Ole Miss stuns Stanford, reaches first Sweet 16 in 16 years

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STANFORD, Calif. – Sobbing as she received hugs from friends and administrators, Mississippi coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin tried to grasp the magnitude of her team’s stunning win against top-seeded Stanford when someone reminded her there’s more basketball to be played.

Her two young daughters danced on the floor.

Her proud father provided a shoutout to everybody back home in The Bahamas.

Her team posed and midcourt and shouted, “Seattle!” That’s where the Rebels are headed next.

Madison Scott hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left that gave Mississippi the lead for good, Angel Baker scored 13 points, and the Rebels delivered on their declaration to get defensive, stunning top-seeded Stanford 54-49 on Sunday night to reach the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 for the first time in 16 years.

“This is such a big accomplishment. A lot of us came here to make history and that’s what we’re doing,” freshman Ayanna Thompson said.

Behind the entire game, Stanford called timeout with 28 seconds left then Hannah Jump turned the ball over and Scott converted. Haley Jones lost the ball out of bounds on the Cardinal’s last possession with a chance to tie then again in the waning moments.

Marquesha Davis hit a pair of free throws with 15.4 seconds to play as Ole Miss overcame not making a field goal over the final 5:47, going 0 for 8.

These upstart Rebels (25-8) advance to the Seattle Regional semifinal next weekend, while Tara VanDerveer’s Stanford team (29-6) is eliminated far earlier than this group envisioned – the season ending on the Cardinal’s home floor. Jones fought tears after her final game, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds but five turnovers.

Only four No. 1 seeds had lost before the Sweet 16 since 1994, with Duke the last one in 2009. Stanford did so once before, falling to 16th-seeded Harvard in the first round of the 1998 tournament.

The Cardinal had reached 14 straight Sweet 16s and hadn’t lost in the first or second rounds since No. 10 seed Florida State shocked the fifth-seeded Cardinal 68-61 at Maples Pavilion in the second round exactly 16 years ago to the day before on March 19, 2007.

Cameron Brink came back from a one-game absence because of a stomach bug to finish with 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots, but Stanford never led and tried to come from behind all night. The program’s career blocks leader, she finished with 118 on the season and has 297 total.

Stanford had won 21 consecutive NCAA games on its home floor and is 41-5 all-time at Maples during March Madness.

Ole Miss led the entire first half on the way to a 29-20 lead at the break at raucous Maples Pavilion, where the crowd went wild when Brink blocked three straight shots in the same sequence by Rita Igbokwe midway through the second quarter. About two minutes later, Igbokwe grabbed at her mouth after being hit.

The Rebels got a scare when senior guard Myah Taylor went down hard grabbing at her chest with 6:41 left in the third after colliding with Francesca Belibi while moving to defend Indya Nivar. After a short break to catch her breath, Taylor was back running the point.

The fourth-best team in the Southeastern Conference and runner-up in the conference tournament to No. 1 South Carolina, Ole Miss has regularly faced bigger teams and physical tests.

The Rebels declared from Day 1 in the Bay Area they were ready to get defensive to make their mark on the NCAA Tournament. Stanford’s layups regularly rolled out. The Cardinal got called for repeated offensive fouls.

BIG PICTURE Ole Miss: Proud parents Gladstone and Daisy cheered on fifth-year coach McPhee-McCuin as her team reached the second round after last year’s first-round exit by South Dakota. Her daughters, 10-year-old Yasmine and Yuri, 5, rooted the team all the way, with Yasmine yelling, “That’s my mom!” when Ole Miss came out before tipoff. … The Rebels advanced to the Elite Eight in 2007. After grabbing 24 offensive rebounds in the win against Gonzaga, the Rebels crashed the boards again to create second chances with 20 more.

Stanford: The Cardinal also never led in the first half of 55-46 loss at USC on Jan. 15. … They had a 14-game home winning streak since a 76-71 overtime loss to No. 1 South Carolina on Nov. 20.

Collins, Mississippi reach NCAA second round, beat Gonzaga

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STANFORD, Calif. – Snudda Collins knew exactly how many shots she had missed, having carefully kept track of her stat lines through the Southeastern Conference Tournament: 0 for 22.

“I was in a slump,” she said.

“I did not know that, every time Snudda shoots I think it’s going in,” teammate Angel Baker said.

