Matt Insell looks to play freshman Torri Lewis more this season
Every time a screen was set for Ole Miss freshman guard Torri Lewis, she was able to get a great look at the rim. Each time she had one of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ defenders draped in her face, she didn’t back off and give it up. Instead, she spotted up with a quick release and nailed one three-pointer after another to bring the Rebels back to life on Sunday night.
Ole Miss Women’s head basketball coach Matt Insell was disappointed with his team’s defensive effort and lack of energy. He was even more baffled by the shot attempts that were being launched towards the basket. The Rebels were 11-of-34 from the field in the first half, staring at a 46-26 halftime deficit to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette—a team that was 6-of-10 from three-point range heading into the break.
Passion and points lead to court time for Lewis
So a lightbulb went off inside Insell’s head at halftime and he decided to go deep into his bench for some energy and passion—and he found it in Lewis. She did not disappoint, finishing with a team-high 20 points and shooting 6-of-7 from the 3-point line to lead Ole Miss (1-1) back from 20 points down, though the Rebels would eventually fall short to the Ragin’ Cajuns’ (1-0), 82-78.
In Insell’s mind, Lewis couldn’t do any worse than what he was seeing out on the court from his starters. Fortunately for Ole Miss, Lewis did much, much better.
“One thing that popped up in my head was Torri may get beat off the dribble, but what’s different? Everyone else was getting beat off the dribble, too,” Insell said. “And I’m going to get her out there, because she will at least give me passion. She’s at least going to give me energy. And you saw what she can do shooting the basketball,” he added.
Insell will look to insert Lewis into the lineup more often as he has a strong belief in her scoring ability. He knows Lewis, at times, could be faced with guarding a quicker shooter; however, the Rebels’ coach realizes the scenario and has placed a great deal of pressure on himself to find mismatches on each opponent Ole Miss will face this season in order for his 5-foot-11 guard out of Olive Branch, Mississippi to have success.
I don’t care if it’s the five, I’m going to figure out someone she can guard. Obviously you can see, she can shoot the basketball. She doesn’t need a lot of time to get it off. She doesn’t need a lot of space to get it off. That’s just her and she’s an incredible shooter.
Coach Matt Insell on Torri Lewis
Practice and preparation
After the game, teammate Bretta Hart did not appear surprised by what she has witnessed from Lewis—nor did Lewis, herself, seem shocked, since she takes over at least 100 shot attempts each day at practice. Insell recently witnessed her make 97 out of 100 on a shooting machine.
Lewis practices her jump shot each day at practice so she will be ready when her name is called for game-time action. Being prepared is what Lewis is all about.
“I think coach wants me to be ready, so I was ready to shoot,” Lewis said. “That’s what coach wanted, so I was ready to go.”
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.