Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Starts 4-0 for First Time Since 2016

OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) – The Ole Miss women’s basketball team used a dominant second half to pull away from Mississippi Valley State, riding three superb outings from newcomers to an 86-46 victory at The Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

The Rebels (4-0) never trailed the Devilettes (0-3) on Saturday, and have only trailed for just 3:41 all season en route to Ole Miss’ first 4-0 start since 2016-17. One of the nation’s youngest rosters continued to show up and show out, scoring 66 of 86 points to push their season percentage to 79.9 percent of all scoring, highlighted by double-digit outings from Shakira Austin (19), Madison Scott (17) and Donnetta Johnson (14).

Furthermore, the Ole Miss defense shined bright as well, holding MVSU to just 31 percent shooting from the field and 21 points in the second half. The Rebels also tallied season-highs in steals (19; most since 2016) and turnovers forced (28; most since 2019).

The Rebels have stymied opponents to 60 points or fewer in each of its first four games for just the second time in program history, and the first time since the 1975-76 season – the second year of the Ole Miss women’s basketball program.

“Grateful for the opportunity we had to play this game. I don’t take it for granted. I understand the environment we’re in,” said Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. “Happy with our defensive effort in the second half.”

The Rebel trio of Austin, Johnson and Scott were especially prolific in the second half, helping Ole Miss shoot 62.5 percent from the field and scoring a combined 34 of Ole Miss’ 54 second-half points. Austin led all scorers with her 19 points alongside five rebounds and five blocks, an Ole Miss high in points and blocks for the junior who has now scored in double-digits in 39 career games.

Freshman Madison Scott was right behind her with 17 points and eight rebounds, continuing her hot start to the season and her career as an Ole Miss Rebel with her third double-digit game and her third straight game of at least seven boards.

“First few games have been good,” Scott said. “A lot of nerves from my end with adjusting. It’s been really exciting to compete with my sisters. We’re going to continue to get better and prepare for SEC play.”

Donnetta Johnson finished with 14 points, her fourth straight double-digit game to start the season. As a team, the Rebels shot 49 percent from the floor, scored 24 points off 28 turnovers, received 25 points off the bench and had 10 different Rebels contribute to the scoreboard.

From the opening tip, Ole Miss wasted little time, creating a big lead and sharing the basketball to jump out to an 11-0 lead just three minutes into the first quarter. Eight of those points came from the paint, including three more from Taylor Smith (five points) beyond the arc. However, the Devilettes countered with a big run of their own late in the first quarter, which resulted in a 21-15 Rebel lead after 10 minutes.

The Rebels cranked up the man-to-man pressure to begin the second quarter and forced five turnovers within the first three minutes. Shots were also falling en route to yet another 11-0 run, giving Ole Miss a 12-point lead before MVSU called timeout. The Rebels would extend an opponent scoring drought that lasted nearly four minutes, but they again would go cold offensively and close the half with a 32-25 lead.

To begin the third quarter, the Rebels utilized a little half-court pressure and came out rolling. Two minutes in, Ole Miss rattled off a 7-0 run, doubling its halftime lead at 14. The Rebels opened up a 22-point spread, their largest lead of the afternoon, giving them a 57-35 lead after three complete. Ole Miss would not be denied from that point on, scoring 16 straight to begin the fourth quarter, all but wrapping up its fourth straight win.

The Rebels will back in action at The Pavilion on December 15 against Jackson State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and can be seen on SEC Network+.



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