Collins found her groove again and scored 15 points, and eighth-seeded Mississippi once again leaned on its stingy defense to get past the first round of the NCAA Tournament this time after last year’s big disappointment, beating No. 9 seed Gonzaga 71-48 on Friday night.

The Rebels shut down one of the best 3-point-shooting teams in the country.

“Coming into this game I think I was 0 for 22 and I knew that, and I kind of took it personal,” Collins said.

Now, bring on top-seeded Stanford on its home court.

Ole Miss will face the Cardinal (29-5) on Sunday for a spot at the Sweet Sixteen in Seattle next weekend. Stanford topped No. 16 seed Sacred Heart 92-49 in Friday’s first game at Maples Pavilion.

Already tested twice by No. 1 South Carolina, coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s Rebels showed off their signature defense that has held opponents to just 56.8 points per game by shutting down one of the nation’s top 3-point-shooting teams. The Zags (28-5) scored a season-low points – and their only loss with fewer points was a 64-60 defeat to Portland in the West Coast Conference Tournament title game March 7.

This Ole Miss group is determined to take another step toward erasing the memory of last season’s 75-61 first-round loss to 10th-seeded South Dakota playing as a No. 7 seed and back in the tournament for the first time in 15 years.

Madison Scott had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Angel Baker added 11 points and five boards for Ole Miss, which grabbed 24 offensive rebounds.

The Rebels earned back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time under McPhee-McCuin and it hadn’t been done since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons. Making consecutive NCAA appearances for the first time since 2004-05, the Rebels held WCC Player of the Year Kaylynne Truong to six points on 2-of-9 shooting.

“As far as our defensive performance, elite. We wanted to hold them to 12 or less each quarter and we did that,” McPhee-McCuin said. “I was just in awe watching our team defend. That is who we are. We wear shirts in practice that say ‘We Defend.’”

Yvonne Ejim led the Zags with 19 points and eight rebounds but her star teammates were stymied. Gonzaga came in shooting 42% from 3-point range and Brynna Maxwell held the second-best 3-point shooting percentage in the nation coming in at 49.43%, but the team finished just 1 for 17 and Maxwell scored four points on 1-of-10 shooting missing all five of her 3s.

“Kudos to them, they guard the 3-point well,” Truong said. “Coming into the game we knew that.”

The Zags missed six straight shots spanning halftime and made a forgettable showing in their sixth straight NCAA Tournament.

“What a bummer,” coach Lisa Fortier said. “We think that we’re a good enough to compete with that team, I know that we are. My team is tough but we’re only good enough to compete today if it’s under our terms. The game was definitely played under Ole Miss’ terms.”

Ole Miss used a 9-0 run late in the first half to build a 26-16 lead as the Zags missed four straight shots. Collins’ three-point play 1:13 before halftime helped put the Rebels ahead 34-21 at the break.

A physical, defensive game, both teams took a while to find any offensive rhythm and began 7 for 22. They combined to miss the first 10 3-pointers before Baker connected at the 5:52 mark of the second quarter for Ole Miss.

The Rebels didn’t want to let Gonzaga get 50 points.

“Poetic, that’s all I can say, it was poetic,” McPhee-McCuin said of her team winning with defense.


Gonzaga: Ejim picked up her third foul with 3:52 left in the second quarter. … Gonzaga’s three seniors – Truong, twin sister Kayleigh and Maxwell – and redshirt junior Eliza Hollingsworth all announced after the final regular-season game they plan to return for one more season.

Ole Miss: The Rebels improved to 21-0 when holding teams to 60 or fewer points. … The Ole Miss bench outscored the Gonzaga reserves 33-6 and crashed the boards to hold a 51-36 overall rebounding advantage.


Ole Miss and Stanford have met just once previously, and that matchup also came on the big March stage. Tara VanDerveer’s Cardinal beat the Rebels 78-65 in the 1990 Sweet Sixteen at Stanford on the way to the program’s first national title.

Ole Miss hires former Texas coach Chris Beard

chris beard mississippi
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OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi hired Chris Beard as its head coach just over two months after his firing from Texas following a domestic violence arrest.

The Rebels announced Beard’s hiring and will introduce him in a public event at the SBJ Pavilion. Beard is a four-time conference coach of the year and was AP’s national coach of the year in 2019.

