November 10, 2020 

SEC News: Ole Miss loses player for the season; Auburn transfer granted immediate eligibility

There was a mixed bag of news coming out of the SEC on Monday with one team losing a player for the season and another gaining a player

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There was a mixed bag of news coming out of the SEC on Monday with one team losing a player for the season and another gaining a player.

For the second consecutive year, Andeija Puckett, a redshirt junior for the Ole Miss women’s basketball program, will sit out the season, this time with a knee injury.

Puckett, who sat out 2019-20 after transferring from Cincinnati, will miss the 2020-21 season due to a knee injury that will require surgery to repair multiple torn ligaments the school announced Monday.

“I am extremely saddened by the news on AP,” Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said in a prepared statement. “She has worked extremely hard and was going to be a force to reckon with this season. This is what’s tough about sports, injuries are a reality. I am confident that AP will come back better than before, and we will be there with her every step of the way.”

Puckett sat out all last season after transferring to Ole Miss from Cincinnati, where she played for two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Puckett played in all 35 games for the Bearcats in 2018-19, averaging 4.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game for a Cincinnati team that advanced to the WNIT quarterfinal.

Puckett was rated an ESPN three-star recruit coming out of high school in Georgia. She left Griffin High School as its all-time leader in scoring (1,330) and rebounds (790).

In other SEC news, on Monday sophomore Alaina Rice was declared immediately eligible for 2020-21 Auburn Tigers season by the NCAA.

Rice is a 5-8 guard who transferred to Auburn from Florida A&M during the offseason. As a freshman for the Rattlers in 2019-20, Rice was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Rookie of the Year. She averaged 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. She played in all 27 games for FAMU, scoring in double-figures 17 times, including a season-best 22 points vs. Howard. Rice played her high school basketball at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

She is one of 10 newcomers to the Auburn women’s basketball roster that joins five returners from last year. Per Auburn, along with Baylor transfer Honesty Scott-Grayson and West Virginia transfer Jala Jordan – both of whom sat out last season – Rice’s immediate eligibility gives the Tigers eight players with previous Division I playing experience.

“Alaina is a combo guard with the length and athleticism that we covet to be successful in our system for the next three years,” Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said when Rice signed with the Tigers in June. “She has an attacking mentality and can create for herself and others from either guard spot.”

The Tigers open the 2020-21 season on Nov. 25; a full schedule will be announced in the coming days.

Written by Dorothy J. Gentry

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