"There is no reason to be scared. So we're just going to try to enjoy it". In last year's Sweet 16, Mississippi State suffered a 60-point loss to the Huskies, who went on to win their fourth straight national title -- another streak that was ended with this loss. At the time, it was the worst defeat in tournament history.
UConn's winning streak reached 111 games before Mississippi State shocked the world on Friday night.
The Bulldogs built a 16-point advantage in the first half and went into the third quarter with a 36-28 lead.
William's shot came one game after she scored a career-high 41 points to help Mississippi State beat Baylor and advance to its first Final Four.
"Obviously when you get to this point in the season and you lose, it's the worst feeling imaginable", UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. We've got the details on how their record 111 winning streak came to a heartbreaking end.
But in their hearts, they also knew, as Schaefer said, "Make no mistake they earned the right to be here".
The true team effort for the Bulldogs saw four Mississippi State players finish with at least 10 points, with Vivians scoring 19 to lead the way.
CT recovered quickly after halftime, taking their first lead within three minutes. The game was tied at 50-50 and 52-52 in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs led 56-52 on baskets by Chinwe Okorie and Vivians. I knew the last - end of regulation, I went for a layup, they blocked it. An intercepted pass by Breanna Richardson gave the Bulldogs the chance to stretch the lead, but the Huskies forced a turnover.
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William took a pass from Dominique Dillingham, made a few shifty dribbles, and then drove hard at the heart of the UConn defense.
The result was a stunning instant classic, a riveting NCAA Final Four game that absolutely no one foresaw. "We talked about that with our kids". You now have the opportunity to start a new streak. "Maybe we just weren't ready for this".
College basketball never lets you down. "They've sent a lot of kids to the locker room over the years feeling the way they're feeling".
The senior guard's younger sister, Katie Lou, played for UConn in the second semifinal game Friday night in the home of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
SC defeated the Bulldogs in their only regular season game, 64-61, in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks prevailed again with a 59-49 victory over Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament championship game in early March.
SC was led by junior guard Allisha Gray, who scored 18 points on 7-14 shooting and had 8 rebounds. A'ja Wilson is averaging 17.9 points and 7.4 rebounds while Kaela Davis is averaging 13 points and 3.9 rebounds. "It's not competitive because they're winning so many games so easily", said Cinella. "She's really been the glue to our team all year".
" 'The looks in their faces weren't looks of defeat. I'm in shock", she said.
"I was really impressed with the level of play". We know that we're not done. During the streak, they played in just three games that were decided by single-digits.