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Full Court Press

On and off the court, the Ole Miss women’s basketball team exhibits spunk and style inspired and encouraged by their tenacious leader.



Written by Leslie Criss | Photos Contributed by Ole Miss Athletics

 

After nearly five years at Ole Miss, Yolett McPhee-McCuin has become quite the fixture on campus and in the community. Folks who follow women’s basketball know her better as Coach Yo, head coach of the Lady Rebels.

Coaching, for McPhee-McCuin, is not really a job, but something much more.

 

“For me, coaching is a ministry,” she said. “I try to focus on teaching and developing and inspiring every student athlete I come into contact with. Sometimes that’s on the court, but it’s also off the court. I want to not only develop them as basketball players, but also as people of integrity.”

 

Thanks to Tevin Shears, manager of creative content for the team, the Lady Rebels are often recognized for their fashion sense. The student athletes have had fun posing for several fashion photo shoots.

 

“That’s all Tevin,” McPhee-McCuin said. “He is the mastermind behind the fashion. And what 17- to 21-year-old doesn’t like taking pictures?”

 

Promoting the team is what Shears does, but his level of creativity is evident.

 

“The team members enjoy dressing for occasions,” he said. “They each have their own sense of style. The photo shoots we’ve done, in the tunnel and other places, are a way for them to be themselves. They dress for class or they are in their basketball clothes. The fashion shoots are a way for them to be more comfortable showing who they are.”

 

Helping her team members become the best version of themselves is important to McPhee-McCuin as well, and they spend time on finding what that might look like. In addition to displaying their off-court fashion, the Lady Rebels enjoyed several career highlights in the past two years.



For the past two seasons, McPhee-McCuin has coached her team to a top-four finish in the SEC as well as the semifinals of the SEC tournament. Last March, the team picked up its first NCAA tourney win since 2007 to advance to the round of 32.

 

“The NCAA tourney was incredible,” McPhee-McCuin said. “It allowed us to make history and build a profile of Ole Miss on the national scene.”

 

Last year the team traveled to Italy to play basketball. Again, the team members impressed even their coach with their sense of fashion.

 

“You know, there’s a lot of fashion in Europe,” McPhee-McCuin said. “Those players were amazing. They really embraced the culture, and fashion-wise they had a European flair to them that was impressive.”

 

While impressed with her team’s individual fashion flair, McPhee-McCuin claims that is not something she shares with the girls.

 

“Student athletes have some of the best fashion sense,” she said. “I am not fashion-able like they are. But my two daughters, oh, my gosh. Especially my 6-year-old. I love seeing her discover her own style.”

 

The Lady Rebels

Since Yolett McPhee-McCuin, affectionately known as Coach Yo, arrived at Ole Miss about five years ago, the women’s basketball team has experienced and accomplished much, including:

 

  • Its first Sweet Sixteen appearance in 16 years in spring 2023 

  • An international tour to Rome, Florence and the Amalfi Coast for three exhibition games in summer 2023 

  • Success in the transfer portal, recruiting highly ranked players from top programs

  • Senior Madison Scott joining Team USA U24 for games in Canada, Chile and France

  • Winning in overtime in back-to-back games for the first time in program history

 

Follow Ole Miss women’s basketball on Instagram @OleMissWBB or on facebook.com/OleMissWBB.

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