STARKVILLE — Mississippi State will lose two more members of the 2020-21 women’s basketball team.
Former Michigan State import Sidney Cooks announced Thursday morning that she intends to transfer from Mississippi State with one year of eligibility left, while center Yemiyah Morris disclosed her plans to leave later in the day. Cooks intends to transfer as she pursues law school, which MSU doesn’t have.
“I want to thank you for your support and encouragement these last two years,” she wrote in an announcement posted to her Twitter account. “From my time on the court to the emotional support shown during the events of this past summer, you all have been there for me.”
Cooks arrived at MSU with considerable hype as a former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American. In her two years at Michigan State, she averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game but failed to reach those marks in Starkville. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Cooks averaged 6.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season. She also saw her 3-point percentage dip from 40.3 percent during the 2018-19 season at Michigan State to 35.3 percent this season at MSU.
Cooks’ most prolific outing as a Bulldog came in a Dec. 14 win over Troy where she scored a career-high 26 points on 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
“It’s good to be back,” she said at the time. “It’s good to know that just because my journey was a little bit different, that I could make it happen here, I’m just really blessed to be here and have this opportunity to be healthy and playing. I’m just grateful for that right now.”
Cooks was also instrumental in organizing a student-athlete Black Lives Matter march in September and has been a vocal advocate for racial injustice reform since the summer. A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, the shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black, by police officers occurred just a few blocks from her home.
“It really hurt me,” Cooks said in September. “And then to see later in the night, how the people in the city reacted — I just knew they were hurt, too. We wouldn’t expect little Kenosha, Wisconsin, to have this much stuff going on.”
Morris came to MSU after a standout career at Cochise College (Arizona). Generally reserved for mop up duty, she averaged just 3.3 points and 2.6 rebounds over her two-year stint with the Bulldogs.
“I’d like to thank the fans and community for your love and support of me and my teammates the last two years in Starkville,” she wrote on Twitter. “To my teammates, I’ve loved the two years I’ve gotten to grow with you all, and I wish you guys all the best.”
Cooks and Morris become the third and fourth Mississippi State player to leave the program since the Bulldogs’ season ended Monday night when they weren’t selected for the NCAA Tournament, though their departures were expected. Sophomore JaMya Mingo-Young announced her intention to transfer on Tuesday, while junior Xaria Wiggins did so last week.
MSU finished its first season under Nikki McCray-Penson 10-9 (5-7 SEC), but missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2013-14 season. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Dispatch this week that the Bulldogs also declined an invitation to the WNIT in recent days.
Ben Portnoy reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @bportnoy15.
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