By Adam Brown
Ole Miss is headed to the Women’s NIT Championship after a 60-50 win over Northern Iowa on Friday night. The Rebels play Rice, which beat Delaware to advance, on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Collierville, Tenn.
“Tough game, very tough game,” head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said. “Their offense is so complicated. They made us empty the tank defensively so didn’t have much offensively. I am really proud of our team win.”
Ole Miss (15-11) was led in the game by Shakira Austin with 18 points against the Panthers. Her teammate Madison Scott had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
McPhee-McCuin made her return to the bench in this game following a positive test with COVID-19. She had missed the first two WNIT victories.
“Amazing (to be back on the court),” McPhee-McCuin said. “It felt really good to be back.”
Ole Miss outhustled the Panthers on the boards by outrebounding them 41-23.
“I knew it would have to be an incredible defensive and rebounding effort for us,” McPhee-McCuin said. “I wanted to get to 45 rebounds and to hold a team like this to 50 points.”
Northern Iowa was led on the floor by Karli Rucker with 16 points.
Ole Miss held UNI to only 31.6 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Panthers, who came in averaging 8.3 three-pointers a game, against the Rebels only knocked down 6-of-22.
Ole Miss got to the free-throw line 20 times and converted 13 at 65 percent.
The Rebels play for the WNIT Championship for the first time on Sunday when they meet Rice.
“I know that this experience has been phenomenal,” McPhee-McCuin said. “It’s incredible for my team to get the experience that they have been getting. I am so proud of them and it is exactly what we need to springboard where we want to go.”
The championship Sunday at 1 p.m. will be on FloHoops. Follow @HottyToddySprts for in-game coverage and live updates. The game can also be heard on FM 105.1 in north Mississippi.