New-Look Women's Hoops Ready For Season
Oct. 26, 2010
Coming off its sixth postseason appearance in the last seven seasons, the 2010-11 Ole Miss women’s basketball team will have a new look this year.
After losing six players to graduation from a team that played in the WNIT a year ago, including All-SEC honoree and leading scorer in the SEC, Bianca Thomas; the third leading scorer on the team, Elizabeth Robertson and Shantell Black, fourth on the team in scoring and second in assists, this season’s squad will feature six returners and eight newcomers.
“Our team has worked extremely hard during the pre-season,” fourth-year head coach Renee Ladner said. “They hold each other accountable in practice each day. We ceased being freshmen in the middle of September. Our conference is tough and they fully understand how critical it is to get better each and every day. From a coaching standpoint, I must be patient, but persistent to get through our growing pains.”
Ole Miss returns just one of its top four scorers from last season and just one of its top
“We are small in number, but big in heart. Only having two players back this season that
Among the top returners is senior guard Kayla Melson. Melson played in 30 games last
Melson, who had four games last year with at least 10 assists, finished the year first in the
conference in assists and tenth in the nation in assists per game with 5.9. She also finished in the top of the SEC stats in assist/turnover ratio (first), ninth in steals per game (1.8), and tenth in free throw percentage (73.8).
“Kayla plays with passion, works extremely hard and is our most vocal leader,” Ladner said.
Also returning is junior forward Nikki Byrd who played in all 32 games and made eight
Byrd led the team in shooting percentage, shooting 57.7 percent from the field and recorded a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) in Ole Miss’ 102-101 triple overtime win over nationally-ranked LSU.
“Nikki is in the best shape of her life,” Ladner said. “Nikki is serious about her game this year and we are finally seeing that fire.”
The Rebels also have senior Tori Slusher returning this season after missing last season
Junior LaTosha Laws also returns this season along with sophomore Courtney Marbra.
“Tori brings a tremendous work ethic to our team. She is coming off an injury and is hungry to play and contribute,” Ladner said. “LaTosha had an incredible off-season. She has worked on her game and will give us much-needed depth at the guard position.”
This year’s roster will feature eight newcomers, which includes three non-scholarship
The 5 foot 4 inch point guard is a two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year in
“Valencia is the epitome of the true point guard and she makes everyone around her
Forward Pa’Sonna Hope averaged 12.2 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game
Trotter, who hails from Marion, Ark., was a McDonald’s All-America nominee. As a senior, she averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks per game. As a junior, she averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks per game. She also set the school record for most blocks in high school.
Jenkins averaged a double-double throughout high school at Potts Camp High School in
Nelson, a freshman from Memphis, Tenn., was ranked the 71st best wing player by ESPNU HoopGurlz.
“Kenyotta is making the transition from a high school forward to an SEC guard. She
Three additional players were added after trying out for the team in September. Sophomores Kelsey Nutt (Fordyce, Ark.), Maggie McFerrin (Tupelo, Miss.) and Jasmine Curtis (Jackson, Miss.) will also be a part of the roster this season.
Ole Miss will again play a challenging schedule this season, facing 12 opponents who
The Rebels will open the year playing their first five games at home including hosting the
Ole Miss will travel to South Alabama and Central Michigan in December and will also host Miami, Southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi Valley State University that month. The Rebels will end the month of December playing in the St. Peter’s Holiday Classic in Jersey City, N.J. Ole Miss will open SEC play hosting Vanderbilt on Jan. 2 and will play just three home conference games during the month of January.
The SEC Tournament will be held in Nashville, Tenn., March 3-6.
The 2010-11 Ole Miss Women’s Basketball media guide is now available online at:
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