November 30, 2007

Rebels hope to add even more offense

After the Ole Miss women's basketball team had dispatched Alabama-Birmingham Thursday night, Tad Smith Coliseum was nearly empty save for some reporters and some staff.

Out of the silence, a ball began to bounce.

Dribble. Dribble. Dribble. Silence, then swish.

Sophomore guard David Huertas took shot after shot - spot-up 3's, 18-foot jumpers and free throws - in an effort to improve his offensive game.

He is the starting shooting guard on the Ole Miss Rebels - the country's No. 2 scoring offense, and he's taking extra jump shots at 10 p.m.

The Rebels are averaging 96.4 points per game this season, trailing only Virginia Military Institute's 103.7 points per game.

Ole Miss (5-0) hosts New Mexico (7-0) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Here's where things get scary - head coach Andy Kennedy thinks the Rebels can do more.

"We haven't begun to scratch the surface," he said after his team defeated Troy on Tuesday.

Huertas is someone the Rebels are still trying to get on track. Through five games, Huertas has struggled to get into a rhythm offensively, and he's shooting 21.7 percent from three-point range.

There are still some execution and focus issues, freshman guard Chris Warren said.

"We can average over 100 points if we play a whole game mentally ready to play, but we don't," Warren said. "We're working on it, and hopefully, it's something we'll fix real soon."

Kennedy said teams have given the Rebels a chance to get up and down.

"We've played teams that want to play fast. Tempo's not been an issue," he said. "We've been fairly efficient offensively."

Thanks in large part to Warren, the Rebel offense has run smoothly. Warren's averaging 7.4 assists per game (seventh in the country).

He's been distributing the ball to one of six other Rebels averaging over 8.0 points per game (Warren's averaging 14.6).

He's just one part of the offensive puzzle. And while the picture isn't quite complete yet, senior guard Brian Smith said the team's having plenty of fun putting it all together.

"I didn't know we'd be averaging this many points. It's fun. I like it," Smith said. "It's pretty cool seeing the fans when we get around 100. People are really into it."

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