Rebels Head Down to LSU
Feb. 13, 2018
BATON ROUGE, La. – Ole Miss women’s basketball returns to the road for a showdown in the bayou at LSU, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. CT on SEC Network + on Thursday night.
Ole Miss Rebels (11-14, 1-11 SEC)
Head Coach: Matt Insell • 5th Season at Ole Miss (69-82) • 69-82 career record (5th Season)
LSU Lady Tigers (16-7, 8-4 SEC)
Head Coach: Nikki Fargas • 7th Season at LSU (129-90) • 201-116 career record (10th season)
ON THE AIR
Television/Online: SEC Network + | Play-by-Play: Lyn Rollins; Color: Victor Howell
Radio: 105.1 / 105.5 FM | Play-by-Play: Graham Doty; Color: Lindsay Roy
Audio: RebelVision (OleMissSports.com)
SERIES NOTES (LSU leads, 34-22)
At Oxford: Tied 13-13
At Baton Rouge: LSU leads 15-9
At Neutral Sites: LSU leads 6-0
Longest UM Streak: 6 (1990-95)
Longest LSU Streak: 11 (2000-06)
Biggest UM Win: 33 (3/6/93 - at Oxford)
Biggest LSU Win: 44 (3/7/08 - at Nashville)
Most UM Points: 98 (1/15/83 - at Oxford)
Most LSU Points: 91 (3/3/06; 2/12/83)
Last 10 Meetings: LSU leads 9-1
Ole Miss was on fire from three vs. Alabama, continuing a recent string of success from beyond the arc.
The Rebels sank 15 threes against the Crimson Tide, tying a season-high (Ole Miss also hit 15 vs. Delaware State), which also registers as the third-most in a single-game in school history. Of those 15, a season-high 11 of those came in a blistering first-half.
In the last 11 games, Ole Miss has drained at least eight threes in seven contests -- including doing so in three of the last four games. Ole Miss ranks sixth in the SEC with 6.7 threes made per game, which improves to fourth in conference play with 7.0 per game.
Ole Miss has been a dominant force in shot blocking this season, thanks primarily to freshman center Promise Taylor. The Rebels rank 33rd in the NCAA in blocks per game (4.9) and 27th in total blocks (123) -- 71 of which come from Taylor, who ranks 12th in total blocks and 14th in blocks per game (2.8). No game was this more present than at No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 8, where the Rebels blocked 13 shots -- the most in a single-game in Ole Miss history and tied for the most by an SEC team this season. The Rebels have blocked at least five shots in 11 games this year and at least four in 17 contests.
Because of the surge in blocked shots, the Rebels -- at 4.9 blocks per game -- are currently on pace for 142 total blocks by season’s end, potentially breaking the current single-season record of 129 set in 1982-83.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: 37
Ole Miss owns the 37th toughest strength of schedule in the NCAA, with past opposition holding a .589 winning percentage (336-234) and future opposition holding a 60-36 record (.625).
REBELS MAKING ALL-SEC PUSH
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 (16th SEC); 14.5 PPG in SEC play
• 4.5 Assists/Game (5th SEC)
• 1.4 Assist/Turnover Ratio (11th SEC)
• 35.1 Minutes/Game (3rd SEC)
• 17 double-digit games
• Five 20-point games; career-high 28 vs. Vanderbilt
• Has had at least four assists in 14 games
• Has scored in double digits with at least five assists in seven games
• Career-high 10 assists vs. Delaware State
• Career-long eight-game double-digit streak from Dec. 9 to Jan. 7
• At least 17 points in five of her last seven games
• 663 career points (348 this season)
#20 Madinah Muhammad • G • Junior
• 17.0 PPG (8th SEC); 16.0 PPG in SEC play
• .830 FT% (6th SEC)
• 57 threes made (2.5/game, 3rd SEC)
• 33.7 minutes/game (7th SEC); 36.7 in SEC play
• Has scored in double-digits in 20 of 23 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
• 983 career points
• 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
• Has had seven assists in four games this year; has 64 total this year, a single- season career high
• Has only missed multiple free throws in a game three times 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
• 9.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG
• SEC’s top-ranked freshman in shooting percentage (.601)
• 3rd in shooting in conference play (.623)
• SEC’s top-ranked freshman in blocks (2.8/game); 14th nationally
• Broke the single-season blocks record of 67 set by Shawn Goff in 2008. Currently has 71 on the year and is on pace to finish with 82.
