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Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 17-23, 2014)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 17-23, 2014

Men's Basketball
- Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with wins over Southern University and Northern Arizona as part of the Emerald Coast Classic, improving to 3-1 on the season.
- Ole Miss finished the first half vs. Northern Arizona on an 8-0 run to take a 37-32 lead into halftime, and carried that momentum for an 80-74 win.
- Senior guard Jarvis Summers led the way vs. NAU with a season-high 22 points, his second 20-point game this season. He was joined in double figures by junior guard Stefan Moody (13 points) and senior guard LaDarius White (12 points), who each finished in double figures for the third straight game.
- Ole Miss held Southern to 38 points, the lowest by a Rebel opponent since 2011, on the way to a 69-38 win over the Jaguars. The Rebels limited the Jags to just 28 percent shooting and forced 22 turnovers.

Women's Basketball
- Ole Miss went 1-1 on the week with a 91-68 win over Southern and a close, 71-65 loss to Middle Tennessee State. With the Southern win the Rebels opened the season 3-0, going undefeated through the first three games for the first time since 2012-13.
- Tia Faleru picked up her 22nd career double-double with 29 points and 19 rebounds against Southern, and moves into sole possession of the seventh spot on Ole Miss' all-time double-double list. Faleru's 19 rebounds were also a new career-high, while her 29 points was her 13th career-20-point game.
- Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell squared off against his father when Ole Miss faced Middle Tennessee - it was the first women's basketball game in NCAA Division I history which pitted a father against his son.
- Oxford native Erika Sisk tallied her first career 20-point game vs. Middle Tennessee, giving Ole Miss a 20-point scorer in each of its games this season.

Cross Country
- The Ole Miss cross country team concluded the season as only 30 other men's programs could: at the NCAA Championships.
- The 2014 cross country season was historic for Ole Miss. It included the first regional championship and Nationals berth in program history as well as matching the program's best SEC finish (runner-up).
- The Rebels finished 29th of 31 teams at the first XC Championship in program history.
- Wesley Gallagher (31.23.2) led Ole Miss in the 10K event, good for 80th overall, improving from his 149th finish last season as an individual for Northeastern.
- SEC Freshman of the Year Sean Tobin, who clocked the best time for Ole Miss earlier in the season at the Pre-National Invitational on the same course, did not finish the race due to injury.

Volleyball
- Ole Miss split a pair of matches this weekend, dropping a 3-1 decision to No. 6 Florida and defeating Alabama 3-2, both at home. The Rebels improved to 3-2 in five-set matches this season.
- The Rebels swept the season series against Alabama and have now won six of the last nine meetings.
- It was a record-setting weekend for two Rebels. On Friday, junior Nakeyta Clair set the school, single-season record for kills (337) with nine on the night. On Sunday, sophomore Melanie Crow set the school, single-season service aces record (35) with a career-high five.
- With an 11-3 record at the Gillom Sports Center this year, the Rebels are one win away from equaling the most home wins in a season. In 2007, the Rebels went 12-2 at home.

Football
- It was a tough Saturday for the Ole Miss football team as the No. 8 Rebels were shut out 30-0 by the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
- It was the first time Ole Miss has been shut out since last year's Alabama game.
- The Rebels had more first downs (19) than the Hogs (17) and more total yards (316-311), but six turnovers doomed the men in Red and Blue.
- The Rebels did recover an Arkansas fumble, making it a nation-leading 34 straight games forcing at least one turnover.
- Three Rebels established school records on Saturday: Bo Wallace for career total offensive yards (10,090), Jaylen Walton for career kickoff return yards (1,429) and Evan Engram for receiving yards by a tight end in a season (475).
- It was the first loss in the state of Arkansas in Hugh Freeze's college head coaching career, dropping him to 7-1.

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It's that busy time of the year with the Ole Miss football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball teams all in action. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was in Ole Miss sports:

- A slow start (17-0 first-quarter deficit), a stalled running game (33 carries for 37 yards) and six turnovers (two in the red zone) all had a hand in a 30-0 loss at Arkansas, ending the Rebels' SEC West title hopes. There's not much else to say.

"I told our kids in locker room," Freeze said, '"I don't like the way we finished year two and I don't like the way we played tonight.'

- It's clear Ole Miss misses Laquon Treadwell, not just his production, but also his leadership and playmaking abilities. Playing without the sophomore star for the first time in SEC play, Ole Miss was shut out for the first time this season. The Rebels managed just three plays of 20 or more yards, and their active leading receiver, Vince Sanders, was held without a catch in the contest.

- Give the defense credit for keeping as close as they did for as long as they did. Facing a short field for much of the game, the Ole Miss defense allowed just one touchdown in five trips to the red zone for Arkansas. The Razorbacks started on average from their own 43-yard line and they had scoring drives of 52, 24, 49, 41, 0 and 0 yards, respectively.

- Ole Miss also found itself on the wrong side of history, as Arkansas became the first unranked team to ever shut out two ranked opponents in back-to-back games.

- With Arkansas becoming bowl eligible, an entire division will advance to the postseason for the first time in Southeastern Conference history. What's more impressive, the SEC West is a combined a 38-3 against non-SEC West opponents, including a combined 28-0 against non-conference opponents.

