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Ole Miss defeats Mississippi College in exhibition

Matt Insell’s fifth season at Ole Miss got underway on Thursday and he got a taste of what his team will look like when the games count.

He did not like all that he saw.

The Rebels defeated Mississippi College 66-35 in exhibition play at the Pavilion at Ole Miss. They will kick off the regular season on Nov. 10 when they host Northwestern State in a doubleheader with the men’s team.

“It was good to get on the court against someone besides oursevles,” Insell said. “Give credit to Mississippi College. They came in here and played extremely hard. Played a lot harder than we did. That’s something that bothers me. I don’t know where our energy was and our enthusiasm about playing a game wasn’t there. We had a lot of kids playing scared and soft.”

Junior Madinah Muhammad led all scorers with 18 points and pulled down four rebounds. Senior Shandricka Sessom — who made second team Preseason All-SEC — scored seven points and had four rebounds.

While it was the first game of the season and first competition against someone other than themselves, the Rebels had sloppy play at times. Both teams combined for 62 turnovers with Ole Miss accounting for 25 of them.

“That’s just not having a true leader out there that’s a point guard,” Insell said of the turnovers. “That’s not having any kind of leadership on the basketball court. You got seniors just throwing (the ball) to the other team to start the game. …stuff we don’t do. We’ve got to figure out at that position what’s going on and we’ve got to get better at that position.”

Five newcomers made their Rebel debut on Thursday with Canadian native and Chipola College transfer Barbara Johnson scoring 13 points and pulling down nine boards. Freshman Promise Taylor scored 12 points and had six rebounds.

Pontotoc native and Itawamba Community College transfer Marlee Hatcher played five minutes and had one rebound.

“I thought Promise played timid and scared early but then she got to playing better late,” Insell said. “I think the more minutes she plays the better she’s going to be.”

Making her return from a season-ending injury last year Torri Lewis played 18 minutes and scored three points.