But his two-year tenure at alma mater Texas ended abruptly in January, though felony domestic charges were ultimately dismissed on Feb. 15. A prosecutor said his office determined that the charge of assault by strangulation/suffocation-family violence could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Texas suspended Beard after his Dec. 12 arrest and fired him three weeks later when Texas officials told Beard’s attorney he was “unfit” to lead the program. Beard was arrested when his fiancée, Randi Trew, called 911 and told officers that Beard strangled, bit and hit her during a confrontation in his home.

She later said that Beard didn’t choke her, and was defending himself, and that she never intended for Beard to be arrested and prosecuted.

Beard replaces Kermit Davis, who was ousted on Feb. 24 after going 74-79 in nearly five full seasons.

“We thoroughly evaluated a number of outstanding candidates, and there is no doubt Coach Beard is one of the top coaches in the nation,” said Keith Carter, the school’s vice chancellor for athletics. “After conducting due diligence and speaking to a number of individuals on and off the court, it was evident he is the right person to guide our team to greatness.”

Beard has led three different programs to the NCAA Tournament since 2016, including an appearance in the 2019 championship game and an Elite Eight run the year before at Texas Tech. He is 237-98 as a head coach and 11-5 in the NCAA Tournament.

“I am honored to be joining the Ole Miss family and excited to get started at this great university,” said Beard, who was 29-13 at Texas. “I can’t express how grateful I am to Chancellor (Glenn) Boyce, Keith Carter and the rest of the search committee for their belief in me to lead this program. I am really looking forward to being an active part of the Oxford community.”

Beard spent five seasons at Texas Tech, going 112-55 at a program that had endured five losing seasons in the previous six years. The Red Raiders went to their first Elite Eight in his second season and made it to the national championship game in 2019.

Beard led Little Rock to a 30-5 record and a Sun Belt Conference title in his lone season, making the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama’s Brandon Miller is AP SEC Player, Newcomer of the Year

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Alabama freshman Brandon Miller is The Associated Press player of the year and newcomer of the year in the Southeastern Conference.

Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams was named coach of the year in voting by 14 reporters who cover the SEC.

Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV and Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, last year’s national player of the year, were unanimous first-team picks. The other first-team selections are Missouri guard/forward Kobe Brown and Mississippi State forward Tolu Smith.

Miller was a first-team pick on all but one ballot, received 12 player of the year votes and 11 as top newcomer for the regular-season SEC champions and No. 4-ranked Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-9 forward is only the fourth freshman in the last 50 years to lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 19.6 points along with 8.0 rebounds. He is also tops in 3-pointers made, making 92 and hitting at a 40.4% rate.

Miller’s name surfaced in court testimony in the capital murder case of now-former teammate Darius Miles and another man in the shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Harris near campus.

A police officer testified that Miles texted Miller asking him to bring Miles’ gun in the early morning hours of Jan. 15. Fellow freshman starter Jaden Bradley was also at the scene. Neither has missed a start or been accused of any crime. The university has described Miller as a cooperating witness, not a suspect.

A day after that testimony, Miller scored 41 points and hit the game-winning shot in overtime to beat South Carolina amid jeers from Gamecocks fans. Afterward, Alabama coach Nate Oats called Miller “one of the most mentally tough kids I’ve ever coached.”

The Aggies’ Taylor also received two votes as player of the year. LSU forward KJ Williams, Arkansas guards Ricky Council IV and Anthony Black each received a vote for newcomer of the year.

Williams received eight votes, Missouri’s Dennis Gates five and Alabama’s Oats one in the coach of the year balloting.

The second team included Council, Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler, Williams, Florida forward Colin Castleton and Vanderbilt forward Liam Robbins.


Guard – Kobe Brown, Missouri, Sr., 6-8, 250, Huntsville, Alabama.

u-Guard – Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M, So., 6-0, 185, Dallas.

Forward – Brandon Miller, Alabama, Fr., 6-9, 200, Antioch, Tennessee.

Forward – Tolu Smith, Mississippi St., Sr., 6-11, 245, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

u-Forward – Oscar Tshwiebe, Sr., 6-9, 260, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Guard – Ricky Council IV, Arkansas, Jr., 6-6, 205, Durham, North Carolina.

Guard – Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee, So., 5-9, 171, Long Island, New York.

Forward – Colin Castleton, Florida, Sr., 6-11, 250, Deland, Florida.

Forward – Liam Robbins, Vanderbilt, Sr., 7-0, 250, Davenport, Iowa.

Forward – KJ Williams, LSU, Sr,, 6-10, 250, Cleveland, Mississippi.

