OXFORD, Miss. -- Earlier Friday, Ole Miss announced that its women's basketball team will not participate in any postseason competition, including the Southeastern Conference Tournament, this season.
Hours after that self-imposed penalty was administered in response to academic and recruiting misconduct by former staff members, interim coach Brett Frank's team took the floor for the first time this season.
The Rebels pulled away from Southeastern Louisiana in the second half to claim a 95-85 win, capping a "roller coaster" day.
"I couldn't be more proud," Frank said. "I thought they played with a lot of passion. I thought they played hard. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come."
Frank, who came to Ole Miss with Adrian Wiggins from Fresno State in March, was promoted to interim head coach after Wiggins and two staffers were relieved of their duties last month.
"There have been ups. There have been downs. There's been a little bit of everything in between," Frank said. "I tell you the most exciting thing has been the resiliency of this group. Our team has been amazing how they've bonded together. They've become such a close family. A lot of times it takes a team months and months and months to develop a chemistry like they have. Through some adversity, they've had to bond together. Obviously, the emotions were high, low and everything in the middle today."
Guard Diara Moore led Ole Miss with 25 points. Kenyotta Jenkins added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Courtney Marbra had 12 points. Amber Singletary added 11 and Gracie Frizzell contributed 10.
The postseason ban was not news to the Rebels Friday, Frank said, noting he was proud his team "competed like they were in the mix for a postseason berth. One of the things we talked about is our journey. They really embrace the fact we have a finite time together."
Elizabeth Styles led Southeastern Louisiana (0-1) with 21 points off the bench. Symone Miller added 16 and Jameika Hoskins 12 for the Lions.
Ole Miss plays host to Northwestern (La.) State Friday.