No Charity

While finding any good from a 24-point loss to Texas might appear difficult, a silver-lining can be drawn from what was easily the Lady Rebels worst performance of the young season. Read about it inside

After struggling with turnovers throughout the early portions of 2008, Ole Miss has seen gradual improvement in what was once viewed as a significant problem area.

In the first six games this season, the Lady Rebels averaged more than 20 turnovers per game. However, that number has slowly begun to dwindle despite coughing up 22 against Texas.

"The game against Southeastern Louisiana was the first time I've been happy with turnovers all season," said head coach Renee Ladner. "In that game, we had 11 in the first half alone, but only one in the second half. We didn't do a great job of limiting turnovers against Texas, but we're getting better."

Key in protecting the rock has been guard Shantell Black. Through eight games this season, Black has collected 42 assists and is averaging 5.6 per game. The junior ranks second in the SEC and 31st in the nation in that category.

"Being a junior, it's about time for me to step up," said Black. "I've focused more on taking care of the ball in practice and being more vocal. I've become more aware of making sure my teammates are open before I actually make a pass. I think I've improved a lot over last year."

Black's development since her sophomore campaign has been evident in her more consistent play this season. The Lawrenceville, Ga. native currently has 27 more assists than turnovers, after committing 109 giveaways in 2007.

Over the course of the last two games, Black has only surrendered the ball once.

"Shantell continues to get better as they year goes on," said Ladner. "If we can continue to get production like that out of our point guard every night, we're going to win a lot of ball games."

So far this season, Ole Miss has six less turnovers than their opposition. The team also averages nearly 16 assists per game.

Although those numbers appear promising, opponent takeaways still remain a point of emphasis for Ladner.

"You have to learn from the mistakes you made earlier in the season," Ladner explained. "Our schedule is only going to get harder. The next four games are not going to be a cake walk and obviously we're getting ready for the SEC. We have to continue to get better."

Now sitting at 7-1, the Ole Miss women's basketball team is just seven wins shy of claiming its 700th all-time victory. The Rebels currently own an all-time record of 693-353.

But if the Rebels are to accomplish that feat, limiting turnovers are how they'll have to do it.

OM Spirit Top Stories