Coach of the year – Buzz Williams, Texas A&M.

Player of the year – Brandon Miller, Alabama.

Newcomer of the year – Brandon Miller, Alabama.

— AP All-SEC Voting Panel: Rick Bozich, WDRB-TV, Louisville, Kentucky; Kevin Brockway, Gainesville Sun; Travis Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; David Cloninger, Post & Courier; Adam Cole, Opelika-Auburn News; Clayton Collier, WATN-TV, Memphis, Tennessee; Robbie Faulk, Starkville Daily News; Aria Gerson, The Tennessean; Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Stefan Krajisnik, Clarion-Ledger; Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Sheldon Mickles, Baton Rouge Advocate; Mike Rodak, al.com; Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald.

No. 24 Texas A&M escapes early hole, beats Ole Miss 69-61

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OXFORD, Miss. – Tyrece Radford scored 13 points as No. 24 Texas A&M erased an early 12-point deficit to beat Mississippi 69-61 on Tuesday night.

Wade Taylor IV added 12 points and seven assists and Julius Marble scored 10 for the Aggies, who went 13 of 16 from the free-throw line in the second half to stave off the Rebels’ attempt at a late rally.

Texas A&M (22-8, 14-3 Southeastern Conference) trailed 20-8 after seven minutes but took a 29-26 lead on Taylor’s 3-pointer with 4:06 left in the first half. The Aggies never trailed again, leading 34-28 at halftime and expanding their advantage to as many as 10 points in the second half.

“We didn’t handle the intensity or the pace early, obviously,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “But we went from 13 down to the lead by halftime. We were able to change the rhythm to being more conducive for us and who we are.”

Matthew Murrell made 8 of 11 from 3-point range and scored 26 points to lead Ole Miss (11-19, 3-13).

“We’ve shown we can play with anybody and the SEC Tournament is still out there,” Ole Miss interim coach Win Case said. “We knew they’d make a run because they’re a real good team but I’m really proud of our team tonight.”

The Aggies shot just 37.9% from the field and 22.7% from 3-point range. However, they had only five turnovers.


Texas A&M: The Aggies are 16-3 since Christmas and have locked up a second-place finish in the SEC standings and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Tuesday’s win wasn’t pretty, but the Aggies survived on the road against an inspired opponent. Now they must prepare to face No. 2 Alabama.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before Saturday,” Williams said. “I know they’ve got the best players. I know they’re No. 1 in the league in offense and defense. I haven’t had time to look at them yet, but I know that much about them.”

Ole Miss: The Rebels continue to play hard for Case, who replaced the fired Kermit Davis on Feb. 24. But no one other than Murrell scored in double figures or made more than one 3-pointer for Ole Miss.


Texas A&M: Hosts Alabama on Saturday.

Ole Miss: At Missouri on Saturday.

Kermit Davis is out as Ole Miss men’s basketball coach

kermit davis
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OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Kermit Davis’s tenure is over, his team mired in a four-game losing streak and in last place in the Southeastern Conference standings.

Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter said Friday the school and Davis “have mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately.”

Davis has gone 74-79 in five seasons at Ole Miss, which is 10-18 and 2-13 in SEC games.

“We thank Coach Davis for his dedication to the Ole Miss basketball program and our student-athletes,” Carter said in a statement. “No one wanted to bring a title home to Mississippi more than him, and we appreciate the passion for that goal that he shared with our team every day.”

Assistant coach Win Case will serve as acting head coach for the rest of the season.

Davis began his Ole Miss tenure by leading the Rebels to a 20-13 record and NCAA Tournament berth in the 2018-19 season and earning SEC coach of the year honors. Ole Miss made the NIT in 2021.

Before Ole Miss, Davis was at Middle Tennessee State, and is still its winningest coach.

His Division I career record as a head coach is 477-316, and he led Ole Miss, MTSU and Idaho to NCAA Tournament berths.

“My family and I are extremely thankful for the opportunity to lead the Ole Miss men’s basketball program the past five years,” Davis said, calling Oxford “a special place to live and work.”

Carter said a national search has started.

“As we have seen in the past, Ole Miss basketball is capable of competing for and winning championships, and we are determined to find the right leader to help us reach our greatest potential,” he said. “Over the last 15 years, we have invested in the sport as much as any school in the country.

“That commitment, the passion of Rebel Nation and the opportunity to be a part of this great university makes our head coaching position a job that will attract top candidates.”