Rolling Rebs

It was not really much of a challenge from Christian Brothers University (Memphis, Tenn.) for the Ole Miss women’s basketball team as the Rebels won 111-43 in exhibition competition in Oxford.

But second-year Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell said his program certainly didn’t treat the Buccaneers any differently than a game that would count in the standings.

And that goes from how he felt when he woke up Friday morning to the end of the lopsided contest.

“I felt like we were getting ready to play Tennessee this morning the way my stomach felt,” Insell said. “Because I really didn’t know what to expect. I know we have some really, really talented players. But I didn’t know how they would react in this first game. We treated everything like this was a real game, and not an exhibition.

“I was pleased with our newcomers, and that’s a big credit to the leadership from our older players.”

Last season Ole Miss defeated CBU in an exhibition game. But the outcome was much closer at 74-59.

“We didn’t know anything about Christian Brothers (this season) other than they played us real close last year,” Insell said. “We knew they had a couple of players back that hurt us last year. Being able to take control from the tip, we looked more like I wanted to look defensively tonight.”

The Rebels jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first five minutes and never looked back. It was 51-25 at halftime.

Freshman Toree Thompson led the Rebels with 25 points, while senior Tia Faleru had seven rebounds.

Coming off a 12-20 season, Insell was happy to get off to a good start, especially defensively.

“Very pleased. We put a big emphasis on defense. We can score. We could score last year, but we just couldn’t really defend. So we’ve worked on defense, on what we’re doing defensively. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, and we continue to get better.”

Insell said they already have their sights on getting ready for the regular season opener, which is Friday at 11 a.m. in Oxford vs. Grambling State.

“I’m excited to come out and play really good basketball," he said. "We’re a young team. And as I told them, we’ve got a long, long way to go. But this was a good step for us. Every day is a new day.”

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