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Ole Miss women drop first SEC contest of the season 63-58 to Alabama

Rebels are now 16-3 (5-1) on the season

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament Semifinals-South Carolina vs Mississippi Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to start its SEC slate off 6-0, Coach Yo and the Ole Miss Rebels could not slow down Lightning Loyal McQueen, losing 63-58 early Sunday evening to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Rebels have a certain formula that has made them successful this season, starting 16-2 and 5-0 in conference play. Ole Miss was the 7th best defense in the nation before this contest, surrendering 51.8 points per contest. Unfortunately, the Rebels are not even a top 75 offense in the country, averaging 71.8 points per contest.

Its +20 scoring margin is good for 12th in the nation. How do they do it? The Rebels are 16th in rebounding margin, out rebounding opponents by almost 10 rebounds per contest and hold their opponents to 34.2% shooting on average, good for 12th in the nation.

By several metrics, unranked Ole Miss looks like a top 25 team on paper. However, Alabama exposed a severe weakness in this Rebel squad. While the defense did its job holding the Crimson Tide to 35% shooting, the Rebel offense was limited to its second lowest point total of the season thanks to 32% shooting.

The formula for Coach Yo is stifling defense, get up the floor in a hurry and score early in possessions. Outside of Snudda Collins, there is not a player on the roster with a whole lot of gravity on the perimeter.

Coach Curry at Alabama had her group prepared. Missing almost 30 points per game from her lineup, she knew what Ole Miss wanted to do and she took it away. Want to beat the Rebs... force them to shoot jumpers and be awesome in transition defense.

Ole Miss won the rebounding battle, but were quite simply outplayed in every other facet of the game. Texas A&M and Alabama are responsible for Ole Miss’ two lowest scores on the season and both made runs in the second quarters of their games when they threw a 2-3 zone at the Rebels. Forcing either Ole Miss basketball program to beat you with jump shots is a sound strategy as conference play progresses.

The Rebels had plenty of chances at the rim, especially in the third quarter, but it simply was not their night. Madison Scott did post an 11 point 14 rebound double-double. Destiny Salary chipped in 16 and hopefully her injury is not too serious for the Rebels.

The good news? Its a slight bump on their road as they are surely on their way to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. Also, rather than blaming her players and stating that the solution is “make more shots”, Coach Yo took to social media and accepted responsibility for the performance, as a good leader does.

Look for the ladies to bounce back next Sunday against Auburn.