Ole Miss Women’s head basketball coach Matt Insell has a great deal of faith that sophomore guard Shandricka Sessom will be one of the top scorers this season in the Southeastern Conference. He has so much faith that he’s pushing her to the limit each day in practice.
Insell’s time and effort with Sessom were obviously rewarded in the Rebels’ 97-61 season-opening win over Mississippi Valley State on Friday afternoon, where fans had a chance to see Sessom rip apart a Lady Devilettes’ team that had no solution for her assertive movements to the paint.
Sessom’s performance comes as no shocker to Insell as he saw the 5-foot-10 guard from Byhalia, Mississippi display her scoring power last season against MVSU, scoring 21 points, adding nine rebounds and five steals to her stats line.
Before the season opener, Sessom’s 21 points from a year ago was a career high, but she surpassed that with her 24-point performance against the Lady Devilettes (0-1).
Coach Insell makes it clear he wants her to be a chief on the court and demand the basketball when she has an advantage on her defender.
“I wasn’t surprised by anything Shandricka (Sessom) did,” Insell said following the win over Mississippi Valley State. “I see her do it every day at practice. I think she’s one of the most talented players in our league. She’s a sophomore. She’s going to have good days; she’s going to have bad days. I have to have patience with her from time to time, because I want more, more and more.”
But as she continues to go, the sky is her limit. There’s really not a limit for her and how good she can be. One day, she can be the player of the year in this league. That’s how talented she is. One of her problems is she’s too nice from time to time and she wants everyone else to score.
Coach Matt Insell on Shandricka Sessom
It’s evident that this year’s young, athletic bunch will not have an issue scoring the basketball as it surpassed last season’s scoring total (91) against MVSU. Outside of Sessom, Ole Miss (1-0) has a number of players who can make basekts at will. The Rebels have two of their four leading scorers from a season ago back on the roster, junior guard Erika Sisk and sophomore guard A’Queen Hayes.
Sisk and Hayes combined for 21 points on 8-of-24 shooting against the Lady Devilettes. Kelsey Briggs and Alissa Alston each had 12 points, but it was Sessom who stole the show—and she had no problem carrying an offense that struggled in the first half against MVSU, going 13-of-45 from the field.
Sessom was 9-for-19 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. She also had six rebounds and three assists.
“I just felt comfortable and how I work in practice, it came in the game,” Sessom said.
Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics