Morgan William buzzer beater shot.
DALLAS- Many people expected the University of Connecticut women’s team to come on top as champions, but their dream of having a 5-peat of national championships was ended by Mississippi State with a game winning buzzer beater. Geno Auriemma’s Huskies had the advantage with the overall amount of talent and support, but against the Bulldogs they still came up short. Vic Schaefer led his Lady Bulldogs to the school’s first ever national championship game leaving a bitter ending to the Huskies season.
A buzzer beater at the end of the game is probably one of the worst feelings to have as the losing team. Mississippi State showed great play and defense to stay with the powerhouse UConn team. The Bulldogs had a 16 point lead over the Huskies, but that lead got quickly erased by the Huskies taking a 59-56 lead late in the fourth. The Bulldogs were led by junior guard Victoria Vivians with 19 points. Sophomore center Teaira McCowan had a team high 8 rebounds. Mississippi State shot poor throughout the game, shooting 37% from the field and 27% from three-point range. UConn star players such as guard Gabby Williams, had a game high 21 points and forward Katie Lou Samuelson, chipped in 15 points. With the game coming to the closing minutes, both teams looked tired and the game became sloppy with missed shots coming from both offenses along with ill-advised turnovers.
Ultimately the game came to the last shot taken by junior guard Morgan William who punched the ticket for her team to go to the “big dance.” “You know what? When stuff like this happens, it kind of makes me shake my head and go, `You know how many times this could have happened and it didn’t happen?’ said UConn coach Auriemma. It has been a long time since UConn suffered a defeat and coach Auriemma knows what a lost feels like. “Look, nobody’s won more than we’ve won,” he said. “I understand losing, believe it or not. We haven’t lost in a while, but I understand it. I know how to appreciate when other people win.” Auriemma said. Bulldogs guard William was always criticized for her small stature but she loves the challenges given to her because of how much confidence she has always had “I wanted to take the shot, so I took the shot and I made it” said William. “We are going to show the whole world what we are made of“ said coach Schaefer. “We beat the greatest team with the greatest streak in the history of sports,” Schaefer added.
Mississippi State was defeated by the University of South Carolina in the national title game ending their season bittersweet. However, beating the most dominant women’s basketball team with arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time, that is still a huge accomplishment that the Bulldogs should not feel bad about, winning the title is the main goal but sometimes records are meant to be broken and they are proud to do so.