Coach Yo and Madison Scott talk Rebels’ recent struggles, upcoming game against Mississippi State
OXFORD, Miss. – Head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin and the Rebel women’s basketball team have lost two games in a row as they head into their matchup against Mississippi State this Thursday. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season.
The first matchup against the Bulldogs finished as a 61-50 victory for the Rebels in Starkville on New Year’s Day, which marked the second of the five Ole Miss wins to start SEC play. Now, the Rebels look to complete the season sweep of the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Coach Yo has emphasized a “pod” system to divide the season into four games apiece. The Rebels are currently 1-2 in the current pod, and the goal for every pod is to be at least 2-2.
This system has helped keep the players grounded, and it has helped Coach Yo manage her team over these losses. She discussed her team’s record at a Wednesday press conference.
“I know that every team that does not have five wins in the SEC right now would love to have five wins. We’ve done work early to put us in a situation where we don’t need to panic. Our goal is the NCAA Tournament, so we’ve got to continue to take things one game at a time.”
Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin
The Rebels currently sit 16-4 and 5-2 in the SEC, which is fourth place behind 8-0 South Carolina, 8-0 LSU, and 8-0 Tennessee. Ole Miss will play each of those teams in February, with Tennessee and LSU being on the road.
Coach Yo explained a big Achilles heel her team has dealt with in the past two games that needs to be fixed to get back on the winning track.
“One of the issues we’ve been having lately is foul trouble and not being able to use our depth in the way that we want. That has been a focus for us.”
Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin
In their 77-76 overtime loss to Auburn, the Rebels had four starters play 40 minutes or more, something Coach Yo said was a direct factor in the loss. She said focus and discipline will help solve the foul trouble issues.
Coach Yo also said that the loss to Alabama on January 15th played a big role in the struggles against Auburn last Sunday.
“I almost like to think that Alabama beat us twice,” McPhee-McCuin said. “I just think we never recovered.”
Forward Madison Scott has been one of the leaders on this team all year. She explained that she, Snudda Collins, and Jordan Berry have been on the losing side before, so they focus on keeping morale high in the locker room.
“We have people that have experienced setbacks before. We are trying to be that encouragement for the team. Everything is still in line, and we can still achieve everything we want to achieve and more.”
Ole Miss forward Madison Scott
Heading into the Mississippi State game, Coach Yo hopes to see the same togetherness she saw in the early January victory over the Bulldogs translate to the game Thursday in Oxford.
“That win got us going because the environment was so wild. They jumped on us right away, and we kept our composure. I just really watched our team grow up. We stayed together for 40 minutes, and that’s what we will have to do again.”
Coach Yo on the first game this season against State
Scott said that the team is excited to get back in the win column against their in-state rival.
“There is going to be a lot of emotions, but it’s going to be good emotions,” Scott said. “We are excited, especially because we just dropped these last two games. We are very very very juiced up. We are amped up. We are really going to try and be intentional about playing the Ole Miss way so we can finish tomorrow 1-0.”
Coach Yo, Madison Scott, and the Rebels will look to get win No. 6 in the conference this Thursday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Tipoff at the SJB Pavilion in Oxford is set for 8 p.m. on the SEC Network.
(Feature image credit: Reed Jones, Ole Miss)
Trevor is a senior at Ole Miss pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Communication and Promotion. He has previous experience covering sports for another site, including a variety of Ole Miss sports. Growing up in New Orleans, La., he has the Pelicans and Saints running through his blood. He also grew up in an LSU family, but his love for Ole Miss continues to grow. Trevor hopes to cover sports back in his hometown after college. Laissez les bons temps rouler!