• Set the single-game blocks record at No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 8 with 10, breaking the 1993-94 record of seven by Susan Byrd.
• Her 10 blocks vs. Texas A&M rank as the most in the SEC this year and tied for the third most in a game this season.
• .601 shooting percentage would rank as the second-best in Ole Miss history behind Eugenia Conner’s .604 from 1983
• Four double-doubles; nearly had a triple- double at Texas A&M with 14 points, eight rebounds and 10 blocks
• Has at least three blocks in 13 games and at least four blocks in seven games this year
WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Ole Miss has forced double-digit turnovers in each of its last eight games, as well as in 23 of 25 games played this season. The Rebels have seen success when forcing 15 or more turnovers, going 10-5 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 eight of its last 10 games played.
EARLY BIRD GETS THE WIN
Getting off to a good start has been crucial for the Rebels this season, going 10-3 overall when holding a halftime lead.
When leading at the half and ending up winning the game, Ole Miss is beating opponents by an average of 19.1 PPG.
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 10 different starting lineup combinations this season.
AIR IT OUT, TORRI!
She hit 10 threes vs. New Orleans as a freshman in 2015 (the third-most in NCAA history in a single-game), and junior Torri Lewis found that hot-stroke again vs. Alabama on Feb. 11.
Lewis nailed seven treys -- tied for the most by an individual in the SEC this season -- to help lead Ole Miss to a season-high 15 threes. In her last four games she has gone 16-of-32 from three, hitting at least four three-pointers in three of this games. She has hit multiple threes in 10 games this year, with 39 of her 42 total field goals this season coming from three.
PROMISE MAKES HISTORY
It’s been an incredible first season for freshman Promise Taylor, but she outdid herself with an electrifying performance at No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 8 that will stand in the record book for some time.
Needing just six blocks to tie the 2008 single-season blocks record of 67 set by Shawn Goff (and entering the game averaging 2.7 a game), Taylor exploded for 10 blocks to break not only the single- season record, but she went on to break the 1993-94 single-game record of seven set by Susan Byrd.
Taylor’s night ranks as the top shot- blocking performance of the season in the SEC, as well as the third-best in the NCAA this year. Taylor is the conference’s top freshman shot blocker, ranking third at 2.8 per game (which also ranks her 14th in the NCAA).
Taylor nearly recorded a triple-double in the effort as well, falling just short at 14 points, eight rebounds and 10 blocks. Only three Rebels have ever recorded a triple- double, the last being Kayla Melson on Nov. 13, 2009, vs. Southeast Louisiana with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. No Rebel has ever done so with double-digit blocks.
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 four double-doubles this season and, aside from her profiency in shot blocking, is also the SEC’s top freshman in shooting percentage at .601. She also ranks third overall in SEC-only shooting at .623.
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. She has scored at least 17 points in five of her last seven games played after entering the 2017-18 season with a career-high of only 17 points prior.
Alston has been in double digits in 17 games played this season, shooting 42.7 from the field and 75.9 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.
SERIOUS PLAYING TIME
Junior Alissa Alston has logged at least 35 minutes in 10 of her last 12 games, resulting in her playing for 89.8 percent of all available floor time in that span (440 of 490 available minutes). When taking out 26 minutes vs. Mizzou and 16 vs. MSU due to foul trouble, that percentage goes up to 97.1 (398 of 410).
Alston ranks third overall in the SEC with 35.1 minutes played, as well as fifth in conference-only games with 36.7 per game.
SHELBY FROM DOWNTOWN
Sophomore Shelby Gibson is coming off a career-day from the three-point line, continuing what has been a surprising evolution in her game in 2017-18.
Gibson, who entered the season with a career line of 7-of-14 from three after her freshman season, has gone off for a line of 15-of-40 this year -- with 37 of her attempts coming in the last 11 games.
MUHAMMAD CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Junior Madinah Muhammad is closing in on history with 983 points in her Rebel career. Muhammad has exploded for 392 points through 23 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 1,051 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. 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
No. 14 Texas A&M (Feb. 8, L, 83-54)
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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