Credit: Mississippi State Athletics
Sophomore forward Debreasha Powe and a 23-2 run in the third quarter proved to be the catalyst for Mississippi State women’s basketball in a 67-46 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Friday night inside historic Humphrey Coliseum.
“We weren’t getting after it in the first half,” said head coach Sam Purcell. “We did a much better job at closing out on shooters and rebounding after the half. That was part of it, but Southeastern Louisiana hit a lot of tough shots and made big-time players at the end of the shot clock right when our fans were getting ready to get going. We knew we needed to get some separation, shout out to my assistant coaches, they pointed out that we needed to get into our press which fueled our run.”
With the win, Mississippi State improves to 2-0 on the season and 16-2 at home under Purcell. The Bulldogs are also now 10-0 in non-conference home contests in his tenure.
“We have a lot of respect for Southeastern Louisiana,” added Purcell. “They were an NCAA tournament team last year and I talked to Coach [Ayla] Guzzardo before the game. They always seem to have a great game plan for their opponents and they play tough. We knew going in that it was going to be a battle.”
Powe finished one rebound shy of her third career double-double with a team-high in points and rebounds, filling the stat sheet with 19 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes. Powe also connected on five of the Bulldogs’ six made threes on the night – one shy of tying her career high. Senior guard JerKaila Jordan added 13 points and six rebounds, in addition to four steals and three assists in 30 minutes.
Graduate student Lauren Park-Lane finished with a team-high in assists for the second-straight game to open her Bulldog career. Park-Lane recorded five assists, in addition to seven rebounds, five points and three steals in the performance.
In a back-and-forth first half, Southeastern Louisiana pushed out to an early 10-4 advantage before five-straight points from Powe pulled the margin back within a possession. Powe would propel Mississippi State on a 14-7 run that helped the Bulldogs command an 18-17 lead at the end of the initial period – a run that was capped off by a buzzer-beating three from the sophomore forward.
“My teammates set me up to succeed tonight,” said Powe. “They were telling me in the huddle that they would continue to find me and for me to be ready to shoot, and Coach [Sam] Purcell kept giving me that confidence to shoot.”
Coming out of the break with a 27-26 lead, Mississippi State created some space with a 23-2 run over 6:33 minutes of action that was fueled by a full-court defensive pressure which forced six Southeastern Louisiana turnovers in that span.
From that moment, Mississippi State would continue to press their visitors to build the largest lead of the contest at 25, 63-38, with three and a half minutes left in regulation.
Mississippi State outscored their opponent 40-20 after the halftime break. The bench added 25 points in the performance, while the Bulldogs also turned in 21 points off 18 forced turnovers.
Mississippi State continues its four-game homestand when the Bulldogs welcome Jacksonville State at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday.