Women’s basketball routs Lemoyne-Owen in exhibition

Posted on Nov 5 2018 - 5:50am by Jack Gentry

Ole Miss Women’s Basketball started off its season with a big 73-45 win in a home exhibition matchup with a scrappy Lemoyne-Owen team. While this win won’t show up on the record, it definitely is a confidence builder for Ole Miss as the team is set to begin regular season play at home versus Norfolk State on Tuesday.

Friday’s game marks the first time this Rebel team, which includes nine newcomers, has played in front of home fans. The energy was palpable on the defensive end as the Rebels held the Magicians scoreless up until the 5:35 mark in the first quarter. The defensive effort managed to overwhelm the Lady Magicians, which could only muster a 33.3 percent shooting percentage in the first half.

Crystal Allen dribbles the ball down court away from Lemoyne-Owen defenders during the team’s exhibition game on Friday. Ole Miss won the game 73-45. Photo by Christian Johnson

The Rebels scored three seconds in with a layup almost immediately following the tip and never looked back, racking up sixteen unanswered points to start the game. Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin and the team cruised into the locker room with a 42-15 lead after an impressive first half of basketball.

The Rebels turned in a balanced effort offensively as five players finished in double digits. La’Karis Salter, a redshirt senior who followed Coach McPhee-McCuin from Jacksonville, led the team with 12 points off the bench to go along with six assists and six rebounds. Mimi Reid and Crystal Allen dropped in 11 points each while handling most of the point guard duties, while Shandricka Sessom and Jhileiya Dunlap dropped in ten apiece.

Coach McPhee-McCuin was impressed with redshirt senior and University of Texas at Arlington transfer Crystal Allen’s effort in which all 11 of her points were scored in the first half.

“She never gets tired,” McPhee-McCuin said. “She’s just an Energizer bunny.”

This game also marked the return of star guard Shandricka Sessom, who is back after missing most of last year due to an ACL tear. Her 10 points were a welcome sight for the Rebel faithful as the preseason Second Team All-SEC player looks to have a big year on the hardwood.

“I expected her to do what she did, to be honest,” McPhee-McCuin said. “She will continue to get better as she gets a little bit more confident and stronger. She’s still at 85 percent right now.”

While this final tune-up essentially doesn’t count, this was a step in the right direction for McPhee-McCuin in her first year with a team of newcomers as the Rebels continue to build chemistry going forward.

“I knew what they were doing out there,” McPhee-McCuin said. “That was my biggest fear.”