Coach Yo looks ahead to Rebels’ matchup against No. 5 LSU and No. 1 South Carolina
OXFORD – The Ole Miss women’s basketball team is heading for the final stretch of the season, and this stretch will be the toughest thus far, beginning with a matchup at No. 5 LSU this Thursday.
The last time the Rebels played on the road was the last time the team lost, a 65-51 defeat at the hands of Tennessee in Knoxville. It was also the first game that the Rebels played an opponent ahead of them in the SEC standings.
Rebel head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin expects this road test in Baton Rouge to be much different.
“Our group, we have to learn by experience,” McPhee-McCuin said at her press conference Wednesday. “First time [we played] a team ahead of us, we didn’t get off the bus in Knoxville. I expect us to get off the bus in Baton Rouge.”
Coach Yo said after Monday’s win over Kentucky that her team has nothing to lose against the Tigers. She is confident that the team’s body of work will lead to success.
“It’s February, you either know it or you don’t by now. [We are] not really pressed, we are just going to go out and compete.”
Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin
Coach Yo had high praises for the program that Kim Mulkey has built at LSU. A three-time national champion coach at Baylor, Mulkey has taken a team that finished 9-13 in 2020, the year before Mulkey took over at LSU, to a combined 49-7 record over her first two seasons.
“Coach Mulkey makes you believe you can fly,” McPhee-McCuin said. “All her players think they are the best in the country, and that, in my opinion, is a good thing. She lets them be free and believe what they want.”
One of Mulkey’s greatest assets on her team is LSU forward Angel Reese, a Maryland transfer who was a McDonald’s All-American and the No. 2 ranked player by ESPN in 2020. Her 23.2 points per game sit fifth in the country, and her 15.3 rebounds per game sit second in the country.
Coach Yo said that there really is no stopping Reese — which is where slowing down the rest of the team comes into play.
“What we have to do is try to not let her have her best game ever. We can handle her average. What we can’t handle is her average, Alexis [Morris’] average and the rest of the starting five’s average. We just want to defend, and y’all know we do that.”
Coach Yo on LSU star Angel Reese
The LSU contest is the start of a two-game stretch against top-five teams for the Rebels, as Dawn Staley and No. 1 South Carolina roll into Oxford this Sunday. Coach Yo said that these games are good measuring sticks.
“I am excited about the opportunity, and that is why I wanted to come to the SEC, to go up against legendary coaches like Coach Mulkey and Coach Staley. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Coach Yo on playing LSU and South Carolina
Coach Yo and the Rebels will start their final four-game pod this Thursday against the No. 5 LSU Tigers. Tipoff from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is set for 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.
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!