Mississippi State women’s basketball faces two tough tests this weekend to compete in the Puerto Rico Clásico.
It’s a nice opportunity for the Bulldogs to escape the seasonal cold weather, but also a test against top-flight opponents. After a nice home win against a strong team from the US state of Colorado, Purcell started the preparations for the home games positively.
“It’s huge,” Purcell said of the opportunity to travel to a mini-tournament against Power Five opponents. “Firstly, I just love it because I get some sunshine, there’s great food. Ahlana (Smith) is Puerto Rican, she was on the Puerto Rican national team so she will be going back there and to this area. It’s just great, it’s culture, right. These young women work so hard on and off the court that a trip like this is about more than just basketball. So life is.”
MSU will play short turnarounds against Georgetown and Nebraska on Friday and Saturday, respectively, a test of the Bulldogs’ stamina and readiness, as well as their quality on the court. With just over 24 hours between games, it’s the kind of quick adaptation that provides excellent training for a team with March Madness ambitions.
“It’s tremendous because you have quick turnarounds for your point,” Purcell said when asked about the value of the experience, “so I’m learning a lot about my team so hopefully we can get to March like I refer you.” back to it.”
Both Georgetown and Nebraska have three wins of the season with 3-1 and 3-2 records, respectively. Ranked ahead of losses to Creighton and Drake that knocked the Huskers out of the top-25 polls, Nebraska is coached by Amy Williams, an old friend of Purcell’s. The prospect of a reunion with his old friend is exciting for him, but this is his first time competing as head coaches
“When I started at this store in Tulsa, she was an assistant,” he said. “Her husband was at my wedding so obviously we’re good friends and it gets weird that now I have to compete as a head coach. Of course we probably want to beat each other up, but I love Amy, I love Lloyd, her whole family. They are an NCAA tournament team. She did an incredible job.”
Purcell also had plenty of praise for Georgetown as an opponent, and he expects a tough fight from start to finish from the Hoyas. He knows the Bulldogs need to play their best game to improve on their current record.
Purcell also noted that the state of Mississippi will be watching the Thanksgiving Egg Bowl as it prepares for Friday’s game.
“You’d better believe it,” Purcell said. “I’ll bring my football shirt with me.”
Mississippi State plays Georgetown on Friday at 10:00 a.m. before taking on Nebraska on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Both games will be available to stream with a FloSports subscription.
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