Head coach Matt Insell along with Ole Miss women’s basketball players Tia Faleru (Ozark, Ala.) and Danielle McCray (West Palm Beach, Fla.) represented the Rebels at the 2015 SEC Tipoff on Tuesday at the SEC Network Studios.
Coach Insell and the Rebels went through a carwash type day doing interviews with traditional press as well as doing television and radio interviews at the SEC Network Studios. One of the highlights was an on-court demonstration on a court setup outside the studios. Faleru and McCray showed ESPN’s Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson how they will use their post tandem this season.
Additionally, the players sat in on a panel with some of the most successful and influential women in basketball learning some lessons about options open to them after basketball both in the world of athletics and outside.
The 2015 SEC Tipoff was the first season of the carwash style media day and gave the women’s players and coaches ample coverage on the SEC Network as highlights from the day’s events aired on SEC Now.
During the event the All-SEC Media Poll was announced as well as the SEC Network’s women’s basketball commentators for the upcoming season.
Faleru and McCray each acknowledged that the Tipoff served as a very real reminder that the 2014-15 season is right around the corner.
“Today really gave me a reason as to why I go on the court and grind everyday,” said Faleru. “We have a lot to prove this season and I know that we’re up for the challenge.”
McCray thought the day was a learning experience.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” said McCray “The panel that we listened to taught me a lot of things that could help us later in life and not only in basketball.”
Insell shared his thoughts about his team entering the 2014-15 season.
“We’ve made a lot of progress.” Said Insell. “I think that anything is realistic for this team. I don’t’ really look at any other teams, but ours and I look at how we can be the very best we can be. We have eight newcomers and we’re a lot more talented from 1-13 than we were at this time last year. Right now I’m trying to figure out who’s going to play because they’re all competing at a very high level.
Our team this year reminds me of a team I coached at Kentucky six years ago. There is a lot of unknown, a lot of players who hadn’t done a lot in the league, but decided to have a great year. I see that with our roster and I see that in our players.”
Insell also talked about Tia Faleru, who returns as the leagues top returning scorer and rebounding after averaging 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds last season.
“Last year, she went in night in and night out and had double doubles all year. You have a player like Tia, whom you can build around and add in some young talented players with her — it’s exciting to think about what we can become. We’re not there yet, were still developing, but what we can become in January is really exciting.”
Last season, Insell and the Rebels became known for playing a fast up-tempo game and that isn’t something that’s going away.
“We’re going to play a really unique up-tempo style, very similar to what we did at Kentucky years ago,” said Insell. “It’s going be a lot of pressing and trying to create mismatches offensively and not playing small ball so much.”
The women’s team opens the 2014-15 regular season on Nov. 14. The women’s team will host Grambling in its annual School Kids Game at 11 a.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum while the men’s team will kick off its season at 6 p.m. against Charleston Southern. For ticket information go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).
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