Carter, No. 6 Mississippi State women rout New Orleans

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State coach Nikki McCray-Penson told her players all week leading up to the game against New Orleans that their size would be the difference.

The No. 6 Bulldogs used the 3-pointer to roll past Jackson State in their opener, but they were clear and concise that they were going to control the paint on Wednesday night. The final product was a 104-51 victory in which Mississippi State dominated every bit of the paint.

The size advantage led the Bulldogs (2-0) to a 51-16 win in the rebounding column and they outscored the Privateers (1-1) 72-12 in the paint. Jessika Carter led the way with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and added 10 rebounds.

“Obviously, our size played a big factor,” McCray-Penson said. “I thought we really dominated the paint which we needed to. Hopefully, it gave (Carter and Yemiyah Morris) some confidence as we continue to play games.”

JaMya Mingo-Young added 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and had eight rebounds and five assists. Rickea Jackson scored 16 points, and Morris had 14.

It was the second-straight impressive performance from the sophomore Mingo-Young who had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists against Jackson State. The 18 points were her career high but the rebounding margin continued to show the Bulldogs’ willingness to get the guards to the glass as fellow guard Madison Hayes had eight rebounds a game after debuting with the Bulldogs and pulling down nine.

“Our post players have their own problems with bigs around the country so we’re challenging our guards to go get the rebounds,” McCray-Penson said. “Whoever gets the rebounds is the one who pushes the ball and they’re the ones that usually score. I think they’ve kind of bought into that and I like that.”

Mississippi State led 25-9 in the first quarter and 57-28 at the half. The Bulldogs shot 63% and held the Privateers to 32%.

While McCray-Penson wasn’t pleased postgame with the team’s defense, the Bulldogs did hold UNO to nine points in both the first and fourth quarters and they turned them over 16 times.

Dionjhae Thomas led New Orleans with 11 points, and Erin Randle had 10.

Carter’s big night set the tone as she scored the first basket and didn’t stop taking advantage of the mismatch down low. The junior All-SEC performer is doing her best to be more aggressive in the post this season to help Mississippi State continue to compete for championships.

“It boosts my confidence. Even though it was a small team just knowing I’m finishing around the basket and making easy buckets, that’s a big part of my confidence,” Carter said. “If you’re bigger than everybody you should be able to produce in the paint. When we saw that, we said we were getting the ball inside.”

BIG PICTURE:

New Orleans: The visitors were very much overmatched in terms of size and the Bulldogs took advantage of it. Last season playing a nonconference schedule against some SEC teams made the Privateers better and they have Missouri coming up in a couple of weeks for more challenges.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs were up and down in the opening game of the season in front of an empty arena against Jackson State, but they looked the part of a contender again Wednesday they settle into Nikki McCray-Penson’s system.

UP NEXT:

New Orleans: At Jacksonville State on Saturday.

Mississippi State: At South Florida on Friday.

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