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Women’s Basketball Relevant Again at Ole Miss

Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

In year two of the Matt Insell era at Ole Miss, the Rebels are 17-11 with one game to go and are poised to make it to a postseason tournament for the first time since 2007.

With one game left in the regular season, Insell told reporters Thursday that his success comes from the foundation laid by his three seniors, Tia Faleru, Danielle McCray and Amber Singletary.

“Those three kids bought in, and had eight newcomers that they convinced to buy in,” Insell said. “This program is going in the direction it’s going in because of those three seniors.”

Insell told reporters that Ole Miss will win a conference championship while he’s here, and when that happens his 2015 seniors will get championship rings.

The Rebels finished the 2014 season at 12-20 with two wins in conference play and a year later they sit at 17-11 with seven wins in just the second year under the new coaching staff. Ole Miss looks for their 18th win Sunday at Mississippi State, and are poised to make their best start since the 2006-07 season when newly named SEC Legend Armintie Price was on the team. That 2006-07 season was the last time Ole Miss went to the NCAA Tournament, and Insell thinks they’ve done enough to get there this season.

“The problem we have here is the RPI, and we don’t have a good RPI,” Insell said. “I really hope the NCAA looks at the eye-test for Ole Miss, because if they see us play we’re in.”

Realistically, the Rebels will likely end up on the outside looking in when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but the university has submitted a bid to host part of the National Invitational Tournament. Participants in the NIT are the teams that just missed the full field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament.

When Insell was hired at Ole Miss, Athletics Director Ross Bjork spoke very highly of the Rebels coach, and looks forward to the staff’s future success.

“Being a part of the rebuilding job at Kentucky enabled Coach Insell to gain the necessary requirements needed of our new staff we recapture the legacy that is Lady Rebel Basketball,” Bjork said. “He is the perfect fit to make this happen and we are excited he is joining our team.”

Fans are joining in on the excitement now that the program is back on track to its winning ways. “It’s a good thing we have two basketball programs again,” junior business major Blake Cocanougher said.

It’s been a long road for the Rebels, and with their recent success fans are starting to take notice. “My freshman year, the women’s basketball program at Ole Miss was forgettable, and it’s great to see their new found success,” Cocanougher added.

Highlights this season for Coach Insell and the team include a tournament victory in Nevada, and wins over major SEC programs like Georgia, Kentucky and LSU. No matter how the season ends, the Rebels are on track to having their best finish in nearly a decade.

 

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