Resilient Rebels win opener

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Brett Frank, the acting coach for Ole Miss women’s basketball, described the last three weeks as a roller coaster but said the chemistry the Rebels have developed was put on display in their season opener.
The Ole Miss women shook off a slow start to turn back Southeastern Louisiana 95-85 in the first game of a season-opening doubleheader at Tad Smith Coliseum Friday.
The Ole Miss men defeated Mississippi Valley State 93-57 in the second contest.
For the ladies, the roller coaster began when their head coach and two assistants were fired amid charges of recruiting and academic violations.
Earlier Friday Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork announced a self-imposed postseason ban and said more penalties will follow.
“That’s something they were aware was coming. This wasn’t a shock to them. Knowing that, they came out and competed just as hard as if they were in the mix for a postseason berth,” Frank said.
Southeastern Louisiana, now 0-15 in the series, led by as many six points in the first half.
Ole Miss tied the game with two free throws by former Tupelo standout Maggie McFerrin with 59 seconds left and went on to lead 46-42 at the break.
The Rebels did not trail in the second half.
Junior guard Diara Moore led Ole Miss with 25 points, and McFerrin added eight points and three assists in 21 minutes off the bench.
There have been ups and downs and a little bit of everything in between. The most exciting thing has been the resiliency of this group. This team has been absolutely amazing. They’ve bonded together. They’ve become such a close family, such a close-knit group.
(M)Ole miss 93, MVSU 57: Rebels coach Andy Kennedy used 11 players in the first half.
One of them, guard Marshall Henderson, hit double figures with 13 points as Ole Miss took a 44-21 lead at the break.
He went on to score a game-high 22 points going 6-for-12 from the floor, 5-for-11 from 3-point range.
Henderson hit 3-pointers on three-straight possessions in the second half to push the lead to 59-26.
Three other players reached double figures, Murphy Holloway with 15, Martavious Newby with 11 and Reggie Buckner with 10.
Ole Miss (1-0) shot 39.7 percent from the floor and held the Delta Devils (0-1) to 21.4 percent in the first half.
The Rebels had a 54-43 rebounding edge and shot 25-for-39 from the free throw line.
parrish.alford@journalinc.com