Rebels lose to No. 1 South Carolina, await selection on Sunday

Ole Miss was knocked out of the SEC Tournament on Saturday at the hands of the top-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, 61-51. The Rebels will now take a little time and wait for their NCAA Tournament standings to be announced on Draft Sunday.

Angel Baker led Ole Miss with 20 points, but overall Ole Miss was challenged offensively throughout the contest. The rebels fired 34% from the field and 33% from three. 15 turnovers were also detrimental to the Rebels.

“We’re going to take some time off and we’re going to rest,” Ole Miss coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said. “Then we will start working on the moments of adversity. We are going to work on managing adverse situations because I don’t think we managed them well today.

South Carolina managed to pull away in the third quarter and extend their lead to 23 points going into the fourth. The Gamecocks used an effective attack and a dominating effort on the glass to stretch the lead, but Ole Miss was resilient. The Lady Rebels responded with a furious fourth quarter that saw the lead reduced to single digits before the Gamecocks eventually won by 10.

“I still thought the game was manageable, but when we came out in that third quarter, we were preparing to fold,” McPhee-McCuin said. “And we did for a little while. My whole conversation with them after that was that we have to fight like we belong to be here. We’re a six seed. They’re number one in the country. Show people what you’re made of. And that’s what people got to see the last 15 minutes of the game.

Ole Miss remains confident heading into her first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. According to ESPN sidekick Charlie Creme, the Rebels are projected as a six-seed.

“We are a confident group. We’re always trying to figure out how to grow in times of adversity,” McPhee-McCuin said. “It’s not like we weren’t confident. We won 23 games. No one has come down the chimney and given us those victories. We had to go win them. So we know we are capable, we just have to do a better job of responding.

Ole Miss’ next match will be announced March 13 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Martin E. Berry