- For the second straight season, both SEC divisions will be determined on the final weekend. Alabama and Missouri each control their destiny, while Georgia needs an Arkansas win over Missouri, and Mississippi State needs a win over Ole Miss and an Auburn win over Alabama. Ole Miss, like Arkansas and Auburn, will play a spoiler role, looking to eliminate Mississippi State from SEC West title contention.

"If you can't get up for that one, you probably don't need to be playing," linebacker Deterrian Shackelford said. "It's everything, it's the Egg Bowl. And for the seniors, it's Senior Day. If I have to motivate people for next week, they probably shouldn't be playing."

- Ole Miss volleyball's Nakeyta Clair set the school single-season kills record in the rally scoring era, putting down nine kills in a four-set loss to No. 6 Florida this past Friday. The Rebels bounced back with a five-set win over Alabama on Sunday, the second match in a four-match homestand to close out the regular season. Ole Miss will host Texas A&M on Friday for Senior Day, where the Rebels will honor the senior trio Marie-Pierre Bakima, Cara Fisher and Rachael Weathersby.

- Father, Rick, and Middle Tennessee State got the best of son, Matt, and Ole Miss, in the first-ever meeting between father and son head coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history. The result was not what Matt and the Rebels wanted, but the matchup provided a tough test for a young team learning every game and created some buzz and excitement surrounding the program.

- Here's a nice story on Rick and Matt Insell from Will Borthick from the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Check it out.

- The Ole Miss men's basketball team rebounded nicely from a heartbreaking overtime loss to Charleston Southern, rattling off three straight wins over Troy, Southern and Northern Arizona, going into this weekend's game in Niceville, Florida. The Rebels will face Creighton and then either Cincinnati or Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Jays, which return one starter from last year's 27-8 team, is off to a 4-0 start, including a win over No. 18 Oklahoma.

- Head coach Andy Kennedy said he has been surprised by how much he has learned a lot about his team, one that includes five newcomers, and he spoke very honestly about what he has learned through four games: "We're not as tough physically as I would have hoped," said Kennedy after an 80-74 win over Northern Arizona. "We make excuses. I didn't know this group would do that. I know some of it is a defense mechanism. I get that. I have done this a long time. Sometimes, that's the easy way out. It's the default mode. I get it, but we have to get tougher. We have to play to our abilities. I don't think we have played to our ability yet."

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 10-16, 2014)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 10-16, 2014

Women's Basketball
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed that up with a 91-38 win over Mississippi Valley State on Sunday. Ole Miss is 2-0 for the first time under Insell and the first time since it opened 5-0 in 2012-13.
- Tia Faleru became Ole Miss' 26th 1,000-point scorer with 19 points in the victory over Mississippi Valley. She is the first 1,000-point scorer since Valencia McFarland hit the mark as a junior in 2012-13. Faleru is sitting at 1,001 career points.
- Ole Miss had 5,696 fans on hand to see it open the season at its annual School Kids game on Friday. The 5,696 fans were the second most to see an Ole Miss women's basketball game and just 175 fans shy of the largest crowd ever to see an Ole Miss women's basketball game.

Cross Country
- For the first time in Ole Miss cross country history, the Rebels claimed the South Region Championship to earn a berth in the NCAA Championship. The Rebels' 54 points was 42 points better than runner-up No. 21 Florida State in a decisive victory.
- Junior Wesley Gallagher (30:18.60) led the South champions in the 10K event, good for third overall. Freshman Sean Tobin (30:19.30) and sophomore Robert Domanic (30:20.00) finished right on his heels in fourth and fifth, respectively.
- Sophomore Trevor Gilley (30:58.30) clocked the 19th overall time, and freshman Taylor Caldwell (31:02.00) finished 24th overall to round out the Rebels' five scoring times. Mark Robertson's (31:14.50) 29th finish, while not scoring for Ole Miss, was better than every other team's fourth-place finisher.
- Gallagher, Tobin, Domanic, Gilley and Caldwell all earned All-Region honors. Last season, Domanic was the only All-Region selection for the Rebels.
- The three top-five finishers match the previous program total of top-five regional finishes all-time. Barnabas Kirui finished first in 2006 and second in 2009, and Bernard Kuria was fourth in 1997.
- The Rebels surged to first in the region after finishing ninth last year. The Rebels had finished no better than seventh since 2005 at regionals.
- The Ole Miss women finished 13th out of 29 teams at the regional, led by Margaret Harkness at 55th overall. The finish concludes the season for the young squad.

Men's Basketball
- Ole Miss dropped its season opener 66-65 in overtime to Charleston Southern on Friday.
- It marked the first loss in a season opener for the Rebels under Andy Kennedy and the first since 2003.
- Junior Martavious Newby led the Rebels with 14 points, one off his career high, on 4-of-5 shooting from the field including a couple of 3-pointers.

Volleyball
- Ole Miss dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to No. 15 Kentucky 3-1 at home, and then losing at Missouri 3-2. The Rebels won the first set in both matches. Against Missouri, the Rebels led 2-1 and it was tied 24-24 in the fourth set before the Tigers won three of the final four points to extend it to a fifth set.
- The Rebels are now 2-2 in five-setters this year.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson led the Rebels against Kentucky with 21 kills.
- At Missouri, junior Ty Laporte recorded a career-high 23 kills, while senior Marie-Pierre Bakima notched a career-best 23 digs.
- Junior middle blocker Nakeyta Clair needs just seven kills this coming weekend to set the Ole Miss single season record in the rally scoring era.

