GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Jessika Carter posted her fifth double-double of the season to lift No. 14 Mississippi State to a 68-56 win on the road against Florida at Exactech Arena on Thursday night.
Carter finished with a team-best 25 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist. The junior forward has now recorded four double-doubles in the last five games for the Bulldogs (7-2, 2-1 SEC).
"I think that the ceiling is high for our team [when Jessika is playing will]," said head coach Nikki McCray-Penson. "I think that Jessika has to understand where she has to get her confidence from, and that's going to be inside deep in the paint. Our staff is really trying to help her be both finesse and physical. We need power and finesse from her. I think you guys are seeing that. It's not just dumps. She is actually having to score with someone between her and the basket. We make a very conscious effort to get her, Yemiyah Morris and Sidney Cooks the ball when they're in there. We need them to deliver, so we can play off of them."
Jackson had a solid outing, recording 16 points, four rebounds, four assists and a career-high four steals. Combined with Carter, the All-SEC duo accounted for 60 percent of MSU's total points in the game (41 of 68).
Mississippi State had a strong defensive performance, holding the Gators (7-4, 0-3 SEC) to just 37 percent shooting and forcing 16 turnovers. The Bulldogs converted those turnovers into 16 points. State finished with 10 steals and six blocks in the contest.
Jackson came out with the hot hand in the opening period of the game, dropping nine points to lead all scorers. Mississippi State held a 21-13 advantage at the end of the quarter after holding UF to 27-percent shooting early. State continued to extend its lead in the second stanza, jumping out to a 38-27 lead going into halftime. Carter had a big quarter, scoring 11 of State's 17 points in the frame.
Carter and Jackson kept the momentum going in the third quarter, posting six points and four points, respectively, to finish with 10 of State's 14 points for the period. MSU entered the final frame with a 52-40 advantage. Just like the rest of the game, Carter carried the Bulldogs during the fourth quarter, recording eight points on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting to lift State to the victory. For the game, MSU shot 43 percent from the floor.
Up next, Mississippi State returns home to host in-state rival Ole Miss at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday night. The game will tip at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network and streamed on the MSU Radio Network. State has won 13-straight matchups against the Rebels.