The Mississippi State Women’s Bulldogs had a solid season ending the regular season at 27-6. With placing #9 on the AP Women’s Poll, their expectations was to shock the world and ultimately win a national championship. For most of the season, they felt as if nobody could take them down when everything was clicking and they expected to carry that same attitude further on in the NCAA Tournament this season.
The Lady Bulldogs were led this season by a phenomenal amount of talent in Rickea Jackson out of Detroit, Michigan. Coming into the season, Jackson was ranked 5th overall in the country and gladly decided to continue her journey over at a fantastic organization in Mississippi State. Jackson took the keys this year as being the leading scorer for the team. She had the game in her hands at most times and took advantage of the opportunity that was given to her.
Jackson has been a tall stature for the Bulldogs all year. Standing at 6 foot 3 inches, she has a huge advantage against her defenders and can easily rise up for shots over most of them. Her height also gives her the ability to crash the glass especially on the offensive end for 2nd chance points as well. It’s uncommon that you can get a player of that stature who can shoot and attack the paint. But Jackson all season long was a different breed of them all.
Jackson this season averaged 15.1 points while shooting 48% from the field. She was able to carry over her sharpshooting from High School onto the collegiate level. Working through Coach Schaefer’s system, it gave Jackson the ability to get opportunities on each side of the floor. And playing alongside great players in Jessika Carter, Jordan Danberry, etc. they took much pressure off of Jackson to go out and play her game on a nightly basis.
For a freshmen leading the team for the most part, Jackson’s presence was very much appreciated especially in closing moments of the game. She understood when to make the right play at the right time whether it was on offense or defense. Coach Schaefer raved about Jackson’s consistency all year during the press conference and everything that she does for the team has been much needed to win games. Without her presence and her attention to detail, this Bulldog’s team would not be in the position that they were in during the season.
As Jackson’s college career continues on, it’s only right that she continues to improve as a player and a teammate. One challenge that she should go for is to average more rebounds. Five rebounds is a great stat to average. But just imagine if she crashed the glass even more for her team. With her length and size, Jackson is always one step ahead of her opponent and always has the advantage. If she averages around 8-9 rebounds per game, her game would elevate to her dominance on the boards as well.
Insiders should keep an eye on Rickea Jackson and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They didn’t have an opportunity to compete for a championship this season due to the Tournament being cancelled. But come next season, this squad could be in the hunt to be the sleeper to win it all. Jackson will continue to shine for her team as long as she continues to improve. When she’s clicking on all cylinders, it could be a dangerous sign for opponents who have to face her.