By Kierra Palmer
Mississippi State women’s basketball team coming into the Final Four as the under dawg was able to end University of Connecticut women’s basketball win streak on Friday, March 31, 2017. University of Connecticut’s win streak was 111, their last lost was in 2014 against Stanford University. Many did not expect Mississippi State to come out like they did, coming from a big lost last year with the score being a 98-38 defeat. University of Connecticut thought they were going to just have a great game and beat them as they did last year. However, junior point guard 5-foot-5 Morgan William, was able to defend University of Connecticut’s relentless play. Before the game had accrued, head coach for Mississippi State Vic Schaefer said to his team, “I am not afraid of them, I believe that we can win and so should you.” According to this article from Jack Freifelder, “a fast start allowed Mississippi State to jump out to a double-digit lead in the second quarter.” The Huskies began to make their move before the end of the half, and by the middle stages of the third quarter the two teams were in lockstep as they continued to trade baskets. As the game went back and forth in the 4th quarter, it lead to over time. As it did, Mississippi State was not backing down from anything. As the time clocks down, UCONN began to deny Williams, but she was still able to get open. With six seconds on the shot clock, she began to attack the basket. As Gabby Williams, 5-foot-11, guards 5-foot-5 Morgan Williams, she throws up a shot with 1.0 and it goes in.
Tim Cato stated in his article that, “William nodded. When she eluded UConn’s defense and shot the ball with time expiring, her teammate Chinwe Okorie instantly felt it was going in. Okorie knew her team had just beat college basketball’s Goliath as William was mobbed in celebration moments. She was certain, as referees unsuccessfully tried to keep the teams on the court as they reviewed the shot, that they would uphold it.” Morgan Williams couldn’t believe that she just ended University of Connecticut’s win streak on a buzzer beater over a much taller defender. The game before, Morgan Williams scored 41 points against Baylor; she played very well. Her step father passed away her senior year of high school, which is reported as the reason she kept following her dreams. As she did, she played her heart out and everything she had in her to lead Mississippi State to their first final four. After the loss to Mississippi State, University of Connecticut’s head coach, Geno Auriemma stated that, “We had an incredible run, but we came up against a much better team tonight. Maybe we’re just not ready for this. Maybe we were ready for everything else, but maybe we’re just not mature enough for this,” Auriemma said. “Maybe all our young kids needed to experience this so that we can come back and really be ready for this.” The Detroit News stated, “UConn coach Geno Auriemma had a wry smile on his face after the final shot. There wasn’t much else he could do, the chance for a fifth straight national title suddenly beyond his grasp.” After watching this game and being a college women’s basketball player myself, I have learned that you must keep fighting, no matter what odds are against you. If you cannot believe in yourself then nobody will. Their coach never gave up on them and the players continued to fight. Mississippi State was not going down without a fight.