Lady Rebs set to tip Sunday

The Lady Rebels have no idea as to the type of opponent that will walk through the Tad Smith Coliseum door, but that doesn't matter. They know the team dressed in red and blue is more important – on this night anyway.

Ole Miss opens up its 2007-2008 season with a 6 p.m. exhibition contest against DT3 Sunday in Oxford. In lieu of buying tickets, fans need to donate money or bring a canned good to the gates.

Keeping momentum rolling and defining roles are the main focuses for the Lady Rebels as they take the court for the first time since last year's Elite Eight and for the first time since 2003 without Armintie Price. With the all-everything guard having moved on to the WNBA, sophomore Alliesha Easley moves into the limelight. She is the player that first-year head coach Renee Ladner says has "it."

"Alliesha has the ability to be special," Ladner said. "Every player doesn't have ‘it', but she does. You can see it. I expect big things all season. We need her to be big."

Easley averaged double figures last year, but her numbers were often overshadowed by Price and point guard Ashley Awkward.

However, she will be the main focus beginning Sunday when the Ladner era begins. The former Rebel player and assistant coach is high energy and in constant motion while leading her alma mater. She has entered many courts, but tonight will be different considering her role.

"I don't know what my thoughts will be," Ladner said. "So far, it has been a race against the clock. Like any other coach in the country, you never think you are ready or had enough practice time. Butterflies are a possibility but that passes once the game begins."

Ladner's first impression as head coach in front of the home crowd will be against an unfamiliar opponent. DT3 is an organization that has several teams. Ladner has no idea which one will take the court. One will be in Oxford, while another will play Mississippi State today at 2 p.m. a couple hours down the road.

"When they walk in will be my first glance," senior Carla Bartee said. "But our team is more important tonight. We need to play well no matter who it is against. We are excited and confident. I have been waiting on this since playing in Dayton (Ohio) last year."

The Rebels will play another exhibition game Thursday against the OGBR Legends before opening their season Nov. 11 at Nebraska.

Note: Freshman Kayla Holloway may opt for a medical redshirt due to a knee injury. The athletic post player injured her ACL in high school and is experiencing an unrelated injury to the same knee.

Ole Miss defeated DT3 78-76 last season.

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