No.1 Baylor and No.2 came to OKC to slay. And slay they did. Mississippi State picked up where they left off Friday night, on a defensive tear. The Bulldogs went to work early in the game getting second chance baskets and rebounding on both ends of the court.
Kim Mulkey and her Baylor Bears weren’t able to come up with a solution for the combination of Victoria Vivins and Morgan William.
“At Baylor, we have expectations that are higher than an Elite Eight,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Whether that’s egotistical, fair, whatever, it is what it is. We have to keep feeding that monster that we started 17 years ago.”
William had 41 points and seven assists, in her effort to assist the Mississippi State Bulldogs in knocking off the top-seeded Baylor Bears 94-85 in overtime Sunday to advance to their first-ever women’s Final Four.
“It took a gut-check, gut-wrenching performance by our kids today and we delivered,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “I thought our kids were unflappable. I thought they were resilient. They showed tremendous toughness, a lot of character in their heart.”
When Victoria Vivans went to the line with 1:37 left in OT it felt like that might be it for Baylor. Vivans 2 free throws gave the Bulldogs an 87 – 82 lead over the Big 12 Champion Bears. Then Alexis Prince came out the timeout and answered the Bulldogs with a 3 from the side.
William, who had dedicated the game in memory of her father Donnie Rory, would not be denied. She shot 6 of 8 from the three-point line, shot 13 of 22 overall and hit 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. William scored 12 of the Bulldogs’ 19 points in overtime.
“He’s the reason I am where I am today with basketball,” William said. “He just did so much for me, working out when I was younger. He had no doubt because of my height. We put in so much work in the gym. For me to just come out here and do this, it’s amazing. I just wish he was here to see it.”
Baylor scored 10 points as a team in the extra period. Nina Davis talked about the Bears’ attempts to overcome the pressure the Bulldogs put on them during the game and particularly during overtime.
“Every time we would get the lead, they would come down and shoot a 3, we would foul, and could never get that one stop that we needed,” she said.
Mississippi State heads to Dallas, for the first Final Four appearance in school history. The Bulldogs will face the UConn Huskies and their 111 game win streak. The Huskies are making their 10th consecutive Final Four appearance. UCONN is also looking for a 5thPeat. The Huskies are coached by Geno Auriemma. This is a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16 matchup. The Bulldogs lost to the Huskies by 60-points. Few gave the Bulldogs any chance of beating Washington and Kelsea Plum, or Baylor and Nina Davis, the question is does David have any more Giant Killer games in their bag of tricks? We shall see tip-off is Friday March 31, 2017 at 10pm EST.