#4 Mississippi State Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Mississippi State Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
 Mississippi State Logo
The big change for Mississippi State comes on the sidelines where Vic Schaefer left for Texas after leading the team to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances and back-to-back SEC regular season titles. Coach Nikki McCray-Penson takes over the program after quickly turning around Old Dominion. With eight of their ten regular rotation players back, Mississippi State has the talent and experience they need to be right in the chase for their third straight conference title.
2019-20 Record: 27-6, 13-3
Coach: Nikki McCray-Penson
Coach Record: 0-0 at Mississippi State, 53-39 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jordan Danberry, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Chloe Bibby, Forward, 7.5 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Rickea Jackson, Sophomore, Forward, 15.1 ppg
Jessika Carter, Junior, Forward/Center, 13.0 ppg
Aliyah Matharu, Sophomore, Guard, 7.1 ppg
Myah Taylor, Junior, Guard, 5.6 ppg
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Senior, Guard, 4.6 ppg
JaMya Mingo-Young, Sophomore, Guard, 4.5 ppg
Xaria Wiggins, Junior, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Yemiyah Morris, Senior, Center, 3.4 ppg
Key New Players
Sidney Cooks, Junior, Forward/Center, Transfer from Michigan State
Madison Hayes, Freshman, Guard
Charlotte Kohl, Freshman, Center
Caterrion Thompson, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Bowling Green
The frontcourt is in great shape thanks to the return of top scorers Rickea Jackson and Jessika Carter. Jackson had a great freshman campaign, averaging 15.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. She is a great scorer in the paint, but can step outside and knock down some shots too. Carter is the more traditional force in the paint and led the team with 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The addition of Sidney Cooks, a transfer from Michigan State, will give the frontcourt plenty of talented options. Cooks is a versatile big player who can hit three-pointers and handle the ball. Myah Taylor gives the backcourt an experienced point guard. Taylor is not much of a scorer, but she dished out 4.6 assists per game and is a fine defender. Aliyah Matharu could emerge as the team’s top perimeter scoring threat after a very promising freshman campaign. She averaged 7.1 points per game, despite playing just 9.9 minutes per contest. Bowling Green transfer Caterrior Thompson and incoming freshman Madison Hayes could be the scoring threats Mississippi State needs on the perimeter in order to make a serious push towards the Final Four.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.2 (12th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.6 (85, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.5 (9, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.3 (145, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.9 (320, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (120, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.0 (188, 9)
Rebound Margin: 3.0 (102, 8)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (71, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (31, 3)
Madness 2021 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#24 Chloe Bibby
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#40 Madison Hayes