UConn's 111-game winning streak ends, Miss St wins at buzzer

Notes: Mississippi State is making its first ever appearance in the Final Four... She and the rest of the college-basketball-watching world; about 40 minutes before the calendar flipped to April, the queens of March were dethroned.

The result means that CT (36-1) will not get a chance to add to a streak of four consecutive national championships. That last-second attempt was blocked, and the game headed to extra time.

UConn has won the past four national titles, while this year marks Mississippi State's first trip to the final four. In last year's Sweet 16, UConn beat Mississippi State 98-38.

"I live for moments like this", William said. "I'm speechless. I'm in shock".

"The second half, I thought we just imposed our will from a defensive standpoint, sped the game up, and got playing at a pace which benefited our style of play", Staley said. I know the names have changed with some of them.

Now they've erased that defeat, beating UConn (36-1) on the grandest stage in one of the sport's greatest games.

Mississippi State led 64-62 with 26.5 seconds left in overtime before a replay review resulted in a flagrant foul on the Bulldogs' Dominique Dillingham.

Samuelson, who finished scoreless while playing 25 minutes and taking only two shots, returned to start the second half.

"They don't own any of those 10 Final Fours". At the same time, we know we can't really get caught up in the whole UConn thing. "We've done something, the first in program history". However, Mississippi State did a marvelous job of stopping the bleeding.

COACH'S DAUGHTER: Mississippi State guard Blair Schaefer was a freshman in high school when Texas A&M won the women's title in 2011 with her father, Vic Schaefer, as an assistant.

"Somebody's got to beat them, and it might as well be us", said Beth Crawford of Mayhew, who brought her husband, John, along to watch the Final Four. While they aren't unbeatable like years past, it will still take a monumental effort to beat the Huskies.

Just as turnovers were a big factor in the Bulldogs' win over Baylor - the Lady Bears also had 17 - the giveaways hurt UConn, too.

You tell yourself not to look at all of UConn's weighty numbers, the 10 straight Final Fours, the 863 days since their last loss.

Two teammates came off the bench to carry Samuelson off the floor.

Working off of a busted play, William would improvise.

A great game involving UConn, of course, is rare. She said she's kept an eye on the Bulldogs throughout the season.

The Crawfords said they have followed Bulldog athletics since moving to Starkville in 1978. "He was like, 'Morgan, you can win the game". Time was just ticking. But they remember specific plays from the handful of games the Huskies have lost over those years, and they don't take anything for granted - especially not tonight.

It just the second time UConn has trailed at the half this season and only the fourth occasion in the 111-game winning streak. The Bulldogs led, 15-13, before scoring 14 straight points to go up, 29-13.

The teams would essentially trade baskets like two heavy weights standing toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring to close out the third.

The Huskies jumped all over an overwhelmed Mississippi State team in the 2016 NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs then reclaimed a lead at 60-59 with a 3-pointer from Vivians with 1:14 left in regulation. MSU came into the game at 33-4. "I was in a little bit of disbelief".

"I think it's motivation knowing where we are from, and how far we came", guard Roshunda Johnson said. "I didn't know how to act".

"I still can't believe it", said William, a junior. "You walk in the locker room, there's not a lot of jumping around".

It began a three-point lead when Williams scored after a steal. "This is a very special team", said Wilson, who had 13 points and 19 rebounds.

The Bulldogs will face the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday for the National Championship, and UConn is packing to go home. But that team was gone, the reins handed to William, Collier and sharpshooting sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson, a trio of sophomores. The Cardinal led early, but struggled after star Karlie Samuelson sprained her ankle.

  • Larry Hoffman