STARKVILLE — Mississippi State women's basketball forward Rickea Jackson plans to enter the transfer portal, she announced Monday, leaving the Bulldogs without their top scorer for the rest of the season.
"She just wants out for mental health reasons," Caryn Jackson, the player's mother, said in a text message to the Clarion Ledger.
Rickea Jackson has averaged 20.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 15 games this season. Mississippi State (11-7, 2-4 SEC) has been ravaged by change since the end of last season, when a flurry of coaching adjustments struck.
Coach Nikki McCray-Penson stepped down from her position before the season, and Doug Novak, who joined the staff in September, was promoted into the interim role.
Her decision to enter the portal also comes amidst tension between several players on the team, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.
A confrontation involving Jackson occurred during halftime of a loss to Ole Miss on Jan. 16 that resulted in Anastasia Hayes' late arrival to the bench in the third quarter. A source said more dissention occurred after the loss to Arkansas on Sunday.
Jackson, a Detroit native, was building on a 2020-21 season in which she averaged 14.9 points. As a freshman, Jackson made the All-SEC second team. She was playing for her third coach in three years, after joining the program under Vic Schaefer.
Jackson, 20, isn't eligible to immediately enter the WNBA draft, leaving her to play a final season elsewhere.
Had Jackson returned to Starkville, she would've been a centerpiece in Mississippi State's lineup next season. Guard Myah Taylor was granted a sixth season of eligibility, meaning she could return to Mississippi State, part of a core that includes JerKaila Jordan. Plus, highly touted forward Debreasha Powe is an incoming freshman.
But without Jackson in the fold, there's greater uncertainty surrounding the Bulldogs, who are left with a smaller lineup this season and few playmakers next year.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State's Rickea Jackson to enter transfer portal