BLOG — The Ole Miss women’s basketball team improved to 2-4 under first-year coach Matt Insell with a 96-69 victory over Southeastern Louisiana Friday night at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.
The Lady Rebels only led by eight at the half but exploded for 63 points in the final 20 minutes. Ole Miss opened the second half on a 7-0 run and then scored the next five points out of a Southeastern timeout to take control with a 45-25 advantage.
The Lady Rebels shot 55 percent in the second half and 51 percent for the game. Ole Miss also found its stroke from beyond the arc in the second half, hitting six 3-pointers after making none in the first.
Patience was the key to the change in offensive production, Insell said.
“We’re not a bad shooting basketball team. We’ve been shooting horrendous percentages, but you come out tonight for the game and shoot 51 percent because we slowed down,” Insell said. “That’s the big thing I’ve been telling them at practice — slow down at the rim, concentrate, explode up and make it, and when you get an open 3, slow down and just shoot the basketball.”
Valencia McFarland led five scorers in double figures for Ole Miss with 20 points. Tia Faleru recorded her second straight double-double, putting in 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Diara Moore had 17 points while Danielle McCray scored 12 in her first start. Kenyotta Jenkins chipped in 11.
Both Insell and Faleru admitted the two have heated exchanges in practice, but it’s only to get the junior playing at the level Insell feels she’s capable of on a consistent basis. Faleru said it’s paying off as of late.
“In the second half, he told me — well threatened me as always — that I had two minutes to show him that I wanted to play, so I came out, made some steals, got around, got my team going,” Faleru said with a smile. “Once I get my team going, I get myself going because I have more confidence.”
The win snapped a four game losing streak, including a trio of setbacks in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu last weekend.
“This is a process, and we know this is a process,” Insell said. “Our record is not what we want, and we know that, but we’re getting better. We got better in Hawaii. … We’re a lot better team today than we were Sunday against Washington State, and we’re a lot better team today than we were Saturday against against Hawaii.”
More of Insell’s postgame comments are in the video below.
(November 22, 2013)