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Carter, Jackson selected as National Player Of The Year candidates

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s preseason All-American duo of Jessika Carter and Rickea Jackson continued to earn recognition heading into the 2020-21 campaign, as the Bulldogs were named National Player of the Year candidates for both the Naismith Trophy and the Wade Trophy on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jackson and Carter earned preseason All-SEC recognition from league coaches. Jackson was tabbed to the first team, while Carter earned a spot on the second team.

Jackson, who has also been named to the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award preseason watch list, led the Bulldogs in scoring (15.1 ppg) and ranked third in rebounding (5.1 rpg) as a freshman in 2019-20. The Detroit, Michigan, native ranked fifth among all players during conference play with 16.5 points per game and eighth in field goal percentage (.480).

Jackson was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after accounting for 22 percent of Mississippi State’s scoring during conference play despite being the focal point for opposing team’s defenses. The three-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree posted eight games with 20-plus points and was the only freshman in the SEC that eclipsed the 30-point margin. For the season, she scored double digits 23 times, including 18 efforts with 15-plus points, and recorded four double-doubles.

Carter led State in rebounding (8.7 rpg), blocks (1.8 bpg), field goal percentage (.585) and double-doubles (11) and was second on the team in scoring (13.0 ppg) as a sophomore in 2019-20. The 2021 Katrina McClain Award preseason candidate ranked 13th in Division I in field goal percentage (.585) and 28th in offensive rebounds per game (3.8).

The Waverly Hall, Georgia, native averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during SEC Play, and she shot a league-best 65 percent from the field. Carter scored in double figures 22 times last year, including 13 games with 15 or more points, and she recorded 19 games with multiple blocks. An elite rebounder, 37 percent of her scoring came on second-chance opportunities (159 of 429) for State.

A midseason team of 30 players will be announced for the Naismith Trophy in early February; players who do not make the watch list are still eligible to be selected for the midseason 30 team. Then, the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists on March 2, 2021, and four finalists will be named on March 19, 2021. The winner of the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 3, 2021.

The “Wade Watch” list of candidates for the Wade Trophy is composed of players selected by the WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America Selection Committee. The committee will review the list midseason to determine if additional players will be added based on their play during the first half of the 2020-21 season.

The Bulldogs will open the 2020-21 campaign with the Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge at Mohegan Sun Arena on Nov. 28-29. State will begin the tournament with a matchup against Maine, while UConn and Quinnipiac make up the other side of the bracket.

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