The Ole Miss women’s basketball program took a major step forward in 2020-21, posting a winning record for the first time since 2016-17 and reaching the WNIT championship game. Momentum from the Rebels’ postseason surge has carried over to this season, as year four under head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin’s leadership is off to a historic start.
Ole Miss picked up a 75-63 road victory over Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon to push its winning streak to eight games, the program’s longest since 2000. Madison Scott led the way with a team-high 18 points while Destiny Salary posted a new career high with 15.
The Rebels’ 8-1 start is their best since 2005-06.
— CoachYo (@YolettMcCuin) December 5, 2021
The team has bounced back from a season-opening loss to Belmont in a big way, winning by an average of 25.6 points per game. All eight wins have been by at least 12 points.
SEC play begins at the end of December, and the Rebels will certainly be tested with six teams currently ranked in the top 25.
The first Bahamian woman to be a head coach at the Division I level, McPhee-McCuin arrived in Oxford in 2018 after spending five years as the head coach at Jacksonville University. She inherited a team that went 1-15 in SEC play, and she led the Rebels to three conference wins in her first season.
— CoachYo (@YolettMcCuin) December 2, 2021
A difficult 2019-20 campaign set the stage for last season, when Ole Miss went 15-12 and collected three wins over top-25 teams in the span of a month. The Rebels reached the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2010, falling to No. 14 Tennessee.
As she leads her team, McPhee-McCuin is outspoken about her faith and often gives praise to God on social media.
If God calls you to it, you’re qualified!
— CoachYo (@YolettMcCuin) October 17, 2021
She joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast in August to talk about her faith journey and serving through coaching.
“I think for me, just really locking in on, you know, you’re a child of God, you’re flawed, He died for our sins,” McPhee-McCuin said on the podcast. “How can you show appreciation to your Maker for giving you these opportunities? And I constantly think and talk about that.”
Now in her 18th season as a coach, McPhee-McCuin has learned over time to view her profession as her ministry.
“I do have a lot of players that are into their Christian faith and one coach on staff really in particular,” she said. “It’s really been great for me as a balance because I fall short every day.”
McPhee-McCuin has instilled “no ceilings” as a motto within her program to recognize her improbable journey from the Bahamas to being a head coach in a Power Five conference. Known for her positivity and energy, McPhee-McCuin relies on her faith to keep her anchored so she can pour into others.
“There are times in a season where you may lose faith,” she said. “You may lose hope. And when hope is gone, hate creeps in. So, I try to fill myself up with the Word and His promises to me as much as possible.”
The Rebels are back on the road Saturday when they face Hofstra with a chance to push the winning streak to nine games. Conference play begins with a home game against Arkansas on Dec. 30.
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