As winners of six of their last seven games, including a 67-65 win over UALR Friday, Murray State rolls into Oxford with plenty of confidence to match their 23-8 overall record and 16-2 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play.
But with an all-time record of 6-31 against Southeastern Conference opponents, it's hard not to favor Ole Miss once the teams meet Sunday at 4 p.m.
"My biggest concern is we've been off for two weeks now and (Murray State) just finished playing," said Ole Miss head coach Renee Ladner. "I'm trying to get us back in game shape and get our mentality right."
The Rebels haven't played a game since falling to Auburn 71-65 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament March 5th. But Murray State hasn't had much success against SEC foes.
The Racers have lost 16 straight games against league opponents and have not beaten an SEC team since downing Vanderbilt 78-77 28 years ago.
Ole Miss and Murray State will be meeting for only the fourth time in history, with the Lady Rebels holding an unblemished 3-0 clip in the all-time series.
"(Murray State) is a good team. That's why they're in the WNIT," Ladner said. "They've won some games that have put them in this position once again."
Ole Miss is 25-5 all-time against teams from the OVC.
In fact, the Lady Rebels haven't lost to a team from the OVC since falling 77-55 at Tennessee Tech Nov. 16, 2001. Out of the 10 teams in the conference, the Lady Rebels has only been beaten by Tennessee Tech and UT Martin.
In the three games with Murray State, the Rebels have beaten the Racers by at least 20 points, while holding an average margin of victory of 29.7 points per game in the three previous meetings. Ole Miss is 2-0 against the Racers in Oxford and also won one game on Murray State's home court.
In the last meeting, Ole Miss beat Murray State 78-58 Nov. 19, 2001.
"I think we've had some of the best practices of the year over the last two weeks," said Ladner. "They've come out ready to play and I hope that's something we can continue to build on. I don't know if they understand there's a sense of urgency or if they're simply coming together.
"But I've seen some real positive things. I like where we are as a team."
The Lady Rebels will be making their fourth appearance in the WNIT and the first since the 2005-06 season.
They're 1-3 all-time in the tournament, having not won a game since defeating Kansas 78-76 March 19, 2006 in Lawrence.
Sunday's game with Murray State will be the first time in school history Ole Miss has hosted a WNIT game.
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