Coach Yo led the Lady Rebels to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007- a massive feat for a program that has often been overlooked by outsiders and insiders alike. Coach even felt slighted by the national media when Candace Parker filled out her bracket, sending Ole Miss home in the first round:
Well, turns out that Parker was right. Ole Miss did not have a great showing during its return to the national stage. An early 13-0 run for South Dakota put them up 32-16, a lead that the Rebels were never able to overcome, despite admirable fight from the team.
So let’s take a look at one more 1-3-1 Report on the season.
1 Player of the Game
Angel Baker was the only player that really could get anything going all night. The thing about Angel is, she’s been here. Twice. She led Wright State alongside now Memphis head coach Katrina Merriweather to the schools only back to back NCAA Tournament appearances in school history. The moment was not too big for her and it showed with her game high 23 points.
Baker is hopefully evidence, alongside Shakira Austin, that a few impact players can come in and make a difference in the SEC playing for Coach Yo at Ole Miss going forward.
3 Key Stats
13 - That is how many shots Shakira Austin missed in the game. The superstar center went 3-16 for 9 points on the biggest stage in the sport. Often times, she was forcing shots up out of frustration due to the defense South Dakota was throwing at her. Tough final outing for the future WNBA player. (One more year please?)
16.8 - The shooting % discrepancy between the two squads. What's crazy is that the Rebels made the same amount of threes (6) as their opponent on a better percentage (60%!!!!). Looking at the box score, almost every category is a wash, until you look at FG% where South Dakota shot 55.8% to the Rebels 39%. Nervous jitters perhaps?
20 - South Dakota center Hannah Sjerven scored 20 points on 7-7 shooting from the field. Her primary defender? Shakira Austin. Sadly, at times, the frustrating offensive night from Austin affected her defensive effort. From not sprinting on a rotation, to just wildly hacking attempting to block a shot, it was simply not her best effort, allowing her matchup to dominate the game at times.
1 Important Observation
The book was out on Ole Miss. The scouting report was rather easy. Make someone other than Shakira beat you. South Dakota deployed a pack line man to man defense to take the Lady Rebels out of their game. In a pack line, defenders two passes away over help off their man, while players one pass away are playing passing/driving lanes. The idea is to pack the paint with defenders so that guards cannot get paint entry and double, or even triple teams can be thrown at the big on the catch.
The Lady Rebels do not possess the firepower to knock down threes at a high clip with volume. Perhaps they should have shot more than 10 due to their 60% shooting on the night, but that is simply not where the succeed. The observation from this game is that Coach Yo has to surround Madison Scott with shooters next season. Having at least one sniper from the outside changes the way a team defends another.