OXFORD, Miss. (via. Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss women’s basketball will play host to the Kansas Jayhawks for the first time in program history as part of the 2020 SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which was formally announced by both conferences on Thursday.
The Rebels are 2-0 against Kansas all-time and 16-14 against current Big 12 schools. Ole Miss notched its first win over Kansas at the 1988 Aruba Sunshine Shootout in the Virgin Islands on Nov. 27, 1988, with the Rebels emerging victorious, 61-40, amid a stout defensive effort. The Rebels, who were on the way to their third Elite Eight in five years in that 1988-89 season, held Kansas to just 10 points in the second half, which at the time was the second best defensive half in program history.
The two schools met again 18 years later in the postseason, with Ole Miss winning a 78-76 thriller over the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse in the first round of the 2006 WNIT on March 19, 2006. All-American and current assistant coach Armintie Herrington drained a season-high 31 points as the Rebels erased a 16-point deficit in the second half – capped by a game-winning jumper by Ashley Awkward (16 points) with 18 seconds remaining.
Kansas is coming off a 15-14 campaign in 2019-20 and will return Big 12 All-Freshman Team guard Zakiyah Franklin, who led Kansas in assists (3.6/game) while averaging 12.1 points per game. The Jayhawks also return their leading scorer Aniya Thomas, who averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 three-pointers in 2019-20.
The inaugural Challenge was held in 2014, with the first 10-game slate occurring in 2016. The SEC edged the Big 12, 6-4, that year, with the conferences splitting the Challenge, 5-5, the next two seasons before the Big 12 won in 2019. Each season, 10 institutions from the SEC will square off against all 10 schools from the Big 12. The format includes five home games on campus sites for each conference per season, and teams will not face the same opponent twice.
Ole Miss has taken part in the Challenge three times, traveling to No. 16 West Virginia on Dec. 4, 2016 (L, 66-61), hosting TCU on Nov. 29, 2018 (L, 55-50) and again hitting the road to Texas Tech on Dec. 4, 2019 (L, 84-48).
The entire Ole Miss women’s basketball non-conference schedule will be announced at a later date.