Offseason Brings Major Changes to Mississippi State Women's Basketball's Roster

Mississippi State women's basketball is going to look very different next season after some of the moves from the last few weeks.
Oct 19, 2023; Birmingham, AL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Sam Purcell talks with the
Oct 19, 2023; Birmingham, AL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Sam Purcell talks with the / Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State women's basketball ended the 2023-2024 season less than a month ago with a quarterfinal loss in the WBIT. From the moment that game ended, it was already clear that Sam Purcell was going to have a very different team next season.

At a minimum, you knew that three starters would be gone between Lauren Park-Lane, Erynn Barnum, and Jessika Carter, who was just drafted into the WNBA. State got fantastic news when they learned that starting guard and leading scorer Jerkaila Jordan chose to return for her final year of eligibility, but they were still losing lots of experience and production.

With the offseason now in full swing, it's become clear there will be more changes to the roster than initially expected.

Five Bulldogs hit the portal

Along with the starters who had exhausted their eligibility, State has now seen five players enter the transfer portal, those being senior forward Ramani Parker, freshman guards Jasmine Brown-Hagger and Mjracle Shepard, junior forward Nyayongah Gony, and senior guard Darrione Rogers.

Of that group, Shepard and Rogers are significant losses. Shepard was very impressive as a true freshman, quickly becoming one of the best defenders on the team. Rogers consistently provided State a scoring spark off the bench and was one of their best shooters.

Those two would've remained key pieces in MSU's rotation next season had they stayed.

Two new faces join roster

With MSU losing so much production from this past season, they obviously have plenty of work to do through the portal to build out next year's roster. That work is underway with former Kentucky guard Eniya Russell announcing her transfer to State.

Russell began her career at South Carolina before transferring to Kentucky. Through the first three seasons of her career, she saw a fairly limited role. Last season, however, she blossomed, averaging 10.1 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Wildcats. Russell should be a nice piece for the backcourt next season.

State made another addition to the roster, but this one wasn't through the portal. 6'6" center Madina Okot comes to State by way of Kenya. Okot impressed as a member of the Kenyan National Team and will now add an important post presence to the roster with last year's starting frontcourt gone.

State will continue to add talent through the portal

Last season Sam Purcell signed one of the nation's best transfer classes with three key pieces joining the Bulldogs. He's got an even bigger task at hand going into his third year leading the program with so much turnover on the roster.

State is in the mix for several transfers and will likely once again bring in an incredibly impactful transfer class. They really don't have a choice not to. A key name to watch over the coming days is former LSU and Louisville star Hailey Van Lith.

Van Lith has a close relationship with Sam Purcell from her time at Louisville and visited Starkville this past weekend. She would be a massive pick-up for the Bulldogs should she choose to reunite with Purcell.