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 3-9, 2014)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 3-9, 2014

Football
- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.
- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.
- The Rebels matched last year's win total of eight. They are 8-2 for the first time since 2003.
- Ole Miss dominated every facet of the game, out-gaining the Blue Hose in total yards (640-156), rushing yards (402-89), passing yards (238-67) and first downs (22-10).
- He only played the first half, but senior quarterback Bo Wallace accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and inched closer to Eli Manning's school record for career total yards. Wallace now needs only 111 yards to eclipse Manning and move into the top 10 in the all-time SEC record book.
- Backup running backs Jordan Wilkins (171 yards, one touchdown) and Mark Dodson (128 yards, two touchdowns) both had career-best days. Combined, they had four runs of 50+ yards.
- The Rebel defense did not allow Presbyterian to reach the red zone all day and racked up a season high-tying 12 tackles for loss.

Men's Basketball
- Ole Miss went on a 30-4 run over a 9:57 stretch in the first half, turning a 14-11 deficit into a 41-18 lead on the way to a resounding 97-58 win in its lone exhibition game of the 2014-15 season.
- Senior Jarvis Summers lead the team in scoring with 16 points, while a trio of newcomers in Stefan Moody (14 points), Roderick Lawrence (14 points) and Terence Smith (10 points) all posted double figures. Sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz led all players with 14 rebounds.

Women's Basketball
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team cruised to a 111-43 exhibition win over Christian Brothers University on Friday.
- Freshman Toree Thompson led the way with 25 points and nine assists while Kelsey Briggs, Tia Faleru and Bretta Hart combined for 22 rebounds in the win.
- Each of Ole Miss' six freshmen scored in the contest and each of the 13 players who played earned a spot on the stat sheet.

Volleyball
- Ole Miss went 1-1 last week, defeating Mississippi State 3-1 and losing to Texas A&M 3-1, both on the road.
- With the win at Mississippi State, the Rebels have reached 20 wins for the first time since the 2007 season, when they finished 25-8. The Rebels swept the season series with MSU and have now won four straight and six of the last seven meetings.
- Head coach Steven McRoberts now has 16 20-win seasons in 18 years as a head coach.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair hit .492 on the week, averaging 4.38 kills per set. She has now hit above .300 in 21 of 26 matches, including 14 above .400. With five blocks on the week, Clair became the second player in school history in the rally scoring era to reach 300 career blocks.
- Sophomore setter Aubrey Edie recorded a career-high 62 assists against Mississippi State to set the single match record in the rally scoring era and then set the single season record Sunday at Texas A&M with 53 assists. She now has 1,037 assists to date this year and needs 14 to notch 2,000 for her career.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson posted back-to-back double-doubles and now has seven for the season. She averaged 3.38 kills and 4.38 digs per set for the week.

Women's Tennis
- Senior Julia Jones competed in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships and went 2-2 , including defeating the No. 50 ranked player in the nation and the No. 1 ranked player in Division II.
- Jones finished the fall with a 10-3 record including the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Singles title.

Men's Tennis
- Men's Tennis wrapped up the fall last week at the USTA Futures in Birmingham and at the Commodore Classic in Nashville.
- Four players reached the final round of qualifying at the USTA Futures, while Stefan Lindmark and Gustav Hansson qualified for the main draw, with Lindmark advancing to the second round.
- At the Commodore Classic, the Rebels earned 16 wins in singles and doubles.

Men's Golf
- Senior Blake Morris fired an impressive, career-low, single round 7-under 65 to lead the Ole Miss men's golf team on the final day of the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational.
- Morris carded seven birdies, including four in a six-hole stretch, en route to a season-high seventh-place finish, posting a three-round score of 13-under, 203.
- As a team, the Rebels finished in fourth with a three-round score of 31-under, 833, tying their season-best finish as a team.
- After posting a career-low single round score in the second round, sophomore Noah West carded a career-low tournament score of 8-under, 208, and tied for 15th-place.

Women's Golf
- Ole Miss women's golf concluded its fall slate at the Jim West Challenge.
- The Rebels placed 10th with a score of 928. Alison Hovatter and Stani Schiavone led the Ole Miss contingent, finishing 22nd with 54-hole scores of 230.
- Ole Miss played one of its better rounds this fall in the final round with a 305, which is the sixth best round for the Rebels during the fall.

VIDEO: Studio 18 Live 10.15.14

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 29-Oct. 5)

Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2014

Football
- Ole Miss outscored then-No. 1 Alabama 20-3 in the second half Saturday en route to a thrilling 23-17 victory over the Crimson Tide. It was the Rebels' first win over a top-ranked opponent in program history.
- Senior quarterback Bo Wallace went 18-31 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Wallace finished the game by completing each of his final three pass attempts for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The win was the Rebels' first over Alabama since 2003 when Eli Manning was the Ole Miss quarterback.
- Despite Alabama entering the game averaging 42.0 points, the Ole Miss defense held the Crimson Tide to just 10 points. The Rebels also held Alabama to 3.8 yards per carry, which is nearly two yards fewer than its season average.
- Senior cornerback Senquez Golson sealed the game with an interception with 37 seconds remaining in the back of the Ole Miss end zone. Ole Miss has forced a turnover in 28 straight games, which ranks among the top five streaks nationally.
- The Rebels are 5-0 for the first time since 1962. Ole Miss is also 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play.

