Mississippi State's NCAA run might be sign of things to come

Geno Auriemma embraced Morgan William after the MSU guard beat UConn at the buzzer. More

Dawn Staley is going to savor her first NCAA championship. "I think we became a lot less patient". "Teams come and go, but programs are here to stay".

"She is a confident player; she is a great player", Wilson said.

"We will have a top-25 recruiting class".

When asked if Schaefer explained why he sat her the fourth quarter, William, according to a tweet from ESPN.com reporter Mechelle Voepel, said, "He doesn't have to, he's the coach".

The Gamecocks were also the first team in the tournament to out-rebound Mississippi State, by a margin of 40-27.

Lily Edeen, a freshman from Wallingford, said if fans know when the team's bus will arrive, they probably will be there to greet them.

Expectations for the Bulldogs were high in the pre-season, but even the Truest of the True Maroon would admit a berth in the 2017 title game was perhaps a bit too big of a dream. "They're part of the reason we get so many wins and part of the reason we're so successful". "We won four of 'em".

Schaefer essentially built this team from the ground up, the journey marred with tough setbacks and defined by incredible feats. We were involved in both of them within a week.

But beyond talent and system - the latter of which has evolved from a defense-heavy 2015-16 season to an offense that ranks 19th in the country in points per possession this season - the max effort he gets out of William and the rest of his team is unquestionable.

The team the prevented the Bulldogs from winning the other two championships, South Carolina, will provide the opposition in Sunday's Final. Each time, the Gamecocks held the Bulldogs in check offensively, allowing 61, 48 and 55 points.

The Gamecocks are in the second Final Four in three seasons.

"You can't go into the game thinking you can just do the same old things", SC head coach Dawn Staley said. Peck, who won a title at Purdue in 1999, gave Staley a piece of her net a few years ago when she was a commentator. "I feel for the players, they did so well". "Just wonderful. They made us proud".


All in all, a Final Four run that fans and players alike will cherish as the Bulldogs look to go from up-start program to perennial power. But the junior with the soft voice still has a commanding presence - one that's helped Mississippi State pull off two huge upsets and advance to Sunday's national championship game against SEC rival South Carolina (ESPN/WatchESPN, 6 p.m. ET).

Mississippi State brought CT and its 111-game winning streak crashing down. "We showed a good picture of what we do, how we are here at SC".

Despite struggling to find the bottom of the next in the first half on Friday, South Carolina outscored Stanford 42-24 in the second half to earn a spot in the tournament final.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they finally ran out of gas and the South Carolina Gamecocks were licking their chops.

"She knew the game plan was to make it hard for Morgan to operate in areas in which she could control their team".

On a campus where NCAA Tournament wins are taken for granted, no students gathered to welcome home the team.

No matter the circumstances, the Gamecock ladies are 2-0 against their in conference foes from Starkville.

"She moves really well without the ball and gets shots off so quickly", she said. Obviously we've had some hard times dealing with them. That's the thing people don't give them credit for, or they should get more credit for, is, man, they guard your tail. "Teaira McCowan, who is listed 6'7", was a key piece of the Bulldogs' win over CT with 10 points and eight rebounds, including three on the offensive glass. That kind of led to some of the things we did differently.

The Bulldogs had just finished up the greatest season in the history of the school when they racked up 34 wins and countless records along the way. "I was just cheering my teammates on from the bench, just try to keep them going". "We've been trying to nearly play catch-up since then".

The Bulldogs avenged a 60-point loss a year ago to CT that ended their season in 2016, what can they do now?

North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks (3), tg24n= and Silas Melson battle for a loose ball during the second half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. She was thrilled to help Staley get her first title.

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