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

Carter: The future is shining bright for MSU women’s basketball

MSU+women%26%238217%3Bs+basketball+was+the+first%2C+first+four+team+to+advance+to+the+second+round+of+the+NCAA%26%238200%3BTournament%2C+Junior+guard+JerKaila+Jordan+finished+the+2023+season+with+393+points%2C+72+steals%2C+23+blocks+and+64+assists%2C+MSU+has+advanced+to+the+second+round+of+the+Big+Dance+11+straight+times.
File Photo | Landon Scheel

MSU women’s basketball was the first, first four team to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Junior guard JerKaila Jordan finished the 2023 season with 393 points, 72 steals, 23 blocks and 64 assists, MSU has advanced to the second round of the Big Dance 11 straight times.

Many people doubted Sam Purcell and the Mississippi State University women’s basketball team. People doubted their talent, leadership, work ethic and ability to get things done. However, coach Purcell led the talented Bulldogs back to the Big Dance in his first season at the helm.
Mississippi State hired Purcell as the women’s basketball head coach on March 12 of last year due to his reputation of being one of the most respected recruiters in the country and a great Division 1 assistant coach.
As he stepped into the head coach position, the fruits of Purcell’s leadership abilities and the Bulldogs’ hard work were obvious as the season began.
Purcell led the Bulldogs to 21 wins with only two losses at home. During each game, Bulldogs fans piled into the Hump to show their full-blown support for the talented and determined MSU women’s basketball team.
In the regular season, the Bulldogs averaged 71.1 points and 40 rebounds per game with a game-high of 104 points scored early in the season. The team also improved to shooting an average of 67% from the free throw line.
Mississippi State trekked through the season, conquering talented teams such as Texas A&M, Kentucky and Tennessee. And for the first time since 2019, the Bulldogs secured their spot in the Big Dance.
Fans and even skeptics kept up with the Bulldogs for their underdog status, but little did they know that their story was only just beginning to unfold.
As the new record holder for wins by a first-year coach at Mississippi State, Purcell made it very clear that he was determined to make the women’s basketball program impossible to forget.
The Bulldogs spent the entire season preparing for their dance on the court at the NCAA Tournament, and their preparation and determination became apparent as MSU walked away with an 81-66 win against six-seeded Creighton in the First Round.
With the victory, Mississippi State became the first team to play in the First Four and advance to the round of 32. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs just barely missed the mark after dropping a 53-48 gut-wrenching game against Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Standout players like Jessika Carter, JerKaila Jordan, Ahlana Smith, and Anastasia Hayes played tremendous roles in helping lead the Bulldogs back to success this season.
Purcell and the Bulldogs proved time and time again that Mississippi State can hold its own. With an outstanding head coach and a plethora of talent, the future is shining bright for the MSU women’s basketball team.

About the Contributor
Aubrey Carter, Sports Editor
Aubrey Carter is a junior communication major with a concentration in broadcast & digital journalism from Birmingham, Alabama. She currently serves as the Sports Editor. [email protected]
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Carter: The future is shining bright for MSU women’s basketball