The Latest: S Carolina women spoil Miss St miracle for title
DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on the NCAA women’s championship game (all times local):
South Carolina has spoiled the miracle for Mississippi State.
A’ja Wilson and Allisha Gray both had double-doubles and the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs 67-55 to win the NCAA women’s championship in an all-Southeastern Conference matchup of first-time finalists Sunday night.
The loss for Mississippi State came two days after ending UConn’s record 111-game winning streak with a stunning buzzer-beater by Morgan William in overtime in the semifinals.
Thanks to that win, the crowd heavily favored Mississippi State, which used the energy for an early 7-1 lead before the Gamecocks took control for a third straight win this season against the Bulldogs.
It was the first title for the SEC since the second of two straight by Tennessee in 2008.
Wilson had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Gray added 18 points and 10 boards.
William was never much of a factor, even sitting during a fourth-quarter run that got Mississippi State within four after the Bulldogs trailed by as many as 14 points in the third quarter. The 5-foot-5 junior finished with 8 points.
Victoria Vivians led Mississippi State with 12 points.
Mississippi State still has a shot heading to the fourth quarter in a matchup of first-time finalists for the NCAA women’s basketball championship.
The Bulldogs got as close as four points after trailing by as many as 14 in the third quarter, but Kaela Davis hit a jumper just before the buzzer to push South Carolina’s lead to 52-44 on Sunday night.
The Gamecocks are in the second Final Four in three seasons. It’s the first trip for Mississippi State, which ended UConn’s record 111-game winning streak in the semifinals.
Victoria Vivians has 12 points and Dominique Dillingham 11 for the Bulldogs. A’ja Wilson leads South Carolina with 15 points, and Allisha Gray has 14.
Davis, who was 2 of 15 in a semifinal win over Stanford, missed eight of her first 10 against the Bulldogs before the late shot in the third.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma is in an unfamiliar spot: watching the NCAA women’s championship game after his Huskies won the past four titles.
Auriemma’s team had a record 111-game winning streak ended on a stunning buzzer-beater by Mississippi State’s Morgan William in the national semifinals. The Bulldogs are playing South Carolina for the title.
The nine-time Associated Press coach of the year says “you kind of forget that there’s another side to it” after winning four straight. UConn has 11 titles overall.
Auriemma says it “takes a while getting used to watching it, but two good teams and two teams that deserve to be playing tonight.”
South Carolina is halfway to its first NCAA women’s championship in a matchup of first-time finalists with Mississippi State.
The Gamecocks overcame an early surge that delighted a pro-Bulldogs crowd, leading by as many as 13 points in the second quarter before settling for a 36-26 halftime lead Sunday night.
Allisha Gray and A’ja Wilson scored 11 points apiece for South Carolina, which trailed 7-1 early before taking its first lead on two free throws by Doniyah Cliney with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Morgan William, whose buzzer beat ended four-time champion UConn’s 111-game winning streak in the semifinals, was held to one field goal and 6 points in the first half.
The Bulldogs trailed by double digits and at halftime for the first time in the NCAA Tournament.
Seven members of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team have been honored at the NCAA women’s championship game.
During a break in the first half of the Mississippi State-South Carolina title game Sunday night, the players were introduced along with some coaches and staff members. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, an assistant on the staff, was mentioned as she worked the huddle with her Gamecocks.
The players present were Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Tamika Catchings and Lindsay Whalen. Catchings played high school basketball in the Dallas suburb of Duncanville.
The U.S. won gold in Rio de Janeiro last summer with UConn coach Geno Auriemma leading the way. He was on the court for the presentation two nights after his four-time champion Huskies had their 111-game winning streak ended by Mississippi State.
Staley is replacing Auriemma as head coach.
South Carolina has weathered an early surge from crowd favorite Mississippi State to take an 18-14 lead after one quarter of the NCAA women’s championship game Sunday night.
Allisha Gray scored 6 points and Bianca Cuevas-Moore had 3 while shadowing Bulldogs guard Morgan William, who ended UConn’s 111-game winning streak with a buzzer-beating jumper in overtime in the semifinals.
After taking a 7-1 lead, Mississippi State ended up battling foul trouble in the first. Dominique Dillingham and Breanna Richardson had two apiece.
There’s a lot of Mississippi State maroon at the home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for the NCAA women’s championship game.
Busloads of fans, many in Bulldogs gear, could be seen arriving before Sunday night’s title game that will produce a first-time champion, Mississippi State or South Carolina.
One ticket scalper said he could get someone in the lower bowl for $400 in the roughly 20,000-seat American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. Another wasn’t selling for less than $700.
Roy Tucker drove from Hamilton, Mississippi, to Tyler in East Texas on Saturday after Morgan William’s stunning buzzer beater ended UConn’s 111-game winning streak in the national semifinals.
Tucker, who finished the drive Sunday without tickets, said he and two friends had found two tickets at a “reasonable price” about an hour and half before tipoff and were looking for one more.
Mississippi State is missing a famous fan in pursuit of the school’s first championship in women’s basketball.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who wildly celebrated the shot that ended UConn’s record 111-game winning streak in the national semifinals, missed the Bulldogs’ NCAA title game against South Carolina on Sunday night because of a commitment he couldn’t break.
Prescott, a popular starter for the Bulldogs, had a record-setting rookie season for the Cowboys while leading them to the NFC East title after Tony Romo got hurt.
From a seat near the Mississippi State bench on Friday, Prescott jumped and threw his arms in the air when Morgan William hit a buzzer-beating jumper to knock off the four-time champion Huskies in overtime.
Asked after the game if he would be there for the final, Prescott said he was going to try. Turns out he couldn’t make the arrangements.
A first-time champion is set to be crowned in women’s basketball with an all-Southeastern Conference NCAA title game between South Carolina and Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs will try to knock off a third consecutive No. 1 seed Sunday night, two days after ending UConn’s record 111-game winning streak on Morgan William’s breathtaking, buzzer-beating jumper.
Both teams are in the title game for the first time. It’s Mississippi State’s first trip to the Final Four and the second for the Gamecocks, who beat frequent Final Four qualifier Stanford in the semifinals.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley made three Final Fours as a player at Virginia in the early 1990s but never won the title. Mississippi State’s Vic Schaefer was on Texas A&M’s staff when the Aggies won the championship six years ago.