How Coach Yo Helps Grow Women’s Hoops 

WHN | Mar 7, 2024

MISSISSIPPI – Ole Miss Women’s basketball is one of the top teams in the nation competing in one of the…

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MISSISSIPPI – Ole Miss Women’s basketball is one of the top teams in the nation competing in one of the toughest conferences in the country. When head Coach Yolette McPhee-McCuin made a pitch to Ole Miss students to support their women’s basketball team, now ranked 3rd in the SEC, it was the press conference heard around the sports world. 

“It should have been packed up in here,” McPhee-McCuin said. “How does a team that goes to the Sweet 16, that only has two (SEC) losses, not have an average of 5,000 people in the stands? How? You know what it is? It’s the lack of value. And it needs to change. And I don’t care who’s upset about me saying this, because I’m going to speak the truth.”

Coach Yo’s comments sparked controversy online that evoked a slew of trolls who attacked women’s basketball as a whole, but that didn’t stop or startle Coach Yo. In fact, Coach Yo believes that backlash and attention helps raise more awareness about women’s basketball. 

“I do have a big platform and I try to bring exposure to things that I think are important about our game,” Coach Yo told WHN. “As far as recruiting is concerned…me interacting with fans, or trolls or people that love Ole Miss Women’s Basketball – it has definitely helped with exposure.” 

Since her time at Ole Miss, Coach Yo has achieved remarkable success in her five seasons with Ole Miss women’s basketball, bringing the team back to the national stage while dominating in the SEC. In the 2022-23 season, she led the Rebels to their 19th NCAA Tournament appearance and an impressive run to the Sweet 16, marking the program’s 11th appearance at that stage. It’s likely that she will achieve that again next year. 

As we head to the end of this tournament season, Coach Yo is poised to have another top team next season with several key players returning to the squad. Earlier this week, Ole Miss star Madison Scott announced that she will be taking a COVID year to return to the squad next season. 

When we spoke to Coach Yo, it was before Scott had announced her decision to stay another year. Coach Yo appeared to think Scott was leaning in the direction of staying, she was in fact, correct! 

“This is serious business,” said Coach Yo. “I try to be honest with my players and expect the same thing from them… but most times I know way beforehand. I don’t like them to stress.”

Beyond the court, McPhee-McCuin made history as the first woman in Bahamian history to coach at the men’s national level, serving as an assistant with the Bahamas Men’s Senior National Team during World Cup qualifiers.

McPhee-McCuin’s coaching journey includes a significant turnaround at Ole Miss, starting from a 0-16 SEC season in 2019-20 to a 15-12 (4-10 SEC) campaign in 2020-21. The team’s resilience was evident in their post-season run to the WNIT championship game, marking the furthest post-season run in program history.

As the first black female head coach in Ole Miss women’s basketball history, McPhee-McCuin’s legacy is marked by on-court success, player development, and contributions to the broader basketball community.

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