McPhee-McCuin and Lady Rebels fall short

Yolett McPhee-McCuin

Yolett McPhee-McCuin

As of Tuesday, February 21, 2023


#Senior Sports Reporter

#Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin and her University of Mississippi Lady Rebels had their chances in regulation on Sunday, but they blew it and lost in overtime as the NCAA top-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks stayed undefeated.

#Playing before a record crowd of 65,630 fans at The Pavilion at Ole Miss, the Lady Rebels managed to close out the regulation tied at 55-55, but in the extra five minutes, they couldn’t contain South Carolina, who went on to secure a 64-57 win. While the Gamecocks, coached by Dawn Staley, improved to 27-0 overall and 14-0 and need one more win at Tennessee on Thursday to clinch the Southwestern Conference (SEC) regular season title, McPhee-McCuin and her Lady Rebels are 20-6 and 9-4 with two more games to play this week to at least match or improve on their 10th SEC winning season last year.

#“I think it was great. They’re the number one team in the nation. A lot of people have tried to take them down and have been unsuccessful,” said McPhee-McCuin of the live nationally televised game.

#“We had a chance to take them down in regulation, but just couldn’t figure it out. “It’s a learning experience for us and we will only get better as a result of it.”

#With Ole Miss scheduled to play Missouri at 7pm on Thursday and close out their regular season on Sunday against Alabama, McPhee-McCuin said they are on the verge of surpassing last year’s 10-6 SEC season. “It’s been great. I think we are playing good basketball, but not our best basketball yet,” she said.

#As they work on getting to that level, McPhee-McCuin said if they are more efficient on the offensive end scoring the baskets rather than making the costly turnovers, as they did against South Carolina, they will be right where she wants them to be.

#“We have to be able to capitalise on our free throw shooting or a two-on-one situation and stuff like that. So I would like to see us do that.

#“If we do that, we will be in good shape. Defensively, we’re one of the best in the country. We just need our offence to start catching up.”

#Following in the footsteps of her legendary basketball coach Gladstone ‘Moon’ McPhee, McPhee- McCuin said she was quite pleased to hear the compliments she continues to receive from the media and her peers as they consider her to be one of the top coaches in the NCAA.

#“I think it’s well earned. There’s been a lot of work put into this,” McPhee- McCuin said.

#“I come from a coaching tree, so it’s pretty cool. But I work hard every day. I’m humble. I learn a lot. I’m a student of the game and for us to go back-to-back 20-plus seasons and go to the NCAA Tournament is a blessing.”

#This is the 18th year for McPhee-McCuin as a coach after she made the transition from playing as a point guard.

#She is now in her 10th year as a head coach and the fifth at Ole Miss, having just signed on a four-year deal.

#“You know they will have to run me my money after this season right,” McPhee-McCuin joked.

#McPhee-McCuin is even more excited about what next season holds as she will get the opportunity to coach her second Bahamian player in Rhema Collins, who will be joining Ole Miss after completing her high school career at Weber School.

#“We’re really excited about Rhema and what she will be bringing to Ole Miss,” said McPhee- McCuin, who a few years ago coached point guard Valerie Nesbitt on her Lady Rebels’ team.

#“You haven’t seen her best performances yet. Rhema is a special talent and honestly, I think her best talent is ahead of her. I don’t think you have seen the best of her yet.

#“We hope to help bring that out of her when she comes.”

#With Collins being on the team, McPhee-McCuin hopes to come back home in November to play in a tournament at Atlantis, similar to what they did last November when they played in a tournament at Baha Mar.

#On Saturday, Collins helped Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, clinch their third regional championship title.

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