March 5, 2014
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
DULUTH, Ga. — Arkansas, which led by as many as 11 points in the first half, had stretched its lead back to double digits, 60-50, with 4:41 left, and Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell called timeout. In the huddle, his message to the team was simple: Get a score and then get a stop.
“We do this drill every day that’s score and get a stop, score and get a stop,” Insell said. “We talked about that in that huddle and then see where we’re at if we can do that. If we can get a score and then get a stop, and then get a score and then get another stop, and let’s see where we’re at there. We got that and it continued on. That’s all I kept telling them. Stop, score, stop, score.”
His message proved prophetic, as the Rebels finished the game on a 13-2 run, with big plays throughout the lineup, none bigger than an offensive rebound from senior guard Diara Moore and then her pass to senior forward Kenyotta Jenkins, who capped the comeback with a game-winning layup with 3.6 seconds left.
“In the huddle, coach drew up a play and told us, even if she misses, we have to get a rebound somehow,” Jenkins said. “When the shot went up, Diara got the ball going out of bounds, and I saw that there was still time on the clock. I was closest to the goal and I called her name and I put it up and prayed that it was going in.”
“It was basically just a toughness play from both Diara and (Kenyotta),” senior guard Valencia McFarland said. “For Diara to fight for the rebound and for Kenyotta to finish and put it back in.”
Coming to Ole Miss, Insell said he didn’t look at is rebuilding but a process of getting the program back to the top as one of the nation’s most storied programs in all of women’s college basketball. A win like this, Insell said, helps you get there.
“What a great win for our basketball team,” Insell said. “What a great win for our program. I told the kids before we came down here that we’re playing as good as any team in this league. We have to keep fighting until the final buzzer. That’s been our saying for the last five or six games.
“As you saw tonight, this team did not give up. They had plenty of chances to give up when we were down and things were not going our way, and they just kept fighting and kept fighting and kept fighting. I have so much respect for our players for that, and I’m so proud of them.”
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