It was a hard-fought battle of epic proportions, as No. 2 Mississippi State avenged last year’s national championship loss, snapping an 11-game losing streak to No. 7 South Carolina, in large part due to junior guard Jazzmun Holmes. Shining brightest under the lights, Holmes’ ability to set a tone and spark the team speaks higher volumes than one may think. Through quickness and decision making, her six points, eight assists, four rebounds, and two steals carried Mississippi State to 24-0. The Bulldogs needed toughness all game long, and it took a dose of Holmes, exactly what the doctor ordered.
Taking precedence over filling the stat line, her main focus is excelling on both ends of the floor. Holmes has been a terror defensively, causing headache after headache for the opposition. With a career-high 28 steals and seven blocks thus far into the season, she is not afraid to take risks. Able to create offensive opportunities off turnovers, Holmes’ unselfish attitude brings out the best in her teammates.
She has the gift of vision, able to pinpoint any pass with the eyes of a hawk. Her ability to elude defenders on and off the ball gives opposing coaches fits, as Holmes can read any defensive scheme. Turnovers have been an issue, but she makes up for it with combining vision with speed and agility. In addition, her willingness to take on any role assigned shows versatility, an element only so many possess in today’s game.
Holmes is a rare talent and the clear leader of Mississippi State’s second unit, always playing with a chip on her shoulder until the score goes final. Her energy is contagious amongst her teammates, emphasizing the importance of unity rather than individual play. The sky is the limit for Holmes, as she has exceeded expectations. Her skillset transcends most, ultimately separating her from the norm.
She made the most of her 22 minutes against South Carolina, well aware of the circumstances. Playing every possession as it if were her last, Holmes exhibits head coach Vic Schaefer’s definition of toughness, leaving it all on the floor game after game. The Bulldogs’ roster is stacked with shooters, many who capitalize off turnovers forced by Holmes. Humphrey Coliseum or “The Hump” was electric throughout, but she tore the roof off following a steal and finding Blair Schaefer for a corner three.
When on the run with an open teammate in sight, Holmes is virtually unstoppable. She was full of emotion and smiles for all the right reasons following Mississippi State’s win, appreciative of what comes with toughness. Camaraderie is king on this team, as Holmes knows what it means to play together.
Holmes knew when to put her best on display in Starkville. No matter the opponent, she is always ready to play. The Bulldogs still have a ways to go, but know that a dose of Holmes may just be the key to an SEC title, Final Four appearance, and national championship.