 31-30, but a 19-4 run by No. 2 Mississippi State in the first frame ended up being the difference in a hard-fought 69-49 loss to the Bulldogs at The Pavilion on Jan. 28.
The Rebels were able to out-rebound the defending national runners-up Mississippi State and hold national player of the year candidate Teaira McCowan (six points, 10 rebounds) to single-digit scoring for just the fourth time this season, but State's Victoria Vivians went off for 25 points to keep the Rebels at bay.
Ole Miss was able to receive strong performances out of Madinah Muhammad (16 points) and Promise Taylor (10 points, 13 rebounds), but second-leading scorer Alissa Alston (five points) only played 16 minutes due to foul trouble to hinder the Rebel offensive assault.
Muhammad scored all 16 points in the back half after being held scoreless for nearly two and a half quarters. Muhammad had to put the team on her back with Alston on the bench, playing 39 minutes today -- the ninth straight game she has played at least 37 minutes.
Taylor also had a big second half, scoring six of her 10 points and hauling in nine of her 13 rebounds in the back half. Taylor now has three career double-doubles, and her three blocks inch her closer to the single-season record of 67 set by Shawn Goff in 2008. Taylor currently has 58 with eight games left in the regular season.
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.
Ole Miss has been a dominant force in shot blocking this season, thanks primarily to freshman center Promise Taylor. The Rebels rank 35th in the NCAA in blocks per game (5.0) and 31st in total blocks (104) -- 58 of which come from Taylor, who ranks 14th 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 144 total blocks by season's end, potentially destroying the current single-season record of 129 set in 1982-83.
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 and a 16-point outing vs. No. 2 Mississippi State leaves her with 964 points in her Rebel career. Muhammad has exploded for 373 points through 21 games, a new single-season career-high.
Muhammad is on pace to become one of the top scorers in Ole Miss history, currently on pace for 1,106 by the end of her junior season using her current 17.8 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 minutes 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 97.8 percent of available minutes during that stretch.
Alston, meanwhile, has had two minor breaks due to foul trouble vs. Missouri on Jan. 18 and Mississippi State on Jan. 28. With those two games 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).
Freshman Promise Taylor was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the third time this season on Jan. 23, making her the winningest freshman of the award in Ole Miss women's basketball history.
Taylor has recorded three double-doubles this season and ranks as the SEC's top freshman in shooting (fourth, .613).
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.
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.
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 South Carolina (Jan. 4, L, 88-62)
Defending NCAA Champions
No. 3 Mississippi State (Jan. 11, L, 76-45; L, 69-49)
Defending NCAA runners-up
No. 11 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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