ROAD WARRIORS: Travel-weary Rebels return home to host Auburn
Published 12:01 pm Thursday, February 11, 2016
The season has not gone quite according to plan for the Ole Miss women’s basketball team, but there is still a chance to salavage what is left.
After being selected to finish seventh in the Southeastern Conference by the media in the preseason poll, the Rebels are currently sitting one spot above the cellar and riding a four-game losing skid. They have lost eight of their last nine games. Their lone win was against then-No. 9 ranked Kentucky on Jan. 21.
There are six games left for Ole Miss (10-13, 2-6 SEC) to make some noise before the SEC tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.
If the Rebels are going to, they will have to start tonight when they host Auburn (6 p.m., SEC Network+).
“We got a lot more that we’re playing for than what our record is now,” Ole Miss coach Matt Insell said. “Just continuing to improve every day from where we’re at. There was a possibility this year could be like this because they’re so young and the way the SEC schedule sets up.”
The silver lining in the Rebels’ current situation is four of their final six games of the season will take place inside the friendly confines of the Pavilion, beginning with tonight’s matchup against Auburn (16-8, 6-5) and followed up with a Monday night matchup against No. 15 Texas A&M.
It is the first multiple-game homestand Ole Miss has had since a four-game stretch that went from Dec. 17 to Jan. 3.
Since then, six of the Rebels’ last nine games have been in someone else’s gym.
The other two home games will be back-to-back rematches against No. 11 Mississippi State and No. 2 South Carolina later this month.
“If we can get two wins at home, we can get right back in the thick of things to maybe finish in the top eight or nine in the league,” Insell said. “It seems like every week, we’re getting on a plane and going somewhere. You can’t really get in a rhythm when that happens. That’s part of playing in this league, and we know that.”
Just because the Rebels will be playing at home does not make the task at hand any easier as they are facing an Auburn team that has experienced a turnaround.
This time last season, the Tigers had not won a game in league play and were 0-13 in the SEC.
The two teams’ lone encounter last years a 51-46 win for the Rebels. Ole Miss is looking for its first consecutive wins over Auburn since winning three straight in 2006-07.
The Tigers come into tonight’s game riding a three-game winning streak, which includes wins on the road against LSU and Alabama.
Three players are averaging double figures for Auburn with Brandy Montgomery scoring 15.4 points per game followed by Tra’Cee Tanner and Katie Frerking with 12.6 and 12.2 points a game, respectively.
“(Auburn) is a team projected to be in the NCAA tournament,” Insell said. “They are a lot similar to what we are this year, they were last year with youth. They’ve got good guard play and probably one of the best post players in the league in Tanner. They’re going to play a different style.”