OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss Rebels women’s basketball team begins the 2018-19 season Friday afternoon with an exhibition against LeMoyne-Owen.
(Click here for “quick facts” about the Lady Rebels basketball team.)
When the team takes the court in The Pavilion today, they’ll do so with a new coach at the helm. Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, hired by Ole Miss in April, spent the past five seasons turning the Jacksonville women’s program into one that reached postseason play in three out of those 5 seasons.
When she was hired, McPhee-McCuin drew praise from Athletics Director Ross Bjork.
“Yolett McPhee-McCuin was born to teach and coach. As the daughter of legendary Bahamian basketball coach Gladstone ‘Moon’ McPhee and her mother a teacher, ‘Coach Yo’ has coaching and leadership running through her DNA. Throughout our search process, it became clear to us: Coach McCuin is a star in the making, and we better secure her leadership before another program does.”
Coach Yo era begins
The Lady Rebels and Coach Yo, as she is known, are looking to change the attitude and direction of the program in year one, and that quest starts in their exhibition game against LeMoyne-Owen.
Coach Yo spoke with media after Tuesday’s practice and discussed the upcoming season and what Rebel fans should expect from the this year’s team.
(Video credit: Archie Breland, The Rebel Walk)
On what people will see out of the team under the new coaching staff:
“I expect them to see kids that love the game. Kids that are excited and appreciative for the opportunity. And that comes from the top. There is not a day that goes by where I am not appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that I have. And we talk a lot about that as a unit. When you see them on the floor, they are going to look like they want to be there, and they are going to give 100 percent.”
On the goals for the 2018-2019 Lady Rebel Squad:
“The goals are long-term, so we have been setting a lot of little wins, which is what we are calling them. We have been talking about attitude, effort, demeanor, executing, and controlling the controllable.”
On the preseason expectations placed on her and the team as a whole:
“You can only go up from there. Just to get the kids to come out and compete for 40 minutes. I have never been a coach that has been worried about the wins and losses, even in our most successful seasons it has always been about the process and the things that we can control like playing hard and getting defensive stops, understanding what the game plan is and following through. That is the way that I am going to look at everything.”
This season’s Rebels will be made up of a staggering nine newcomers with only four veterans, and the main task at hand will be to continue to integrate the players and create a good chemistry throughout the team.
With that being said, the first-year head coach said on Tuesday she does not have a starting lineup in place, but we will find out soon enough as the season is hours away from commencing.
One name you can be sure will be announced with the starting lineup is senior Shandricka Sessom, a preseason second-team All-SEC pick. Sessom had been averaging 17.7 points per game last season but was sidelined with an ACL injury.
Ole Miss fans should be excited for what is to come from the new-look Lady Rebs. Go out and support them in the inaugural Coach Yo season.
Ole Miss vs LeMoyne-Owen at 3:00 p.m. (CT) on the SEC Network +