Mississippi State Women's Basketball's Season Ends in WBIT Quarterfinals

Mississippi State women's basketball had a nice run in the WBIT, but their season came to an end Thursday night.
Mississippi State guard Jerkaila Jordan (2) high-fives teammates as she comes off the court during
Mississippi State guard Jerkaila Jordan (2) high-fives teammates as she comes off the court during / MCKENZIE LANGE/ Staff / USA TODAY

Mississippi State women's basketball saw its 2023-2024 season come to an end Thursday night. The Bulldogs fell in the quarterfinals of the WBIT to the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley, 92-87. They finish the season with a 23-12 record.

Mississippi State's biggest stars shined in a losing effort. Jerkaila Jordan carried the Bulldogs with a career-high 37 points on 12-27 shooting. Navigating foul trouble, Jessika Carter finished a decorated Bulldog career with 21 points in just 21 minutes of game time to go along with a team-leading eight rebounds. Erynn Barnum provided 12 points off the bench.

State had the edge in many of the key categories. They out-rebounded Penn State and posted a +13 second-chance points advantage. They forced 14 turnovers and had twice as many points off turnovers as the Nittany Lions. But in the most important area, Penn State had a noticeable advantage.

Penn State shot 58% from the floor and were an incredible 23-24 from the free throw line. Ashley Owusu and Makenna Marisa had 24 and 22 for the Nittany Lions respectively.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, shot 44% from the floor on an insane 71 shot attempts. They had more than enough chances to score. They simply didn't convert on enough of those looks. Not when Penn State was making shots at such a high clip.

Despite the loss, Mississippi State women's basketball had a positive close to an otherwise frustrating season. A poor end to the regular season knocked the Bulldogs out of the NCAA Tournament in a year where they seemed like a shoe-in to go dancing.

A trip to the WBIT was not exactly an adequate consolation prize considering what this team could have accomplished. However, it was good to see the women rally around each other and give their best efforts in this tournament.

They easily could've chosen to allow their late-season struggles to sour things and play lackadaisically (or not play at all) in the WBIT. Instead, they pulled out wins over Georgia Tech and TCU and had a great shot at beating Penn State to advance to the WBIT semifinals in Indianapolis.

Hopefully, the returning players can build off this experience as we now enter the offseason ahead to a pivotal third-year for head coach Sam Purcell.