Soccer
- The Rebels posted a fourth undefeated weekend after playing Auburn to a 2-2 draw and posting the shutout victory over Alabama this past weekend.
- Senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick tied for first on the all-time shutout list at Ole Miss with a 1-0 victory at Alabama on Sunday. McCormick has 21 shutout wins for her career.
- Ole Miss will now have a bye week after moving the match with Georgia to the season-opener for the SEC Network, and return to action in two weeks with road matches at Kentucky and South Carolina.
- Jennifer Miller scored her second goal of the season, hitting the game-winner in the 1-0 victory at Alabama to extend the Rebels' win streak over the Crimson Tide to four matches.

Volleyball
- Ole Miss downed defending SEC Champion Missouri 3-0 in its only match of the week, snapping the Tigers' 20-match SEC win streak dating back to Nov. 23, 2012. The Rebels improved to 3-0 against Missouri in Oxford.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair posted a team-high 14 kills and hit .500 to lead the offensive attack, also adding three blocks defensively. Clair ranks second in the SEC in hitting percentage at .425.
- Freshman Taylor Alexander, in just her third start, posted a career-high eight blocks to lead the defensive effort. She had four blocks in the second set to help the Rebels erase a 22-16 deficit and win the set 25-23. For her efforts, Alexander was named the SEC Freshman of the Week.
- With the win, the Rebels improved to 8-0 at home this season.
- Head coach Steven McRoberts earned his 490th career win in the victory over Missouri.
- The Rebels rank second in the SEC in hitting percentage (.271), second in opponent hitting percentage (.167), third in assists per set (12.61), fourth in kills per set (13.54) and fourth in blocks per set (2.47).

Rifle
- Ole Miss hosted its second annual "Shoot Pink" match Saturday as part of the Ole Miss Invitational. The Rebels posted a 4603 aggregate score with a 2336 in air rifle to finish sixth overall.
- The Rebels were paced by two freshmen. Jessica Haig fired a 588, while Nadia Hata posted a 586 in air rifle.  Sophomore Alison Weisz shot a 583 in air rifle.
- In smallbore, the Rebels were led by freshman Shelby Sandstrom, who turned in a 569.

Men's Golf
- The Ole Miss men's golf team placed three players in the top 20 of a tournament for the first time since 2012.
- Seniors Joe Lewis and Blake Morris, and sophomore Noah West help propel the Rebels to a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Shoal Creek Invitational.
- With first-year head coach Chris Malloy at the helm, Ole Miss has finished in the top five in two of its three tournaments this season.

Cross Country - Men's Team
- The Ole Miss men's cross country team, ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA South Region, finished second in the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday. The finish was above 12 other regionally ranked teams and all four other SEC teams competing.
- Junior Wes Gallagher led Ole Miss in his first event as a Rebel. The Northeastern transfer clocked a time of 24:00.74 in the 8K, good for seventh overall. The Rebels placed six runners in the top 33.
- Gallagher, Robert Domanic, Sean Tobin, Daniel Bulmer, Taylor Caldwell and Mark Shaw all made their first appearance of the season in the strong performance for the Rebels.

Cross Country - Women's Team
- The Ole Miss women placed 17th overall in the 5K race. Freshman Shelby Brown turned in a time of 18:10.51 to pace the Rebels. Brown has improved on her 5K time in each race this season. She's shaved 38.82 seconds from her opening meet time.
- Ole Miss raced a young squad at the meet. The nine Rebels competing included six freshmen and two sophomores.

Women's Basketball

- The women's basketball team officially opened the 2014-15 season with its first practice on Sunday, Oct. 5 inside the Tuohy Center.
- The Rebels will open the regular season campaign Nov. 14 when they host Grambling for the 12th annual School Kids game at 11 a.m.

Men's Basketball
- The men's basketball team officially opened the 2014-15 season with its first practice Friday, Oct. 3 inside the Tuohy Center.
- The Rebels open their season Nov. 14 with a home game against Charleston Southern at 6:00 p.m.

VIDEOS: Forward Together Update

Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork and Ole Miss Athletics Foundation executive director Keith Carter announced Monday that the Forward Together Campaign has reached $110 million in cash and pledges. The total campaign goal is $150 million. Below are three new videos of interest. Fans can also live video feed of the ongoing construction, as well as a photo gallery displaying the renovations and expansion of the Manning Center.

Forward Together: Trailer from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

Forward Together: Arena Fly-Through from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

For more information about the Forward Together Campaign, and to receive information about how you can contribute, go to ForwardTogetherRebels.com or call the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at 662-915-7159.

Bjork Talks Hoops On Studio 18 Live

Studio 18 Live - March 19, 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork recaps the 2013-14 men's and women's basketball seasons and shares his thoughts on Auburn hiring Bruce Pearl as men's basketball coach.


AUDIO: SEC WBB Teleconference 3.3

Audio of Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell's time on the SEC teleconference Monday as well as audio of Arkansas head coach Tom Collen and Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy.

Ole Miss is the No. 14 seed in this week's 2014 SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga., and will open tournament action against 11-seed Arkansas in the first round Wednesday (7:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports South/SportSouth). The winner of Wednesday's game will play 6-seed Auburn in the second round Thursday.

Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell

Arkansas head coach Tom Collen

Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy

VIDEO: Ole Miss-Auburn Highlights

The Season: Ole Miss Women's Basketball: Episode 2 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

In case you missed it, here's Episode 1 of The Season: Ole Miss Women's Basketball.

VIDEO: Matt Insell UF Postgame Presser

VIDEO: Ole Miss-Florida Highlights

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Three things from Ole Miss women's basketball head coach Matt Insell, previewing the Rebels' game vs. Mississippi State Thursday night:

1. Rivalry Game

This is the 86th meeting all-time between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Rebels hold a 62-23 series advantage, but the Bulldogs have six of the last seven meetings. Prior to an Ole Miss win last season, Mississippi State had won the previous six meetings, its longest winning streak in the series. 

Head coach Matt Insell said they can't get too high or too low in a rivalry game. He has talked to the team about having poise in all situations and not playing on emotion, particularly in the first four to five minutes of the game.

"It's the next game on the schedule," Insell said. "Rivalry games are important because you want to win them, but it's no more important than the last game was against Arkansas. We're going to attack this game no different than we attacked the Arkansas game or the Vanderbilt game. We're going to go in and prepare for this game the same way. 

"I'm sure there will be an extra edge. There is with our staff, and I know the players will have an extra edge in terms of focusing in and preparing themselves because you always want to beat your rival. It's important not only to you, but it's really important to your fan base and the whole Rebel Nation to get a win over Mississippi State."

2. Breaking Through

With Sunday's 68-65 loss at Arkansas, Ole Miss is now winless in its last 10 SEC games, dating back to the 2012-13 season. However, in SEC play this season, the Rebels have lost three of their five games by nine points or less.

"We're at that point where we're having a chance to win games," Insell said. "Now, we have to win those games. We have to start making that shot when you're open, and we have to start getting that rebound when it comes off. We're right there at that point. 

"I talk about the process. Early on, the process was to convince our team that we can compete in these games. Now that we have shown that we can compete, the process changes. Now, you have to start talking about how we're competing, but how can we finish these games."

3. Following McFarland's Lead

Senior guard Valencia McFarland leads the team and ranks seventh in the SEC in scoring averaging 16.2 points per game. McFarland has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games with a career-high 28 points against Vanderbilt, followed by 25 against Arkansas, marking her sixth and seventh 20-point game of the season.

McFarland also ranks second in the SEC in assists averaging 6.2 assists per game. Insell noted that McFarland has played at this high level despite teams double-teaming her and doing other things defensively against her.

"She has taken her game to a different level," Insell said. "I have said time after time that she's the best point guard in this league. She's showing that night in and night out. She's going out and giving us what she has to give us. Her game is at a high, high level right now, and other people are taking notice."

Ole Miss Athletics Week In Review (Jan. 13-19)

Ole Miss Athletics Week In Review
Jan. 13-19, 2014

This is a new feature we're going to do each week on the blog. Each Monday we will recap everything that has happened in the past week in Ole Miss athletics, and we will also list a schedule of upcoming games, matches and meets.

Men's Basketball

- Senior guard Marshall Henderson was named SEC Player of the Week after posting 22.0 points and 3.5 assists in a pair of wins last week.
- Sophomore forward Anthony Perez scored a career-high 22 points in a road win at South Carolina. It was the Rebels' first win in Columbia since 2001.
- Freshman forward Sebastian Saiz scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the overtime win over LSU on Wednesday. Ole Miss outscored the Tigers 19-5 in the overtime period to blow past LSU.

Track & Field

- The No. 16 Ole Miss men and the Rebel women performed well against high-level indoor track & field competition at last weekend's Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., led by another meet record by pole vaulter Sam Kendricks.
- Kendricks set a meet record and bested the next closest vaulter by a foot and a half with his winning clearance of 18-0.5. It was the second straight weekend that he set a meet record, as he established the nation's best vault of the indoor season a week earlier with his school-record 18-4.75 at the UAB Blazer Invitational en route to SEC Men's Field Athlete of the Week honors.
- Other highlights included senior Phillip Young in the triple jump (52-2.5), freshman Jalen Miller in the 60 meters (6.67) and 200 meters (21.45), sophomore Onyi Afoaku in the weight throw (62-10.75), and freshman Robert Domanic in the mile (4:07.20), all of which rank highly in the NCAA this year.
- For the women, senior Fabia McDonald had a strong pentathlon score of 3,989 (just off her school record of 4,005) that ranks her second nationally this year.

Men's Tennis

- The No. 11 ranked Rebels participated in the MLK Invitational hosted by Georgia Tech Jan. 18-20.
- The round robin format included doubles and singles against Georgia Tech, No. 3 Georgia and No. 21 Memphis. No team scoring was in effect.
- Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 nationally, went 2-1 in singles to lead the Rebels. Scholtz also teamed up with Johan Backstrom in doubles for the first time − after two years with former All-American Jonas Lutjen − and the pair defeated 12th-ranked Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland from Georgia.
- Ole Miss hosts the ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 25-26. The Rebels face No. 26 Michigan Saturday at 10 a.m. The regional also includes No. 22 Illinois and No. 23 Clemson.

