Insell confident Ole Miss shots will begin to fall
Head coach Matt Insell realizes missed shots have plagued his Ole Miss women’s basketball team this season and kept them from notching some key wins in the Southeastern Conference. He also realizes there’s not much that can be done—except to keep shooting until the shots start falling–and remains confident his young team will continue to improve.
Insell saw the shots fall – 41.2 percent of them – in the Rebels’ 73-65 home win over Kentucky back on Jan. 21, but hasn’t seen as many hit their mark since. And in Sunday’s 61-50 loss to then-No. 14 Mississippi State, the shooting woes continued.
As a team, Ole Miss (10-17, 2-12) shot 26.3 percent (15-for-57) from the field and missed on 11 of 14 three-point attempts.
“We are just not making shots; that’s just the story of who we are right now,” Insell said. “We played real hard; we have a chance to win games. We are just not making shots. We are one player away from being pretty good.
“That’s just the process right now of building our program. We will continue to grow.”
For the most part on Sunday, the Rebels were side-by-side with the Bulldogs (22-6, 9-5) in the second meeting between the two historic programs. Ole Miss had twice cut Mississippi State’s lead to five: 23-18 at the 2:55 mark of the second quarter and 45-40 with 8:37 to go in the game.
Yet, when it was time for the Rebels to match the Bulldogs’ scoring attack, Ole Miss couldn’t quite get over the hump. Mississippi State’s leading scorer – Victoria Vivians – made big shots down the stretch during a 7-0 run midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Bulldogs a 52-40 lead.
Vivians’ dominance began with a 17-footer from the left side of the free throw line. Then it was followed with a banked 3-pointer from the right corner that silenced the Rebels and fired up the Mississippi State fans who filled the lower level behind the Bulldogs’ bench.
“We need Tori and that’s the bottom line,” Mississippi State’s coach Vic Schaefer said about Vivians, who went 10 of 18 from the field and added 10 rebounds. “Tori knows when she steps on the floor for us, she has to play well.”
After the game, Coach Insell compared Vivians to Ole Miss men’s basketball senior guard Stefan Moody. “We were there; she made a shot. We were there on all three tough shots she made late,” he said. “Every time we cut it to five, she made a shot. That’s what great players do. She makes real tough shots and that’s why they are successful.
“We got to get to that point when we make tough shots.”
The Rebels have two games remaining in the 2015 season. They will face No. 3 South Carolina (8:00 p.m. CT, SEC Network) at home on Thursday and finish the season out at Arkansas (3:00 p.m. CT, SEC Network) on Sunday.
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)