Rebels Face Another Ranked Foe at No. 17 Georgia
Feb. 3, 2018
ATHENS, Ga. - Ole Miss women's basketball will take on its seventh ranked opponent of the season and sixth in a month at No. 17 Georgia on Sunday afternoon.
SERIES NOTES (Georgia leads, 32-13)
At Oxford: Tied 9-9
At Athens: Georgia leads 17-1
At Neutral Sites: Georgia leads 6-3
Longest UM Streak: 2 (1989-90; 2009-10)
Longest UGA Streak: 6 (1981-87; 1999-2003)
Biggest UM Win: 29 (2/12/94; 2/1/92 - at Oxford)
Biggest UGA Win: 42 (1/16/03 - at Athens)
Most UM Points: 90 (1/22/04 - at Oxford)
Most UGA Points: 96 (1/16/03 - at Athens)
Last 10 Meetings: Georgia leads 6-4
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
15.1 PPG (15th SEC); 14.2 PPG in SEC play
4.3 Assists/Game (7th SEC)
1.5 Assist/Turnover Ratio (8th SEC)
34.6 Minutes/Game (4th SEC)
14 double-digit games
Five 20-point games; career-high 28 vs. Vanderbilt
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
617 career points (302 this season)
#20 Madinah Muhammad G Junior
17.3 PPG (7th SEC); 16.6 PPG in SEC play
.847 FT% (3rd SEC); would rank fourth in single-season history if season ended today
54 threes made (2.5/game, 3rd SEC)
33.8 minutes/game (5th SEC); 37.2 in SEC play
Has scored in double-digits in 19 of 22 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)
Had career-long 10-game double-digit streak from Dec. 19 to Jan. 28
Has played at least 37 minutes in eight SEC games, including 40 in three games
972 career points; on pace for 1,093 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
9.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG
NCAA and SEC's top-ranked freshman in shooting percentage (.610)
Leads SEC in shooting in conference play (.654)
SEC's top-ranked freshman in blocks (2.7/game); 16th nationally
On pace to break single-season record with 78 blocks by the end of the regular season; has 60, record is 67 set by Shawn Goff in 2007-08
.610 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
VS. RANKED COMPETITION
Ole Miss takes on its seventh ranked opponent of the season at No. 17 Georgia 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), at No. 10 Tennessee on Jan. 25 (75-66) and vs. No. 2 Mississippi State on Jan. 28 (69-49). 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).
The previous six ranked teams own a current average RPI of 10.2 and a combined record of 96-16 (.857).
REBS ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY
Ole Miss owns six wins all-time when playing the same day as the Super Bowl. The Rebels were off for the big game last year, but Ole Miss played every Super Bowl Sunday from 1999-2016. Half of those wins came in overtime with wins over LSU on Feb. 7, 2010 (102-101, 3OT), at Arkansas on Feb. 4, 2007 (90-87, OT) and vs. Kentucky on Feb. 1, 2004 (90-88, OT).
WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Ole Miss has forced double-digit turnovers in each of its last six games, as well as in 20 of 22 games played this season. The Rebels have seen success when forcing 15 or more turnovers, going 10-4 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.
Ole Miss has forced at least 14 turnovers in six of its last seven games played.
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.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: 49TH
The Rebels own the 49th toughest strength of schedule in the NCAA, with past oposition holding a .580 winning percentage (250-181) and future opposition holding a 105-47 record (.691).
LAST TIME OUT (vs. Vanderbilt)
Ole Miss ripped off a 12-0 run in the final two minutes of play but was unable to overcome an early lead built by Vanderbilt as the Rebels fell, 75-72, to the Commodores on Feb. 1 inside The Pavilion.
Vanderbilt shot 50 percent from the field in the game and used a 13-3 run in the first quarter to build a 24-11 lead, but Ole Miss scraped back from as many as 22 down for a dramatic, yet unfortunate, finish.
The Rebels played strong in the back half yet again, winning the second half at a wide 48-36 margin -- led by an offensive assault by junior Alissa Alston. Ole Miss closed on a 43-24 run after Vanderbilt reached its highest lead of the night of 22 points at the 4:39 mark of the third quarter (51-29), led almost exclusively by Alston.
The junior native of New Haven, Conn., ended the night with a career-high 28 points -- 19 of which came in the second half (10 in the third quarter, nine in the fourth). Alston shot 8-of-18 overall from the floor, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and a perfect 9-of-9 clip from the free throw line -- her third game this season starting at least 8-of-8 from the charity stripe.
The run to the finish was a wild one, as Ole Miss erased a 17-point lead in just 2:12 with a 12-0 streak to pull within five at 14 seconds remaining. However, the Rebels were unable to get a shot off from the entire length of the court with just a second remaining after a pair of missed Commodore free throws to end the game.
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 -- including five 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 36th in the NCAA in blocks per game (4.9) and 29th in total blocks (107) -- 60 of which come from Taylor, who ranks 14th in total blocks and 16th in blocks per game (2.7). 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 4.9 blocks per game -- are currently on pace for 141 total blocks by season's end, potentially breaking the current single-season record of 129 set in 1982-83.
ALSTON COMING THROUGH
Junior Alissa Alston has proven herself a skilled scorer during her third season as a Rebel, and has become a crucial component to the Ole Miss offense as both the field marshall at point guard and off the dribble.
Alston is coming off a career-high 28-point outing vs. Vanderbilt on Feb. 1, her fifth 20-point game of the season after not recording any during her first two seasons at Ole Miss.
Alston has been in double digits in 14 games played this season, shooting 43.3 from the field and 77.5 from the charity stripe. She has had at least three games where she's started at least 8-of-8 from the free throw line, including a 14-of-16 line vs. Middle Tennessee to help lead the Rebels to the national TV win over the Blue Raiders.
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 NCAA's top freshman in shooting percentage (.610).
ON PACE FOR GREATNESS
Freshman Promise Taylor is on pace to break the single-season blocks record. At her current pace of 2.7 per game, Taylor would have 78 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 with 972 points in her Rebel career. Muhammad has exploded for 381 points through 22 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 1,093 by the end of her junior season using her current 17.3 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).
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. 2/3 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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