September 12, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Mississippi State on a mission as one

Missy and Bulldogs coach Sam Purcell talk about how the team will follow-up a historic first year

Missy Heidrick is back for another episode of the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast, and this time she is talking with Mississippi State coach Sam Purcell. In his first year at the helm, Purcell set a program record with 22 wins in his first season and a 9-7 record in the SEC. He also took the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019.

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Missy and Sam look ahead to his second year in Starkville, competing in the SEC and what to expect from his 2023-24 roster. But first, how did he choose Mississippi State?

“I’m very fortunate because I haven’t got here without having great people in my circle,” Purcell said. “I’ve had unbelievable mentors, I’ve been able to coach great players. And that’s what Mississippi State is. It’s a special hidden gem where women’s basketball matters and is valued. And it’s supported like no other. They just joy fellowship down here.”

Purcell previously served as an assistant and associate coach on Jeff Waltz’s staff in Louisville where the Cardinals made eight NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the Final Four twice. He also had stops at Georgia Tech and Tulsa.

In segment two, Missy asked him about his returning core, including the Bulldogs’ top two scorers in Jessika Carter and JerKaila Jordan.

“We’re proud of where we got the program back, but we’re hungry for more,” Purcell said. “I couldn’t be more of a happy coach.”

They also talked about the mentality going into his second season, compared to coming into his first head coaching position a year ago.

“This year’s slogan is ‘One,'” Purcell revealed. “Talent doesn’t win championships. Somebody on my team can’t start, somebody’s gonna have to take a different role than the one they had. I face it right on the front end because you all came here and could have stayed where you were and had the same role. Or, you could have gone somewhere else for a larger role, but you chose to come here. Can we come together as one and have a magical season where you have different players night in and night out step up?”

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