Women's Tennis

- The Rebels participated in the Michigan Invitational Jan. 18-20 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The team played singles and doubles against No. 11 Michigan, No. 21 Georgia Tech and South Florida.
- Junior Julia Jones and sophomore Marija Milutinovic went 2-1 in singles. Jones improved to 11-4 on the year and Milutinovic improved to 8-4.
- Freshman Zalina Khairudinova made her debut for the Rebels, going 1-1 in singles and 2-0 in doubles with Julia Jones.
- The Rebels host Jackson State Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Gillom Sports Center in their home and dual match opener. Admission is free and fans will receive an Ole Miss tennis t-shirt and enjoy popcorn between doubles and singles.

Women's Basketball

- Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week with an 80-74 loss to No. 24/25 Vanderbilt, and a heartbreaking 68-65 road loss to Arkansas. Ole Miss is now 9-10 on the year and 0-5 in SEC play.
- Valencia McFarland set a new career-high against Vanderbilt with 28 points, besting her previous mark of 25 set against Alabama in 2010-11
- Tia Faleru picked up her fifth game or 20 or more points with 20 points against Vanderbilt, she has reached the 20+ mark six times in her career.
- Faleru is nearing the 1,000-point mark, as she is just 245 points from the milestone. She would become Ole Miss' 17th 1,000-point scorer.
- Monique Jackson posted her first game in double-figures this season with a career-high 11 points and six rebounds, going 5-of-5 from the field against Arkansas.

Rifle

- After an almost two-month break, the Rebels began the spring season hosting No. 4 Jacksonville State and No. 5 Nebraska.
- The Rebels posted a season-high aggregate of 4637, falling to Nebraska (4643) by just six shots. Jacksonville State finished with a 4655.
- Senior Alivia Yeager shot a season-high 577 in smallbore to lead the Rebels. She finished with a season-high aggregate of 1157.
- Freshman Alison Weisz tied her season-best with a 591 in air rifle. Weisz, with a 567 in smallbore, eclipsed her season average in aggregate with a season-high total of 1158.
- Senior Abbey Stanec scored above her average in total aggregate with an 1165.

Upcoming Schedule

Monday
Men's tennis - Georgia Tech Invitational - All Day
Women's tennis - Michigan Invitational - All Day

Wednesday
Women's tennis vs. Jackson State - 2:00 p.m.
Men's basketball at Vanderbilt - 8:00 p.m.

Thursday
Women's basketball vs. Mississippi State - 6:00 p.m.

Friday
Track & Field - Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational - All Day

Saturday
Men's tennis vs. Michigan - 10:00 a.m.
Women's tennis vs. Oklahoma - 2:00 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Men's basketball vs. Mississippi State - 3:00 p.m.
Track & Field - Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational - All Day

Sunday
Rifle - Withrow Invitational - 8:00 a.m. (Murray, Ky.)
Women's basketball vs. LSU - 1:00 p.m.
Men's tennis vs. Clemson/Illinois - TBA (Oxford, Miss.)
Women's tennis vs. Alabama/William & Mary - TBA (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
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Three things from the SEC teleconference on Wednesday, previewing Ole Miss' game vs. No. 24/No. 25 Vanderbilt on Thursday night:

1. Rebels Remain Confident Despite 0-3 SEC Start

With a 93-79 loss at Alabama in its last game on Sunday, Ole Miss dropped to 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play. The loss also extended Ole Miss' SEC losing streak to eight games dating back to the 2012-13 season. Entering league play, the Rebels had won eight of nine games, with an 87-80 loss at No. 9 Baylor.

"We're in a good place," head coach Matt Insell said Wednesday. "We're not happy about being 0-3. We know we're 0-3, and it's not something we're hiding behind. We hurt ourselves in a lot of those games. We have to get better as a team, and if we do that, the wins will come. 

'We are still as confident as we were before we started SEC play. We're going to play our game. We're going to do what we do. We're going to go out there and get better executing and show some more toughness defensively, and that's the thing I'm asking them to do."

2. Newly Ranked Commodores Look To Continue Momentum

Vanderbilt's No. 24 ranking in this week's Associated Press poll marks the Commodores' first appearance in the poll since Nov. 19, 2012. The Commodores have won 11 of their last 12 games, including a 74-63 upset win over No. 8 Tennessee.

The Commodores are third in the SEC in scoring offense (79.2 ppg) and shoot the ball exceptionally well, leading the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6%) and ranking second in field goal percentage (48.1%).

"Vanderbilt has a great team and coming off a great win," Insell said Wednesday. "They're a very fundamental team and running their stuff, and that's what makes them really good. In their offensive sets, Vanderbilt is as good as any team in the league or any team in the country, in terms of executing what they want to execute. 

"They have the right people taking the shots that they want to take. You don't see a lot of deviating outside of what they're doing offensively. That presents a big challenge because they run so much stuff that you have to worry about guarding. That's tough for you defensively."

3. McFarland-Lister Point Guard Battle

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb credited the play of her two seniors, Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister, for the Commodores success this season. Foggie leads the team in scoring (18.8 ppg), followed by Lister (16.3 ppg), who was recently named SEC Player of the Week. Lister also leads the SEC in minutes played (35.2 mpg).

Lister runs the point for the Commodores, and for the Rebels, senior point guard Valencia McFarland was recently named to the Nancy Lieberman Watch List, which is given to the nation's top point guard. McFarland is second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) behind junior forward Tia Faleru (16.2 ppg). She is also second in the SEC in assists (6.2 apg) and ninth in steals (2.0 spg).

