Ole Miss women’s basketball earned a program-best sixth place slot in the SEC Preseason Coaches Poll, while Shakira Austin earned another honor as a member of the Preseason All-SEC First-Team, as voted on by the SEC coaches and released on Tuesday morning.
Sixth is the highest preseason ranking by the coaches since the SEC Coaches Poll began predicting order of finish in 2007-08, and the best overall since being picked fifth in the 2005-06 media poll. Ole Miss was also picked to finish eighth in the SEC Preseason Media Poll last week, its best in that poll since 2015-16. Associated Press No. 1 and media poll favorite South Carolina was picked to win by the coaches, and was followed by No. 23 Texas A&M, No. 15 Tennessee, Georgia and No. 13 Kentucky. Ole Miss received one vote in the AP Preseason Poll released last Tuesday.
This is the second appearance on the coaches preseason All-SEC team for Austin after a Second-Team showing last season prior to ever playing a minute in a Rebel uniform. Austin was also named Preseason All-SEC by the media last week. Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard was again chosen as Preseason Player of the Year, and Austin was also joined on the First-Team by Florida’s Lavender Briggs, LSU’s Khayla Pointer, Mississippi State’s Rickea Jackson, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke, and Tennessee’s Rae Burrell.
Coaches cannot vote for their own team or players and ties are not broken.
Ole Miss women’s basketball is coming off a historic postseason run last year, and the Rebels will return a star-studded roster in 2021-22 for Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s fourth season as head coach. Leading that charge will be Austin, who dominated in her first season at Ole Miss, winning the C Spire Gillom Trophy while also earning Honorable Mention All-America, First-Team All-SEC, and she was also named a member of the Lisa Leslie Top-10 list.
Austin will be joined by the likes of reigning SEC Freshman of the Year, Madison Scott, and SEC All-Freshman member, Snudda Collins, as well as returning stalwarts Donnetta Johnson and Mimi Reid. This year they are also joined by highly-touted newcomers like Angel Baker and Lashonda Monk. Ole Miss went 15-12 overall in 2020-21, which included three top-25 wins, the Rebels’ first trip to the SEC Quarterfinal since 2010, and the furthest postseason run in program history that ended with an appearance in the WNIT title game.
The Rebels open the 2021 season against Belmont on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on SEC Network+.