Rebels face tough early season test

Rebels face tough early season test
Yolett McPhee-McCuin. (Photo credit: Sportscenter.com)

Yolett McPhee-Mcuinn’s first major test as head coach of the University of Mississippi’s (Ole Miss) women’s basketball team will come in November, in the U.S. Virgin Islands 2018 Women’s Paradise Jam.

Over the course of the tournament, the Rebels will face the University of Connecticut (November 22), Purdue (November 23) and St. John’s University (November 24).

Connecticut finished last season with a 36-1 overall record and went into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed for the 10th year in a row. Purdue finished 20-14, and made it to the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), while St. John’s ended the year 19-15 and made it to the quarterfinal of the WNIT tournament.

McPhee-McCuin has been entrusted with the responsibility of rejuvenating the Rebels program. Ole Miss finished 12-19 overall and just 1-15 in the conference.

In a recent interview, the Grand Bahama native said, she fully understood what she was inheriting as Ole Miss’ new women’s basketball coach.

“You spend any time with me, you’re going to realize I don’t have any problem rolling up my sleeves,” McPhee-McCuin said.

“There’s no job that’s too big or too small. I’m a fierce competitor.

“I’m going to give you everything that I have. There is no coach in the country that’s going to outwork me. I truly believe there’s no opportunity here to be successful, but it takes work.”

McPhee-McCuin went 94-63 at Jacksonville and finished her tenure leading the Dolphins to three straight 20-win seasons, and three consecutive postseason appearances. Jacksonville, which had just two 20-win seasons in its history before McPhee-McCuin arrived in 2013, made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history in 2016, by winning its first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure that we are known as one of the elite programs in the state,” McPhee-McCuin said.

“How are we going to do that? By being better every day and just focusing on our process, our journey and what that looks like for us so that ultimately the goal is not to compete in the state but just nationally.”