"Jasmine Lister is one of the best guards in the league," Insell said. "She brings toughness, and she's one of the toughest kids in the league, in terms of playing through a lot of adversity at times. When things are going good or when things are going bad, she always finds a way to make a play, like she did against Tennessee. Her toughness on the floor shows in the rest of the players who play with her. I have a lot of respect for her game, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of having to play against her tomorrow night."

SEC WBB Teleconference 1.15

Full transcript of Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, as well as selected questions and answers from Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb. The Rebels host the Commodores on Thursday night (6 p.m.) and then travel to Fayetteviile, Ark., to play the Razorbacks on Sunday (2 p.m., Cox Sports).

Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell

Opening Statement:

We're still in the process of growing as a team. We're not as far along as I would have liked to be at this point. Our record doesn't show where I would like it to be at this point. We are doing better as a team each day and as a program, and I'm very happy with the progress that we're making. We will continue to make strides and continue get better, and our record will show that as the year continues.

On Vanderbilt and senior guard Jasmine Lister:

Jasmine Lister is one of the best guards in the league. She brings toughness, and she's one of the toughest kids in the league, in terms of playing through a lot of adversity at times. When things are going good or when things are going bad, she always finds a way to make a play, like she did against Tennessee. Her toughness on the floor shows in the rest of the players who play with her. I have a lot of respect for her game, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of having to play against her tomorrow night. 

Vanderbilt has a great team and coming off a great win. They're a very fundamental team and running their stuff, and that's what makes them really good. In their offensive sets, Vanderbilt is as good as any team in the league or any team in the country, in terms of executing what they want to execute. They have the right people taking the shots that they want to take. You don't see a lot of deviating outside of what they're doing offensively. That presents a big challenge because they run so much stuff that you have to worry about guarding. That's tough for you defensively. And then you go offensively, and they run a lot of defenses, from a 2-3 zone, to a 1-3-1 zone, to a 3-2 zone, to a 1-2-2 zone. They run different stuff to try to keep you out of sorts offensively. That's something that we have worked hard on the last couple of days and not worrying about what they're in and executing what we want to execute. If we will do that, it should be an interesting game.

On the team's confidence after starting 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play:

We're in a good place. We're not happy about being 0-3. We know we're 0-3, and it's not something we're hiding behind. We hurt ourselves in a lot of those games. We have to get better as a team, and if we do that, the wins will come. We are still as confident as we were before we started SEC play. We're going to play our game. We're going to do what we do. We're going to go out there and get better executing and show some more toughness defensively, and that's the thing I'm asking them to do. 

If we will show toughness defensively and we start guarding people, instead of giving up 80-90 points, we will have a chance to win these games. We're scoring enough points to win games; we're just not guarding people well enough right now, and that comes with toughness. We will continue to get better at that, so our confidence is as high as it's been.

On the impact of the 87-80 loss at No. 8 Baylor on the program's growth:

It showed us that we can compete with anybody in the country. We played well that night. A lot of situations with us are about matchups. We're not very big, and so when teams are bigger than us, that hurts us from time to time in rebounding. We need to do a better job of boxing out, and we're working hard at that. But that game showed us that we can play at the top level, so now we have to take that effort that we had in that game, and we had great effort that game and we played as a team. 

I told the team yesterday that the only game we played all together, all 12 of us together and believing in the process and believing in what we're doing, was that game. If we can find out what we did in that game to do that and bundle that up and put it in these game coming up, then we have a chance to win some games and get some big wins. That game helped us and showed us where we're at, and it showed us where we can be. 

You look at what Baylor did to Connecticut the other night. With two minutes to go, they were in the game, and with two minutes to go against us, they were up two. So we have to take that game and that effort and we have to figure out what we did in that game and put it all together moving forward in SEC play.

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb

Opening Statement:

We're just focused on our next game. We have done a really good job of taking it one game at a time. I have two seniors who are playing the best basketball that they have played in their four years here, and they are playing like seniors. We are looking forward to getting down to Ole Miss and playing better in each game, playing a little bitter than we just did coming off that win against Tennessee

On Ole Miss under first-year head coach Matt Insell:

They're scoring a lot of points. They're running and good in transition. They're uptempo. They're very guard-oriented and they crash the board really well. We will have to defend them and check out, which is the way you have to play a lot of games in the SEC. Where they have improved a lot from last year is their scoring.

On Vanderbilt senior guards Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister and their composure:

It starts with Jasmine Lister and her ability to control her emotions this year. She's a fiery kid, but this year, she's so much more consistent. There's an emotional maturity that they have both been working on and getting better at. And so you see down the stretch, between their experience and confidence, they have worked extremely hard on their preparation. They prepare like their seniors. They prepare like their pro basketball players, and when players do that in my program and in my system in their senior year, you usually have that confidence and composure that we need to put us in a situation to be successful.

Behind-The-Scenes Look At Square Jam

The second annual Square Jam will be held on the Oxford Square Friday from 6:30-7:30 p.m., as part of this weekend's Homecoming festivities. The men's and women's basketball teams will participate in variety of drills and skills competitions to unofficially kick off the start of the season.

