Mississippi State women's basketball eyeing return to NCAA Tournament

Mississippi State women’s basketball eyeing return to NCAA Tournament

STARKVILLE — Sam Purcell doesn’t want to put a label on expectations. The first-year Mississippi State women’s basketball coach isn’t making declarations of his program returning to the NCAA Tournament, but if his players want to, they can.

And they did.

Moments before Purcell walked into the Humphrey Coliseum media room Tuesday, junior guard JerKaila Jordan left nothing for the imagination when asked if MSU had what it took to return to March Madness for the first time since 2019.

“Yes,” she said.

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Graduate transfer Asianae Johnson sat to Jordan’s left. She took it one step further.

“Man, we’re the dream team,” Johnson said.

Sitting to Jordan’s right, Florida State transfer guard Kourtney Weber chimed in.

“We practice every day with a top-25 mentality,” Weber said. “Especially (Purcell) coming from one of those programs. We practice with intensity every day to get Mississippi State back there.”

Mississippi State's JerKaila Jordan (2) brings the ball up the court in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky at the women's Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.  (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Purcell wants to see his team “when the lights come on” before he makes similar predictions, but his constant message makes it apparent he believes MSU belongs deep in March competition.

His social media posts often remind fans and recruits of the Final Fours trips Mississippi State had less than five years ago. He frequently praises MSU fans for their care and investment in the women’s game.

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