Forget Cinderella - the Ole Miss women’s basketball team proved on Sunday it can play with and beat any team in the nation.
One seed Stanford never led in a game on its home court as the Rebels made five extremely clutch free throws in the final minute to ice a 54-49 win. This is the first trip to the Sweet Sixteen for Ole Miss since 2007 and meanwhile broke a 15 year streak by Stanford of making the round of 16.
The defensive effort and rebounding for Ole Miss were clearly the difference in the game as the Rebels outrebounded the Cardinal 44-39 despite being undersized in the post. Stanford committed 21 turnovers from the dogged Rebel defense who just did not want to quit on this upset. Truly just an inspiring 40 minutes of basketball from Coach Yo’s squad.
Angel Baker led the way in scoring with 13 while Marquesha Davis chipped in 12 and Madison Scott dropped in 11 of her own. Two of the unsung heroes of the game though is Ayanna Thompson who went 3 of 4 from behind the arc and Rita Igbokwe who grabbed a team leading eight rebounds - both players coming up huge in the biggest game of the season.
I cannot remember an Ole Miss women’s hoops game from a social media standpoint that it seemed the bulk of the fanbase was watching and reacting to - from the biased announcer calls to the bad officiating or just comments about Stanford players. Everyone in red and blue was trying to will the Rebels across the finish line, and it was phenomenal to see.
Here’s why... Coach Yo has been building to this moment for five years. She took a program that went 0-16 in the SEC early on under her coaching to a damn Sweet Sixteen in just a few years time. What an unbelievable job for her and her staff - grab some cigars, cold beers, whatever and celebrate tonight.
There’s still a ton to play for, however, and it’s not over yet obviously. Texas or Louisville will advance Monday to play the Rebels on Friday with a chance to go to the Elite Eight. Elsewhere in the region there is 2-seed Iowa already advancing and a game between Duke and Colorado on Monday to decide who plays the Hawkeyes.
Hotty Damn Toddy - what a night to be a Rebel. Cheers!