Mississippi State – Official Athletics Site

STARKVILLE – No. 2 Mississippi State women’s basketball travels to face the No. 1 Tribe. 1 Penn State in the quarterfinals of the inaugural women’s basketball invitational tournament inside the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday. The announcement is scheduled for 5pm CT on ESPN+.

The WBIT was established prior to this season with the initial three rounds held at the home of the highest seeded team. All contests are broadcast on ESPN networks. The winner of the four quarterfinal rounds will advance to the Final Four with the semifinal and championship contests played at Butler’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

Mississippi State was one of three SEC teams — Florida and Arkansas — selected in the field and is now the only conference left.

Mississippi State [23-11, 8-8 SEC] at Penn State [21-12, 9-9 Big 10]
Date: Thursday, March 28 | Time: 5pm CT
Location: University Park, Pa.
Watch: ESPN+
Listen: MSU Radio Network – Starkville 96.1

Fans not in attendance can follow the action on ESPN+ or via their Mississippi State radio station with Jason Crowder. Live stats will be available via the statbroadcast link attached above.

This will be the second all-time meeting between Mississippi State and Penn State. Penn State defeated Mississippi State in the lone series contest on November 20, 2002. Penn State will be the third Big 10 team that Mississippi State has faced under Coach Purcell.

It’s the 20th overall postseason tournament appearance — 12 NCAA and 8 WBIT/WNIT/NWIT — for the program and second straight under Purcell. Purcell is the only coach in program history to lead their team to a postseason tournament in each of their first two seasons.

With a current record of 23-11, Purcell is the only coach in program history to record 20 consecutive winning seasons to begin their tenure. He is one of 11 all-time SEC coaches with 20-plus wins in each of their first two seasons and one of five since 2000. Purcell’s 45 overall and 17 SEC wins lead all coaches leading in program history over their first two seasons.

At No. 27 in the NET, Penn State is the third-best NET opponent Mississippi State has faced this season behind South Carolina and LSU.

Penn State enters Thursday 21-12 overall and 9-9 in the Big 10 in its fifth season under coach Carolyn Kieger. The Nittany Lions have five players who average 10-plus points per game and rank in the top 10 nationally in offense, field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage.

Mississippi State advanced to the quarterfinals after beating No. 3 TCU in the second round at home on Sunday. Graduate Student Center Jessica Carter finished with a team-high 17 points — eight in the fourth quarter — in addition to eight points and three blocks in 33 minutes. Carter is averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 26.9 minutes per contest in the WBIT.

Mississippi State has held each opponent below their season scoring average and is holding opponents to 34.5 percent from the field. The Bulldogs are also averaging 27.5 points in the first two WBIT contests.

Mississippi State is led by second-team All-SEC selections at senior guard Jerkaila Jordan and Carter. Mississippi State is one of five schools with multiple First or Second Team selections — Alabama, South Carolina, LSU and Ole Miss were the others.

Jordan is having one of the best seasons of her career. She is averaging a team-high 15.6 points and 2.1 steals in addition to career highs in rebounds, assists and minutes with 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 30.6 minutes per game. Jordan has led the team in points in 15 contests and has scored 10 more points in 26 this season.

Graduate student guard Lauren Park-Lane leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally with 211 assists this season. She is one of only three players in the nation to rank inside the top eight in total assists in each of the last two seasons. Park-Lane has led the team in assists with 30 total contests.

Park-Lane is averaging 6.2 assists per contest, which is ninth nationally and the second-best single-season assist average in program history. She broke the program record for assists in a season of 202, set by Jazzmun Holmes in 2018-19 with her sixth assist in the WBIT First Round against Georgia Tech on March 21.

Carter is averaging a near double-double with 14.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 31.7 minutes per contest. She has recorded 13 double-doubles this season — her best single-season total — and 41 for her career. She is one of six SEC players with 10-plus double-doubles this season, and her career total ranks second among active SEC players and third in program history.

The second guard Debreasha Powe and senior guard Darrion Rogers are two of the best from behind the arc and have each connected on 60-plus threes this season – the only duo in the SEC to accomplish the feat. Powe is converting 40.1 percent from three, which ranks fourth in the SEC and is a +9.9 increase from her freshman season.

The winner of Thursday’s contest will face either the No. 1, Villanova, or the no. 3, Saint Joseph’s in the semifinals in Indianapolis, Ind. on April 1st. The timing of the counseling is yet to be determined.

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