Prior to the start of Friday’s debut, Ole Miss received a technical foul due to not turning in their starting lineup to the officiating crew on time. While the first-game hiccup — which resulted in Southeastern Louisiana converting 1 of 2 free throws — was possibly a little embarrassing, the Lady Rebels rebounded to claim a 95-85 victory.
“I don’t know, does the technical say anything to you?” Frank joked after being asked if there were any pre-game jitters. “I tell you what, that’s always going to be a great story. We have decided to embrace it and go with it. We’re kind of superstitious so we’re trying to decide if we should go ahead and get a technical the next game. … I think we’re going to pass on that and go ahead and get it right the next time.”
Frank added: ”I think it was more adrenaline and excitement than it was nerves. We were just so ready to get on the court and play somebody besides ourselves and they were looking forward to having a distraction where they could really focus their energy so it was great.”
Frank has said all along he wants his team to get up and down the court, push the tempo on offense and press teams defensively. Friday’s game, however, was reduced to a stop-and-go pace due to 61 total fouls, 32 of which were charged to Ole Miss (1-0 overall).
“We’ve said from Day 1 we’re going to play with a ton of pace and really push the ball up and down the floor,” Frank said. “When we foul it really takes away from our game because it stops the clock and we really can’t wear anybody down. It prevents us from getting into the rhythm we want to and it allows our opponent to get breathers. We want to try to avoid fouls and stoppages in play.”
In order to cut down on the fouls — some of which were possibly due to first-game jitters — Frank said the girls must do a little of everything.
“It’s partly technique, it’s partly form and part of it is they have to understand our goal is to finish dead last in the SEC in blocked shots,” Frank said. “We don’t care if we ever block a shot. If you contest a shot, 80 percent of the shots you contest are going to be missed. We don’t care about a blocked shot, we just want to have a hand up to contest shots.
“I think five of our first seven fouls were on the shot, so we gave away 10 free throws where we weren’t even in the bonus and that’s what you can’t do.”
MORE FROM MOORE: While Ole Miss had an up-and-down debut collectively, one newcomer who looked like a veteran was junior college transfer Diara Moore. The former Kansas signee scored a game-high 25 points in 32 minutes.
“Leading up to the game there weren’t really any jitters because it wasn’t my first Division I game,” Moore said, “so I was just excited to get out there and play with my team because we’ve been working really hard for the past two-and-a-half months.”
The offseason has been a difficult one for most everyone involved. Friday, Moore said, was nice as the Lady Rebs were able to finally focus on actual basketball.
“That was a really big relief just because of all the stuff we have been through,” she said. “It feels good to just start playing and let people start seeing us and how we’ve been working up until this point.”
Below is Ole Miss’ video from the post-game press conference.
Ole Miss will return to the court Friday, hosting Northwestern State at 11 a.m. in the annual Kid’s Day Game.
Checkout Thursday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE for more from Tuesday’s interview session. (November 13, 2012)