When news broke out that star Bulldog forward Rickea Jackson would be out of the lineup for the team’s matchup against Alabama, head coach Doug Novak knew that it was going to take a team effort to make up for her some 20 points per game, and boy did it.
The Bulldogs managed to best the Crimson Tide in a nail biter by a score of 65-62. It was indeed a team effort, with four Bulldogs scoring in double figures, chiefly of which was senior guard Anastasia Hayes, who poured in a team-high 22 points on a 9-17 clip.
This was one of those games it was just fun to watch – back and forth throughout the entire affair. Transfer Jerkaila Jordan showed her offensive prowess early on, scoring the first few baskets for MSU, and she didn’t slow down, as she managed 16 points and 2 assists herself.
Freshman forward Denae Carter also showed up in a huge way for the Bulldogs tonight, but on the defensive end. At just six feet tall, Carter typically doesn’t win the size battle when it comes to post play, and that held true tonight as she was matched up with Crimson Tide center Jada Rice, who stands at 6-foot-4. Carter made it obvious that she wasn’t to be discouraged, though, as she was only a couple buckets away from another double-double with 6 points and 10 boards.
Perhaps the true highlight of the game, though, was her fellow senior playmaker Myah Taylor, who had to leave the game early due to an ankle injury in the 3rd quarter. Taylor is adored by Bulldog fans for her leadership and toughness, and as Novak said after the game, she showed that “to another level” in this contest. Taylor returned in the 4th quarter, visibly not one-hundred percent, to lead her team to victory while pouring in 14 points and nailing the put-away free throws in the closing seconds.
“There’s a reason that all the State fans love her so much,” said Novak after the game, “but that was my first experience watching her take it to another level, and bringing everyone else along with her.”
This was Novak’s first SEC win as the head coach at Mississippi State, and although he is still tapped as the interim, it looks like he and his team might be right at home together.
The next game for the women’s team takes place this Sunday on January 9th, as they play host to Vanderbilt for a 2:00 p.m. tip. That game will air on SEC Network plus. 

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