Nov. 3, 2013
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
Five Rebels scored in double figures, as Ole Miss opened the Matt Insell era with a 74-59 exhibition win over Christian Brothers Sunday.
Senior guard Valencia McFarland scored a team-high 15 points, and senior forward Tia Faleru recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Freshman forward Shequila Joseph (12 points), senior guard Diara Moore (11) and sophomore guard Gracie Frizzell (10) round out the scorers in double figures for the Rebels.
Ole Miss shot 36.8 percent (28-for-76) from the floor and surpassed their scoring average from last year (64.7 ppg). Defensively, Ole Miss held Christian Brothers to 30.2 percent (16-of-53) from the floor and forced 28 turnovers.
However, Ole Miss also committed 32 personal fouls and sent Christian Brothers to the free-throw line 40 times. Insell said the goal is to limit the opposing team to 13 or 14 free-throw attempts. All those attempts, Insell said, slow the game down and give the opposition an opportunity to rest, where he wants to push the ball back at them.
"We'll get there defensively," Insell said. "Offensively, it's promising. We can score. As the competition gets better, you have to be able to stop people. And we're not where we need to be right now defensively, but that will be the point of emphasis the next couple of days in practice, and we'll get there."
McFarland led the team in scoring to go along with three rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes, but Insell expects more from her.
"Valencia is an incredible player, but she has to take it to another level," Insell said. "She had a good day, but I don't want her to have good days. She has to have great days for our team to be really good, and she knows that. She's not happy with her performance today."
"I have to get Valencia prepared for what's happening next. She had a good game today, but we expect great games out of her, and she has to have great games for us to be successful this season."
Faleru, who along with McFarland led the team in scoring last year (11.4 ppg), was second on the team in scoring and finished with a double-double, to go along with four assists in a game-high 37 minutes.
"I got a little tired, but my second wind came," Faleru said. "Coach is always telling me to keep pushing in practice, and then in the game, it came easier. I kept breathing and kept telling myself to keep pushing."
"Tia Faleru is a key to our basketball team this season," Insell said. "She has a chance to have a huge season. She had 13 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. She's become really dependable. We need to get more of them to come along. I am very excited about Tia Faleru and Shequila Joseph. At no point, did I think they weren't hustling when they were out on the basketball court."
Joseph, who represented Great Britain and England in European competition this past summer, earned the start in her first collegiate action. She was just 3-for-12 from the field but was also 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
"I'm confident going into the next game," Joseph said. "I started off nervous, and I'm just ready for the next game."
"She earned that from the first day she stepped on campus," Insell said. "She has worked at a high level. I have asked her to play as a sophomore since she stepped on campus, and she is doing that. She's further ahead than a lot of freshmen are right now at this point.
"I'm very satisfied with Shequila right now where she's at in her progress. And she's going to get better and better. If she gets 12 shots on Friday, I promise she won't go 3-for-12. She'll have a bigger night on Friday. She has the jitters out now, and she'll slow down a little bit. If we can get her 12 attempts like we did tonight, I can see her scoring 17 or 18 points. She's a double-digit scorer for us this season, so I'm excited about Shequila."
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