Debresha Powe 2020 file photo

Debreasha Powe weaves her way through Brandon defenders on her way to the basketball during the MHSAA Class 6A quarterfinals Feb. 29, 2020 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.

Debreasha Powe didn’t want to drag out her college decision.

After a junior season in which she finished with 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest, Powe, a Meridian High School guard, announced Sunday her intention to continue her basketball career at Mississippi State. It was a decision she made more than a week prior to it becoming public, and Powe said there was no reason to put it off any longer.

“I was thinking if I really know where I want to go, why wait and keep them waiting?” Powe explained. “I wanted to go ahead and do it. I was 100% ready and had my mind made up.”

The MSU women were the NCAA Tournament runner-up in 2017 and 2018, and Powe said the opportunity to play for a program with that kind of recent success is humbling.

“I feel excitement, joy and like a load of stress is just gone,” Powe said. “I can take a deep breath now. It’s a great opportunity, and I want to take advantage of it as best I can. Whenever I go there, I’m going to be ready to work because I know I can go far.”

MHS girls basketball coach Deneshia Faulkner said she’s proud of Powe for earning the chance to play college basketball at the Division I level.

“This is the SEC and Mississippi State,” Faulkner said. “Growing up in Mississippi, little girls dream of playing at Mississippi State. It’s huge for our program and huge for Debreasha. We’ve been working hard to make this a top-notch program, one that prepares kids for the college level, and this speaks volumes for her and the program and lets the up-and-coming kids know the sky is the limit.”

Powe said she has a good relationship with MSU coach Nikki McCray-Penson, and she appreciates the work ethic of everyone involved in the program, which is what attracted her to the school.

“I love how passionate Coach McCray and the players are,” Powe said. “They’re not wasting time. From what I saw when I went on my visit, they’re getting right into it, and their practices are intense. There’s a lot of communication on the court, and you have everything you need around you so you don’t have to worry about anything.”

Faulkner said Powe was a standout during summer workouts in June, and she has no doubt Powe will have a strong senior season this coming winter.

“We sat down after the season and had evaluations, and she really dedicated herself to it,” Faulkner said. “She’s been playing really well, and I think he skill set has improved from last year.”

With June workouts now completed, Powe will play Amateur Athletic Union basketball this month after not being able to last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her other finalists included Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Georgia Tech.

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