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After its stunner, Mississippi State turns to title game

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Mississippi St. Bulldogs Beat the UConn Huskies in OT, Ending 111-Game Winning Streak

"But if she's in a groove and she's playing as she's played over the past five games, it's going to be a long night for us".

In the final game of the women's college basketball season, here are two players that should have a significant impact on which team becomes the first non-Tennessee SEC program that will win a national championship.

With it being an open locker room at the Final Four, reporters had a chance to ask William what happened.

Dawn Staley hopes to pass along a piece of her first championship net to another aspiring African-American coach - the same as Carolyn Peck did for her years ago.

William said she doesn't remember her first game-winning shot - "I just remember the last one". "Something I wanted to do".

Now the Bulldogs are out to prove they weren't a one-year wonder.

It can be once again because of the things I mentioned previously. "Those were the things I saw and were shooting for". You won't find a player left in this tournament with more personality than Wilson.

Morgan William played her prep ball at Shades Valley High in Birmingham. "The question is more, where will the attention for the women's game be moving forward? It really means something special to bring this back home for such a great person like coach Staley". She was with Tori Jankoska at the men's Final Four on Thursday, for the all-star showcase in Phoenix, and she's been recruiting. Wilson dropped 26 points en route to a 64-61 win for SC when they first met. "If you back off somebody, they'll knock down shots". SC hit 25 of 55 shots from the field (45.5 percent), 0 of 3 shots from 3-point range (0 percent) and 17 of 22 shots from the foul line (77.3 percent). But as the old saying goes, "If you want to be the best, you must beat the best". William, a 5-5 junior, snapped the Huskies' 111-game winning streak with a pull-up jumper that fell through right as the buzzer sounded in the women's bracket's last semifinal game. Each time, the Gamecocks held the Bulldogs in check offensively, allowing 61, 48 and 55 points.

William followed a career-best 41-point performance in the regional final, hitting the 15-footer against the Huskies.

Mississippi State led 64-62 before a flagrant foul call on Bulldogs guard Dominique Dillingham allowed Connecticut's Katie Lou Samuelson to knot the score from the free throw line with 26.6 seconds left in overtime. That brought a huge cheer from the thousands of Mississippi State fans who made the 8-hour trip from Starkville, Mississippi. The Bulldogs fought back and came within five of the lead late in the third quarter, and the Gamecock advantage was cut to 54-50 with less than seven minutes left in the game.

But that's as close as the Bulldogs could get. "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come play.' He believed in me when no one else did, and I can't thank him enough for it". She had a layup attempt blocked at the end of regulation.

"To be playing the last game of the year, that's insane cool", Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "She played with energy that her team needed". Amid the postgame celebration, the quarterback of America's Team joined William on the floor for an interview. "You've got to throw all of that out the door".

"Normally we're a little more patient on offense", UConn basketball head coach, Geno Auriemma said. The key players were Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray, however. "They know now the prize now is in front of them; it's attainable". The Bulldogs are 106-25 under Schaefer when they win the turnover battle.

The NCAA announced Saturday afternoon that the 20,000-capacity arena is sold out for the national championship game Sunday, pitting the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs against top-seeded SC.

For Windham resident John Maxwell, the loss doesn't reflect on the team's season. "These girls went to the mountaintop when they beat U-Conn (66-64 on Friday)".

No team had a tougher road to the championship then the second-seeded Bulldogs.

"We keep bringing up my history with SC, so apparently the fact that we've never beat them is an issue today", Schaefer said.

At the start of the second half, it was a different ball game when the Huskies started scoring; taking the lead in what ended up being a shot-out between the two in the third quarter.

"I always tell my team one play doesn't cost you a game", Auriemma told the media afterward, "but a lot of times, one play will win you a game". The Vols won both.

William definitely has grown on Mississippi State fans and on Schaefer, one of the few major college coaches willing to take a chance on the undersized kid from Alabama.

Now, fittingly, it's old nemesis SC.

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