Women’s Basketball Dominates in Purcell’s Coaching Debut
Published 2:23 pm Thursday, November 10, 2022
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State women’s basketball started the Sam Purcell era in exciting fashion with a dominating 104-47 victory over Mississippi Valley State Wednesday night in Humphrey Coliseum. The win was the first career head coaching victory for Coach Purcell.
Leading the way for Mississippi State was redshirt senior Jessika Carter, who was dominant on Wednesday with her 19th career double-double behind 16-points and 10 boards. Carter wasn’t alone in filling up the stats sheet as five other Bulldogs joined her in reaching double-figures, the most since Feb. 27, 2022. Joining Carter in double-figures was JerKaila Jordan, who had a team-high 18-points, Asianae Johnson (16), Ahlana Smith (15), Kourtney Weber (10) and Debreasha Powe (10).
It was a night full of Maroon and White debuts as seven different Bulldogs suited up for State for the first time. Ramani Parker, Alasia Hayes, Nyayongah Gony, Johnson, Smith, Weber and Powe made their debuts. The newest Bulldogs combined to score 59 of the team’s 104 points (.567).
Following a pair of MVSU free throws with 2:38 left to play in the first quarter, the Bulldogs put their foot on the gas and never looked back. State, already leading 19-8, went on a 23-0 run across the next five minutes between the first and second quarters to put the game away. MSU outscored Mississippi Valley State 55-18 in the first half and 49-29 in the final two frames of opening night.
The victory moves MSU to 1-0 on the season, while MVSU falls to 0-1.
• State was 12-of-15 (.800) from the floor in the opening frame.
• Powe opened her collegiate career with eight points and three rebounds in the first quarter. Powe ended the game with 10 points.
• Anastasia Hayes had eight assists on the night, three shy of a career-high
• Carter added six blocks to her totals, tying a career-high
• The Bulldogs outscored MVSU 58-14 in the paint.
• Johnson went 2-2 from three, setting a new career high. Her previous high was one setback on Jan. 19, 2022, against Saint Louis.
• The Bulldog earned 42-points from their bench and 32-points off turnovers.
Quoting Coach Purcell
First of all, a dream come true. I’ll talk a little bit about me and then my team cause I’m tired of talking about me. My debut is finally over, but from the bottom of my heart, just thank everyone – the administration for giving me a chance, the fan base for loving me, my family – I put something out on Twitter, but me and my wife were on the couch last night – and we were talking about: ‘Can you believe it’s been eight and a half months?’ I just got off a plane, and now I’m here. Everybody asks, you know, “Can we recruit? Can he keep the players? Will the energy be good? What’s going on with the women’s program?” And to think of everything that we’ve overcome, I couldn’t be more excited about where we’re at. We’re going to celebrate today, and then we’re going to work on rebounding tomorrow. Again, from the bottom of my heart to our fan base: Thank you; this was great. Let’s stop celebrating me and start celebrating these women.
Following Wednesday’s contest vs MVSU, Mississippi State will host North Alabama on Friday, Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m. During halftime of the game, MSU will honor one of the great basketball players ever at State with the jersey commemoration of LaToya Thomas. Fans in attendance will be treated to mini replica banners.