Thursday, May 26, 2022

Coach Yo and the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Team Look Forward to Upcoming Season

By Noah Brooks Ansley

IMC Student

Jeff Roberson and Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin at the Overby Center. Photo courtesy of Coach Yo’s Twitter

Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin and her Ole Miss women’s basketball team look forward to their season debut on Nov. 11 against Belmont. 

“Coach Yo” is entering her fourth year with several new faces and options. She has three transfer players in Angel Baker, Lashonda Monk and Destiny Salary, and added freshman Jaiyah Harris-Smith. 

“I don’t know if I’m going to have a lot of freshmen point guards,” she said. “I like seasoned point guards that are more mature and who have been through a couple of more wars before they come to me.

“So now I can really take my pick: Do I want older in this area, or do I want to go young and go through growing pains with them?”

The Ole Miss women’s basketball team hopes to make a run at the NCAA tournament this year after being a bubble team last year.

The team still found postseason success last year, making it through the NIT before losing in the finals to Rice 71-51. 

Last season came with added stress for Coach Yo and the team as they were constantly tested for COVID-19, which meant she always had to be prepared for the worst. 

“We were basically on lockdown,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything as there was a lot that was sacrificed, like some of my players didn’t even get to go home for Christmas.”

The COVID protocols from last year changed her perspective and led to some changes. For instance, she shortened practice and gave her players six weeks off for a mental reset. 

Heading into the new season, the entire women’s basketball team is 100 percent vaccinated.

“We kept educating our players, and what I think what set them over the edge is that they would miss games, like we’re going to California and New York, and if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not playing,” Coach Yo said. 

The Ole Miss women gave a small preview of what the team will look like when they took part in Square Jam on Oct. 22. The season will officially start on Nov. 11 as the team takes on Belmont at home at 7 p.m. 

“It’s been tough,” she said, “but I’m very excited to be back and be out in front of you all.”