STARKVILLE — Mississippi State women’s basketball has gotten going in their first season under head coach Sam Purcell, and as he works out kinks for his first team on the court, he and his staff continue to build for the future.
Over the last few weeks Purcell and his staff have secured the signatures of Quanirah Cherry-Montague, Jasmine Brown and Mjracle Sheppard, ranked 48th, 54th, and 86th respectively on the 2023 ESPNW 100 recruiting rankings. The talented 2023 recruits are joined by a highly sought after JUCO star, Meloney Thames.
“I couldn’t be more happy about my team, I love my team and the opportunities in front of us, and then obviously I love the future with a huge signing class that now is done,” Purcell said when speaking to the media Thursday. “We’re bringing in four special young women that are going to balance our team, but most importantly not outside of basketball, but who they are as people. One of the biggest things every one of them told me is their love of Mississippi State and how excited they are to be a part of this community.”
The class was finalized this week with the additions of Cherry-Montague and Thames, a nice pick-me-up after a one-point loss Monday at South Dakota State.
“I knew a lot of them,” Purcell said. “That’s the fortunate thing like I talked about at Louisville where we recruited a lot of great players across the country, so those relationships that I had and the work that I did prior to being the head coach carried over to here.”
Purcell specifically talked about Brown and Sheppard, whom he’s recruited since his time at Louisville. He identified them as potential players who can help replace an immediate need at guard with several graduate and senior players at the position departing next year.
“Jasmine was a kid I talked to all the time from Illinois, who we signed,” Purcell said. “I was the lead recruiter, so then it helped me being the head coach to get a kid from that area to come down here. And then Mjracle has always been a kid that I loved. I know her because she’s from one of the top AAU programs in the country. I’ve watched her, and it was more me, the passion on the phone, and then also a need. A fit here because we’re losing two dynamic guards, so she was brought in there and it just fell in place. It was a perfect fit.”
Purcell also took the opportunity to shout out his assistant coaches for their role in recruiting while also thanking the fans for their role in making the recruits feel welcome on social media. His message, once again, is that women’s basketball matters in Starkville and the community plays a big role in that.
“And a shoutout to my social media Mississippi State fans,” he said, “because (the 2023 recruits) felt that love. That’s the beauty of social media, there’s goods and bads, but with here and our brand, our fan base is like no other. And for the fact that the love that they showed them just solidified the reason why they come to Mississippi State, because again, women’s basketball matters.”
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