The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU women’s basketball advances to WBIT quarterfinals

Jaden Powell | Mississippi State Athletics
Head coach Purcell has led his Bulldogs to the first annual Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament.

The Mississippi State University women’s basketball team scored two wins at Humphrey Coliseum on Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon, progressing them to the Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT) quarterfinals.

Established in 2024, the WBIT is comprised of a 32-team field with the first three rounds played at the highest-seeded location. Ranked as the No. 2 seed of the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament, the Bulldogs hosted two home games this past week. All WBIT games will be shown on ESPN networks with the semifinals and championship games taking place at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

On Thursday evening, the Bulldogs secured a spot in the second round, defeating Georgia Tech 84-47. The Bulldogs’ bread and butter for their victory was their defense and freshman guard Jasmine Brown-Hagger.

Defensively, the Bulldogs made it difficult for Georgia Tech to get into an offensive rhythm. In the first half, Georgia Tech shot 24% from the field and 0% from the three-point line. Georgia Tech’s struggles in the first half transferred over to the second half, recording 33% from the field and 29% from the three-point line. 

Jaden Powell | Mississippi State Athletics

During Thursday’s press conference, Brown-Hagger shared her thoughts about the Bulldogs defensive performance. 

“We’ve been working really hard on defense, so I think that’s just something we took pride in this game,” Brown-Hagger said. “Especially because our defense has been slacking a little bit, I think today we came out with a defensive mindset to make sure the shooters didn’t get off like they normally do.” 

Much like the Bulldogs’ defense, Brown-Hagger was hard to stop against Georgia Tech. The freshmen posted a team-high 17 points with five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Brown-Hagger shot 70 percent from the field with 3 for 4 from the three-point line. 

Bulldog head coach Sam Purcell explained his analysis of the freshman’s overall performance.

“She was smooth; she just had a great flow and gave us great minutes off the bench,” Purcell said. 

Adding jubilation to the Bulldogs’ game, guard Lauren Park-Lane set the single-season assist record for Mississippi State. The graduate student completed with six assists, breaking Jazzmun Holmes’ previous record of 202 established in 2018–19.

Purcell was all smiles when asked about Park-Lane’s accomplishment.

“For Lauren [Park-Lane] to break the single-season assist record is a phenomenal accomplishment because she is a great young lady who deserves to leave here with her name in the record books,” Purcell said. 

The MSU women’s basketball team looked to ride their momentum into Sunday’s game as they faced Texas Christian University. 

On Sunday evening, the Bulldogs advanced to the WBIT quarterfinals as they defeated TCU 68-61. Jessika Carter, a graduate center, stepped up to the plate for the Bulldogs. Carter posted 17 points, went 88% from the free throw line, and totaled eight rebounds. Carter took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 8 points for the Bulldogs. Carter was tasked with guarding Sedona Prince, a graduate student at TCU. This year, Prince averaged 20 points per game, nine and one-half rebounds and 72% from the free throw line. 

Jaden Powell | Mississippi State Athletics

Purcell said nothing but nice things about Prince during Sunday’s press conference. 

“I recruited Sedona; what a great kid and a great family. I see both of them [Sedona and Jessika] being in the league. This was a treat for the fans to see, two kids I expect to be on a roster,” Purcell said. 

After the game, Carter’s showdown with Prince became the talk of the town. Each player demonstrated unique ways to contribute to their team. 

Carter commented on the battle with Prince.

“It was a fun game today just playing against someone like that. I haven’t really played against no one her size or length this whole season. Just having that matchup to prepare me for the pros, I feel like she’s a pro, an amazing player on the court,” Carter said.

With the win against TCU, the Bulldogs will advance to the quarterfinals where they will go head to head against the Pennsylvania State Lady Lions. Penn State will host Thursday’s matchup, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

About the Contributor
Chase Brumfield
Chase Brumfield, Staff Writer
Chase Brumfield is a junior communication major. Chase is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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