The Ole Miss Lady Rebels beat Illinois-Chicago 87-59 Saturday night in Oxford, but Coach Carol Ross was less than pleased.
That's because she doesn't feel her team, now 4-2 on the season and even with back-to-back lopsided wins (100-50 over New Orleans last Wednesday), is ready for what lies ahead – beginning with its next game at Texas Tech.
"The positives tonight are we won and we defended our homecourt," she said. "We had some balance and shot the ball pretty well.
"But the negatives are we have to get a lot better," continued Ross with a seriousness in her voice that was quite evident. "I told our players at halftime tonight, we must be the worst coached team in America, because we're not playing the way we're capable of playing. We're not going to be the most talented team come (SEC play in) January. We have to do those intangibles, those qualities coaches talk about like hard work and hustle and intensity and communication – all those little things great teams do. We've got to turn it up a notch in those areas. We are not the team we must become. We'll get tested in a week (Sun., Dec. 12, at Texas Tech). That will be like an SEC game, and we have to get ready."
As Saturday night's game rolled on, the Lady Rebs took control of an outmanned team and eased to victory. UIC stayed with Ole Miss early, but toward the end of the first half Ole Miss took control.
LaTanya Jones hit a jump shot with 3:08 to go before the break to give UM its largest lead of the first half at 33-21. Ole Miss led 38-30 at intermission.
In the second half, the UM lead finally reached 20 points on a basket by Carletta Brown at 65-45 with 10:16 to go, and only the margin of victory for the Lady Rebs remained in doubt. The largest lead was 32 points at 85-53 with 2:56 left.
All 12 Lady Rebels on the roster played at least nine minutes, and every single one of them scored in the contest.
Elizabeth Cansdale led four Lady Rebs in double figures with 15 points, followed by Armintie Price with 14. Amber Watts and Brown had 11 each.
"I would like to think we have enough depth to overcome adversity," Ross said. "But I might be wrong. That's something I have to evaluate. We'll continue to look and see what combinations give us the best chance to win SEC games. I'm not sure we ever really developed any chemistry on the court tonight, especially in the first half. I have to figure that out, how deep we really are, and what the quality of that depth is."
The Lady Rebs will take semester exams this week and also practice for Texas Tech. They expect to know if senior center Amber Terrell, who contributed a lot last season after transferring from a junior college but was ineligible academically this semester, will be eligible for the rest of the season before they leave for Lubbock.
UIC was led in the contest by Krystal Hugelier with 20 points, the only Lady Flame in double figures.
Lady Rebs roll over Illinois-Chicago 87-59
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