No Answer

Tia Faleru

Basically the No. 1 three-point defending team in the Southeastern Conference – pre-conference, that is – had no answer for a team that shot 63 percent from beyond the arc.


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That's what happened when Ole Miss lost to Missouri 85-76 Thursday night in Oxford.

Missouri was 15-for-24 from 3-point range. And the Rebels didn't do too badly themselves from 3-point range either, shooting 44 percent (11-for-25).

But it was the Tigers who seemed to have every answer in this one. Ole Miss trailed most of the game but was able to pull ahead 42-41 on a 3-pointer by Gracie Frizzell with 17:13 left in the game.

However Missouri was up by nine points at 59-50 with 12:03 to go, and it was an uphill climb the rest of the way for Ole Miss.

"All credit to Missouri. They did what they do," said Ole Miss first-year head coach Matt Insell. "They make a lot of 3s. They're one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country."

Insell said he and his staff and team knew what was coming and had worked on it.

"We'd focused in on that all week, on how to guard that. We let them go 15-of-24 from the 3-point line, and you won't win if you allow that. But as bad as we guarded, we still had a chance late."

It was only 78-74 Missouri with a minute left. But it was another 3-pointer for the Tigers, this one by Maddie Stock with 58 seconds to go, that all but sealed it. Ironically, with all the scoring going on, especially from long range, that was the only basket of the game for Stock.

Up 81-74 at that point, the Tigers moved on to get the win and improved to 12-2 overall. Ole Miss is now 9-6.

"We'll grow from this game and get better. I've told them you have to have a short-term memory in this league," said Insell, with his team now heading to Tennessee for a game on Jan. 9. "Whether we'd won or lost, we had to put this one behind us and get ready for next Thursday."

Insell said when Ole Miss, which trailed 34-30 at halftime, went up 42-41 after battling all game long to get the lead, it was again simply a matter of Mizzou doing what Mizzou does.

"We spend 95 percent of practice on defense," Insell said. "We work on defense every single day. We work on close outs. We work on switching screens when it's guard to guard and post to post. Tonight it looked like we haven't been doing any of that. We didn't talk defensively. That was crucial. We were standing around defensively. We stopped telling each other when to switch, when to close out. About a five-minute stretch in the second half, we didn't do all that. And it goes from us leading to being down."

Ole Miss freshman Shequila Joseph made four of the Rebels' 11 three-point shots and totaled 21 points in the game. With seven rebounds along with a block, a steal, and an assist, it was her best night so far as a Rebel.

"My teammates were finding me and I was able to get free," Joseph said.

Joseph also said Missouri had an impressive night putting the ball into the basket.

"They were all shooters on that team," she said. "They're a very good team of three-point shooters. They were just hitting their shots."

Insell said Joseph is a freshman who is on her way to a good collegiate career.

"She's a work in progress and continues to get better," he said. "What you saw today is what I've seen out of her for a long time. She's starting to get a feel for it. She's a freshman. She's going to get there and be a heck of a player here at Ole Miss. She's working hard every day, and I'm proud of her."

Now it's on to Tennessee and the remainder of the SEC season for Ole Miss.

"We've got a good team. We've got to push past this," Insell said. "We'll grow from this and get better."

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