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Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Building Toward the Future, Announce 2023 Signees

Artist rendering of the Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss. Image courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics.

Coming off of an electrifying 2022-23 campaign with a Sweet 16 appearance, the Rebels are preparing toward the future with head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin announcing her 2023 signing class Friday afternoon. 
“I am incredibly excited about our freshman class! Like Madison and Snudda these young ladies will be the foundation for our future,” said McPhee-McCuin. “I feel like we identified people that will fit our culture and be winners on and off the court.”
The 2023 class spans across the United States and globe with Rebels from three different states and representing three countries, including two players from ESPN’s HoopGurlz Top-100.
Marija Avlijas • Guard • 5-9
Belgrade, Serbia • Art Basket
• Ranked as the third best player coming out of Europe by WorldWide Hoops in the class of 2023
• Participant in Basketball Without Borders events throughout Europe by the WNBA and NBA to highlight the region’s top prospects
• Named the MVP at the 2021 FIBA U16 European Challengers, after averaging 25.2 points per game
McPhee-McCuin: “Marija is a fiery combo guard that has played in the highest level in Europe! She’s very talented and will immediately impact our depth in a positive way! As we expand our reach into the European market, having Marija on our roster is an incredible start!”
Rhema Collins • Forward • 6-2
Nassau, Bahamas • The Webb School (Tenn.)
• Integral part in the Webb School winning back-to-back Tennessee Division II-A State Championships
• Represented the Bahamas at the 2019 Centrobasket U17 Women’s Championship
• Averaged a double-double in five games for the Bahamas, averaging 11.0 points and 10.8 rebounds
• Second Bahamian to play under McPhee-McCuin, joining former Rebel Valerie Nesbitt (2020-21)
• Daughter of Angela and Steve Collins
McPhee-McCuin: “Incredibly raw talent that is only tipping the iceberg of what she will be able to do in college and beyond.  Rhema has improved every time I’ve seen her and with our development, has a chance to be a star in this league eventually.  Rhema is tough, athletic and versatile. Her size and quickness off the floor allow her to be a defensive nightmare.”
Mariyah Noel • Guard • 5-11
Kansas City, Kansas • Bonner Springs
• Three-sport athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and throwing in track
• Didn’t start playing basketball until 7th grade
• Averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals per game as a junior at Bonner Springs
• Two-time Kansas 5A Discus State Champion
• Daughter of Glenda Fay Noel-Brown
McPhee-McCuin: “Best kept secret of the group. Mariyah is an athletic guard that is a fierce competitor.  She has great size that will help her on the defensive end and has a large offensive variety due to her skill development! She will be a joy to coach, and we can’t wait to get her on campus.”
Zakiya Stephenson • Guard • 5-4
Virginia Beach, Virginia • Princess Anne
• Recorded 16.8 points, 7.3 steals, 6.8 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game as a junior at Princess Anne
• Led Princess Anne to back-to back 5A State Championships
• Plays travel ball for the renowned Maryland Belles Program
• Ranked as the No. 29 player in Virginia by MaxPreps
• Rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 88 player in the nation by ESPN’s HoopGurlz
• Sister Kishona Sutton played basketball at Virginia Union
• Daughter of Shemieka Sutton and Quinton Perry
McPhee-McCuin: “Zakiya is a shifty point guard that has played at a high level in the grassroots and high school.  She’s a competitor and her game is electrifying.  She defends at a high level, can score at all three levels and will impact the community as soon as she steps on campus.”
J’Adore Young • Center • 6-4
Mauldin, South Carolina • Greenville
• Averaged 18.5 points, 13.9 rebounds, 6.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per game as a junior at Greenville
• Averaged more than 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks per game throughout her three high school seasons
• Earned All-State accolades in 2021 and 2022
• Plays club for A’ja Wilson Elite
• Ranked as the No. 3 player in South Carolina by Prep Girls Hoops
• Rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 99 player in the nation by ESPN’s HoopGurlz
• Daughter of Jocelyn Nix and David Young
• Father David played basketball at Clemson
McPhee-McCuin: “J’Adore is a true interior player with High skill level and IQ.  I love her ability to stretch the floor, while also have good inside footwork! Defensively she has great timing. J’Adore was a prize “get” for us and throughout her career she has a chance to be special.”

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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