The event started when Ole Miss decided to do something with Midnight Madness, where they wanted to take basketball where their fans were going to be, so they did that by taking a basketball court to the Square in the parking lot in front of City Hall.


"We were in this external team for men's basketball, and I showed a picture of an outdoor basketball tournament," Hudspeth said. "And we started throwing around the concept of putting a basketball court on the Square. Initially, it was just a thought. The more we talked about it, Brian Russell, one of our event managers, said 'Why not, let's look into it.'"


"And so I threw a couple of lines in the water to see what kind of response we would get, and the responses started becoming more positive, so we pursued it. We found out how much a floor would cost, and if the city would allow us to do it. When the city said they would allow us to do it, that's when it took off full speed. Within a couple of weeks, we had basically planned the entire event and had the floor ordered, and it was ready to roll."


The original plan was for the inaugural event to be held this year, but head men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy, Hudspeth said, really pushed and wanted to do it last year, and so they were able to put it all together in a short amount of time.


"Coach Kennedy, for a long time, really wanted to figure out a way to do some type of opening to basketball season," Hudspeth said. "And he felt like this was the perfect transition with us wrapping it into the Homecoming parade and a home football weekend, so people could start getting a basketball mentality into their brains."


During last year's event, Derrick Millinghaus won the knockout contest while the team of Nick Williams and Gracie Frizzell won the three-point content, and Aaron Jones won the dunk contest. Both teams will participate in all three events again this year, with a game of H-O-R-S-E as a possible addition.


Micah GInn, Director of Creative Services, will serve as the emcee, and Athletics Director Ross Bjork, women's basketball coach Matt Insell and Rebel Rewards member Colleen Haadsma (@chaadsma) will serve as the judges for the dunk contest. 


This year's event will also feature a few more additions to enrich the fan experience, some more noticeable than others.


"This year, we're going to have the Ole Miss logo in the center of the court," Hudspeth said. "That will be a neat addition. This year, we're adding a video board, which we have never done. It will be right next to the court and will face back toward the fans. It is an 11 x 17 foot video board, which is a pretty big size. We're going to have a camera crew out there and be able to show videos and starting lineups."


Among the other improvements are more bleachers on the three sides surrounding the court, better lighting, and added restrooms behind City Hall are among the other improvements for this year's event. Also, particularly in the event of colder weather, both players' benches will be completely heated.


The event itself lasts an hour, and within two hours last year, Hudspeth said, the Square was back open and running. However, it's a full day for him and his staff, which will then turn around to staff Saturday's Homecoming game against Idaho, with a kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.


"We have been working on the planning process for months," he said. "On Friday, we will start probably around 11 a.m., myself and our marketing will go to the Square and set up a command center-type area where we have all the materials that we need for Square Jam, and we hang out all day." 


"It will take us about three to four hours to set everything up and have it ready to roll. The Homecoming parade starts at 5:30, and it's usually over by 6:30. We'll start our event at 6:30, and it should be over by 7:30. At about 7:45, we start taking everything down, and we're usually done by 9. Last year, I remember getting in my car to go home at 9:20. It's a full day."


Ole Miss WNBA Update

Ole Miss WNBA Update (Sept. 16)

The WNBA regular-season concluded on Sunday (September 15) and with the playoffs starting on Thursday (Sept 20), Ole Miss has ties to two playoff series. Former Ole Miss player and head coach, Carol Ross will lead the Los Angeles Sparks into the conference semifinals against the Phoenix Mercury while former Lady Rebel Armintie Price-Herrington and her Atlanta Dream squad will open semifinal action against the Washington Mystics. Both series get underway on Thursday (Sept. 19).

Los Angeles Sparks
Carol Ross' squad met the same Mercury squad to close the regular season on Sunday (Sept. 15) taking an 89-55 win as the teams split the regular-season series, 2-2.  Los Angeles is the No. 2 seed and hold home court advantage over the No. 3 seeded Mercury. The Mercury beat the Sparks 97-81 in Phoenix on June 14, and added a 90-84 victory on July 18. L.A.'s other win in the series, 88-76, was in Phoenix on July 14. The series schedule is below:

Date                                      Matchup                                              Time
Thurs .Sept. 19                 Phoenix at Los Angeles                 10 p.m. (ET) - ESPN2
Sat. Sept. 21                      Los Angeles at Phoenix                 10 p.m. (ET) - NBATV
Mon., Sept. 23                  Phoenix at Los Angeles*               10 p.m. (ET) - ESPN2
*Game if necessary

 

Atlanta Dream
Atlanta closed the regular-season on Sunday with a loss to the San Antonio Silver Stars. The Dream opened the regular-season series going 3-0 against the Mystics but Washington won the last two meetings, including an 85-80 overtime win on the road on Aug. 28. The Dream are the No. 2 seed and will have home court advantage should the series go to a third game. Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry is averaging 22.0 points per game. Price-Herrington enters the playoffs averaging 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game but did not play in the regular-season finale with a shoulder injury. The Dream have reached the WNBA Finals two of the last three years and are making their fifth playoff appearance.   

Date                                      Matchup                                              Time
Thurs .Sept. 19                  Washington at Atlanta                   8 p.m. (ET) - ESPN2
Sat. Sept. 21                      Atlanta at Washington                   7 p.m. (ET) - NBATV
Mon., Sept. 23                  Washington at Atlanta*                 TBA - NBATV
*Game if necessary

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