Bulldogs Best Central Arkansas To Conclude Non-Conference Slate

Published 9:31 am Monday, December 21, 2020

STARKVILLE – Jessika Carter had a career night scoring and recorded her third double-double of the year to lift Mississippi State to a 72-49 victory against Central Arkansas at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday.

Carter ended the game with a personal-best 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting, 15 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in just 22 minutes of action. She played a key role in Mississippi State (5-1) dominating the paint with 40 points compared to just eight points down low from Central Arkansas (2-6). On the glass, the Bulldogs held a 45-36 advantage.

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“It just shows how dangerous that we can be,” head coach Nikki McCray-Penson said about the junior forward. “She was able to score on the inside. It’s great when you have a player who can really dominate the inside for us. I like to play inside-out basketball. It’s really good to see her playing well going into SEC play.”

State had a strong defensive performance, holding the Sugar Bears to 23-percent shooting, the lowest percentage by an opponent this season. MSU allowed just five assists while forcing 18 turnovers and recorded eight blocks and seven steals in the contest.

Offensively, the Bulldogs assisted on 20 of their 26 baskets and shot 43 percent from the field. Sidney Cooks finished with nine points, four rebounds and three assists, while Madison Hayes added eight points, eight boards, four assists and one block.

Starkville, Miss., native Jalisa Outlaw led the way for Central Arkansas, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. She was 14-of-15 from the charity stripe for the game. As a team, the Sugar Bears shot 22-of-24 (91.7 percent) from the free throw line, accounting for nearly half of the team’s points in the matchup.

Despite a tough shooting start, Mississippi State used a 17-3 run to take a 22-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs’ defense forced eight turnovers in the period, which led to seven points for MSU.

State’s defense was lights out in the second stanza, holding the Sugar Bears without a basket the entire quarter and forcing seven more turnovers. The Bulldogs allowed just two points to be scored during the final 6:35 of the period and entered halftime with a commanding 41-14 advantage.

Carter dominated the first half with 15 points and nine rebounds, while seven other Bulldogs found the scoring column. Defensively, State held Central Arkansas to just 3-of-23 shooting from the floor and forced 14 turnovers to go along with four steals and three blocks.

UCA wouldn’t go away quietly, finding their way to the charity stripe 10 times during the third quarter. The Sugar Bears were perfect from the line, which helped them cut the lead to 56-32 going into the final frame. Carter carried the Bulldogs with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting and six boards in the stanza. She posted six points in the fourth quarter to cap her career night and lead the Bulldogs to the victory.

Up next, Mississippi State begins conference with a road matchup at Georgia on Sunday, Dec. 31, for a 6 p.m. tip. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and streamed on the MSU Radio Network.

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