Shocker! UConn streak ends to team it beat by 60 previous year
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 02, 2017,
Apr 02, 2017, 16:13
While facing a familiar foe is helpful for the short turnaround, SC coach Dawn Staley knows Mississippi State is a different team from the one the Gamecocks played a month ago.
A year ago, Mississippi State fell behind the Huskies by 28 points after the first quarter when CT handed the Bulldogs a 60-point loss in the Sweet 16.
So many of those 111 wins came easy, that even when things got hard Friday night against Mississippi State - and that happened often, as they fell behind by 16 in the first quarter, and by eight at halftime, and were tied at the end of the third and fourth quarters - the Huskies believed they'd pull out of it and win, because they always did.
The best story would be Mississippi State capping of this run with a championship, but SC is just the better team with more depth. But after Mississippi State didn't score on the next trip down the court, the officials reviewed the play and ultimately called a flagrant foul on Mississippi State.
And, as it turns out, Mississippi State would go on to beat UConn and they're now on their way to play for a national title against SC, the third matchup against the Gamecocks this season.
The Bulldogs lost twice to the Gamecocks this year, dropping a game in SC in the regular season and then in the SEC Tournament title game. "It sunk in for me after we huddled up after the game".
That doesn't take away any of the greatness that this team accomplished through the season.
Then losses by Florida State, Baylor and Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament cleared the way for their tenth-straight Final Four appearance and what looked like a path to a fifth-straight national title.
Talking about the shot afterwards, William told reporters, "I live for moments like this... And last night they're just like: Okay coach, who's next, when do we play, where, what time is the bus leaving?" Mississippi State, which needed a blocked shot and 41 points from Morgan William to beat Baylor, 94-85 in overtime, in the regional final.
Schaefer described his team has having tremendous heart and some pride, which got stepped on by UConn last season.
"He [Schaefer] said, "You about to win the game".
"Ain't any shots bigger than then one she hit tonight", Schaefer said.
It took an incredible shot by Mississippi State's diminutive point guard to end the historic streak. And she has played well in the last three games of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 19.0 points per game. "I was in shock. We just never got one in that first half especially".
UConn made both free throws and tied the game with just under 27 seconds to go.
The Gamecocks and Bulldogs know each other very well.
They did it with the pressure of keeping a win streak that was started years before them. The Huskies, with their crisp ball movement on offense, took advantage of MSU's overreliance offensively on Victoria Vivians in the third quarter and took their first lead with six minutes left at 40-39. And no matter who wins, it will be a first-time national champion.
SC had begun Friday with a 62-53 victory against Stanford that required a thrilling second-half comeback.
"We didn't want them to penetrate too deep, which they did", Connecticut's Gaby Williams said. A lot of local and national media wanted to know more about the UConn upset, but the Bulldogs are turning the page to SC. When it went in, I was nearly like, 'Of course. "If we did, I'd probably feel a little more confident going into a national championship game". SC has made it work to its advantage in the head-to-head games against Mississippi State.
The player teammates call "Itty-Bitty" is listed as 5-foot-5 in the Mississippi State media guide and we are in no position to argue.